What are the tools and tricks I use regularly to help with educating my kids?
It’s a mix, really, but there are a few things that have helped make the journey a little easier.
C learns best when he is the one creating his own learning journey. And it is a privilege to watch how his mind works through problems. But it does occasionally leave me with a conundrum. How do I spontaneously have all the resources on hand that he needs, when he needs it?
For this, I have a set of what I will call – Education Tools:
A Chemistry Shelf
Having a well-stocked chemistry shelf is a must for spontaneous experiments – being able to pull out most if not all the necessary ingredients keeps the momentum going. Putting one together isn’t that difficult – most chemicals can be found at the supermarket.
A Craft Cupboard
Another must is a well-stocked craft cupboard – paints(kid-safe and fabric), glue(many types), lots of paper, glitter, shapes, beads, pipe-cleaners, paddle-pop sticks and assorted other objects sorted in a way that makes it easy to find and then put away. This is also reasonably inexpensive – one of our most-used items is toilet rolls – they’re great for toy cannons.
Bookmarked Internet Pages
Having a selection of great websites ready for the kids to access, linked as short-cuts on our web-browser. I’ve written about some of the links we use a lot here. There are also a lot of wonderful games out there that have great educational content – eg. KenKens, Bridge Project, Bridge Constructor.
A Good Library
We have a great library at our house – a mix of adult and kids books, fiction and non-fiction. Many of them we have picked up at library sales or op-shops for a pittance, or are left-over textbooks from our university days – or even ones that have been given to us over the years. And when in doubt, we can always do a trip to one of our local libraries.
Toys that have a construction element to them, that can be pulled apart and put back together again are essential – toys like Lego, K’Nex, wooden blocks, mega blocks, Duplo. As well as odd items – pieces of flat wood for physics experiments, string, magnets and weights.
I have a backlog of links ready (ie. Pinterest) on topics that could pique my kids’ curiosity. As best as I can I try to anticipate where future interests might go. For example, I have links to various possible experiments.
Google and Youtube are my friends.
Using search engines with decent filters*, is one of our essential learning tools. TED and TedEd are excellent resources as well. If C has a question, someone, somewhere has probably written or filmed something about it, and we can find it on the internet. Trying to decide if the results are true and accurate? Well that’s another lesson right there.
*while acknowledging that censorship may not be everyone’s cuppa, there are things I am not yet ready for my incredibly computer-competent 2 year old to discover.
This post was part of a blog hop by the GHF on “Special Tips, Toys, Tricks, & Tools for Parenting & Educating Gifted/2E Kids“, check out the other hop participants!