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The Science of Keeping Kids Engaged-7 Steps For Inspiring Creativity In Young Minds At Home

Creativity is not an inborn talent, it is an attribute that can be grown and developed, like a muscle. 

Sure, it’s true that some people are born with spectacular abilities—what else can you say about the likes of Picasso, Michelangelo, Jimi Hendrix, or Timothee Chalamet?

But that doesn’t mean that everyone can’t be creative. Creativity simply means the ability to create, to think out of the box, and to allow the mind to wander to places not often explored.

Nor is it solely about producing a work of art. Creativity is required for scientific inquiry, math, finding solutions to everyday problems, and even social and emotional intelligence. Creative people are, therefore, better equipped to take advantage of the many opportunities they will be faced with in life.

Besides, creativity is an essential component of health and happiness overall. That makes it a core skill to develop in children.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to send your kids to “creativity class” or force them into an activity they don’t like. Children are naturally creative, so a large part of what you have to do to help them develop that attribute is just let it grow.

This post is going to give a few tips on how you can help grow creativity in your kids at home.

1. Give them the resources they need to be creative

It isn’t just about getting your kids “things” that can help them be creative, it’s about giving them a time and space for unstructured exploration. 

A lot of what they will learn in school is structured education, and all of that stuff is very important because it lays the base for them to understand the world around them.

But creativity requires a lack of boundaries and structures, and yes a few simple tools can help. Give your kids a time, and if possible a space, that is dedicated for them to do what they like without any parental guidance. Let them paint, play with Legos, tinker with an old camera, and so on. Resist the urge to “show them how it’s done” and let them stretch their imagination.

2. Slowly add more tools to their inventory

You don’t need to dump every kind of art medium and toy on your kids at once. But access to a wide variety of tools gives them a chance to stretch their mind in different directions.

Besides, you’ll be able to see what they take to quite easily. If you’ve bought a clay set and you don’t see them using it after a few days, then you know you don’t need to invest in that later. But they will show an affinity to certain other things, and you’ll know that’s where you need to focus.

Also, it’s a good idea to convince at least your family and close friends that birthday gifts ought to be art supplies, cheap electronics, building supplies, and other raw materials that can be “worked on” rather than toys to simply be played with and forgotten.

3. Tell your kids that it’s OK to fail

The fear of failure is perhaps the single greatest threat to any creative effort. This fear starts developing early in a child’s life. But if a child can’t mess around and figure out what works and what doesn’t, then who can?

In fact, the greatest young entrepreneurs of the current age who went on to start some of the world’s biggest companies—Uber, Spotify, Amazon, and more—are certain that the key to success is to “fail fast and often”. That is, to try things out quickly, see if they are working, and move on if they aren’t. Maybe 1 out of 10 ideas will come to something, but it’s that one that launches them and their business to the next level.

So tell your kids not to worry too much about the output. Tell them to go ahead and start that painting, put those blocks together, write that story, and not worry how it will turn out. It’s the process of the activity that is more important than the outcome.

4. Ask them to share

Kids are always eager to show what they’ve done, so this probably won’t take that much encouraging. But be sure that they also share what went wrong with you. Again, it’s important to emphasize process over outcome.

Ask questions that will probe into their creative process. Something as simple as “How did you come up with the idea for this?” has the potential to turn into a very insightful conversation.

And remember, conversation is a two-way street. Be open about your feelings, and feel free to share your opinions. Give your kids the benefit of your years of knowledge and insight. Make sure that they know what you are thinking as this will encourage them to be more open.

5. Let them disagree with you

That is not to say that you should let them disobey you!

Rather, it helps to allow them to display divergent thoughts. So instead of outright saying “no, it’s like this…”, indulge them. Talk it out with them. Avoid thinking “it’s quicker to get them to listen right now, I’ll talk it out with them next time” because that next time doesn’t come.

Differences of opinion should be celebrated, not shot down. If children are scolded every time they have a divergent thought, they internalize this response and are less likely to question things later as an adult. This leads to conformity, doing what the herd is doing, and ultimately is the death of creativity.

6. Get involved in their creative pursuits

Nothing encourages creativity like getting your hands dirty with your kids—figuratively or literally, as required.

It shows them that you are interested and that being creative is OK. As far as possible, and as far as your child desires, get involved in their projects. You don’t need to be an expert in whatever they are doing, that isn’t what the creative process is about—it’s about being in the process of creation.

You may even find some benefits of this exercise rubbing off on you!

7. Encourage, don’t reward creativity

Lest they begin to see it as an easy way to get goodies and kudos, you don’t need to reward your kids every time they exhibit creativity. After all, as adults we know that the result of creativity is often its own reward.

Or at least, that’s the perception we want to set up. Our output-focused culture often robs us of the sheer joy of creating something for its own sake. Hobbies are seen as a waste of time unless they can somehow be turned into a money-making enterprise, but that was never supposed to be the point of being creative. That is not to say that one shouldn’t profit from their creativity if they can, but it shouldn’t be the sole motivation. 

As a closing thought, let it be reiterated that the outcome of a creative project is not that important. Not everyone is going to be able to make a sustainable career out of their creative pursuits, but that is not the point of creativity anyway.

The point of creativity is to be in the process of creating something. It is about experiencing those emotional ups and downs that occur in that process, and about allowing your mind to wander into new territory. That’s what creativity is at the end of the day—a mind game, one of the most important your kids will learn to play.

Georgia Test Prep web app for students launches new GA Milestone test practice feature

Georgia Test Prep is a leading online practice test tool designed to help Georgia students hone their skills in the state school curriculum and ace standards tests.

The tool is now launching a brand new feature that mimics the actual visual layout of the Georgia Milestones Assessment System (GMAS) tests. This will enable students to get familiar with the user interface of the GMAS test so that they will feel right at home with the real thing.

The Georgia Test Prep tool gives visibility into students’ progress with their analytics dashboards and provides a personalized learning experience for each child, allowing them to proceed at their own pace. The content on Georgia Test Prep is presented in a simple format for an optimum learning experience.

The new feature presents realistic GMAS math tests for grades 3 to 8.

Georgia Test Prep is the leading tool for GMAS Practice Tests because it is designed in Georgia, for Georgia students, by Georgia state teachers. It contains thousands of practice questions for grades 3 to 8. Practice test material adheres perfectly with the Georgia state school curriculum, so the questions are based on what students are actually learning in school. The tool can be accessed on any device and the question bank is being constantly updated, making Georgia Test Prep a more convenient, far more economical, and more comprehensive option than practice books. The Georgia Test Prep subscription gets you 24/7/365 access and support from the Georgia Test Prep team for less than 10 cents per day.

For a free trial join now!

About Georgia Test Prep

Georgia Test Prep is a web app designed for elementary and middle school students. It is tailored to help parents solidify what their children are learning in school.

Students can practice answering questions on various topics that are perfectly aligned with Georgia standards. Students will have thousands of questions to practice from in each and every subject for their grade level.

Media Contact  

Ashley @ Georgia Test Prep

marketing@georgiatestprep.com

5 Ways To Help Students Struggling With Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension isn’t about being able to string words together, it’s about deriving meaning from the text. In other words, just because a child can read a text doesn’t mean they truly understand it.

It’s the difference between reading Shakespeare and getting Shakespeare.

But the implications go far beyond appreciating literature. Comprehension is about reading between the lines, understanding vocabulary and figurative language, inferencing, verbal reasoning, grammatical development, and oral expression. It’s about being able to understand the reason something has been written, or what the stance of an author is on a particular subject. 

In this day and age, the ability to comprehend text is more important than ever. Being able to look beyond the written words of a text can, for example, help a reader differentiate between fake news, biased news, and genuine news.

Catching a struggling reader early is relatively easy, but students who have trouble with comprehension may go under the radar and only be found when they fail standardized comprehension tests. But all hope is not lost. This post is going to give you five ways to support students who are struggling with reading comprehension.

1. Try different subjects

Sometimes all it takes to get a student to comprehend what they’re reading is to get them to read something they are genuinely interested in. Feel free to look beyond what is traditionally considered “school material”. It could be fiction, it could even be a comic book. The point is to see if they are really able to absorb the matter.

Ask your child to pick some reading material for themselves, and get involved with their reading. Younger students may also be open to reading aloud for you. Every now and then, under the guise of curiosity, interject a question that will ask them to think about the meaning of the text. This will give the student an opportunity to become “the explainer” and subtly ask them to practice comprehension.

2. Teach vocabulary

One of the most basic ways to make for a richer reading experience for your child is to bolster their vocabulary.

Get a word-of-the-day calendar, use flash cards, or anything else—there are dozens of ways to help improve a students vocabulary, more than we can cover in this post. A simple game that you can play almost anywhere is to say a simple definition of a word and ask your child to identify the word.

Additionally, a strong vocabulary enhances fluency. We’ve all experienced it— we come across a new word, and that interrupts our reading flow. This can be especially frustrating for a child who is already having trouble comprehending a text.

So the other side of teaching vocabulary is to frame these instances as positive. Assure your child that even you don’t know all the words. Encourage them to view these instances as an opportunity to learn a new word.

3. Oral essay questions

Older students may not be comfortable reading out loud for you, but there’s more than one way to get involved in their reading.

Get your child’s buy-in to do this exercise—it could be seen as an invasion of privacy if you just dip into their reading material, no matter how good your intentions, and that will be the end of the whole thing right there.

The point of getting into their reading is to pose essay type questions now and then. Dig into the “why” of something that happened, what does your child make of a certain event or certain action that a character took, what real-world parallels can they draw, and so on.

A word of caution, however: be sure never to give spoilers. Nothing is worse for a child reading a beloved book.

4. Urge note-taking

This is a practice that we use even as adults. Any time we see something interesting, we mark it. If we come across a passage or term we don’t understand, we highlight it so we can come back and look it up. We jot down points of interest that will help us summarize a text for a presentation. We are always taking notes, in some form or another.

Urge your child to take notes and make marks when they need to read for comprehension, no matter how trivial the text may seem. This will get them into the habit of looking out for and identifying pieces of text that could be important for its comprehension. There is no shame in writing in the margins, and in fact it’s a skill they will use more and more as they progress through life.

5. Summarizing

One the best—and simplest—ways to test comprehension is to ask your child to summarize a text.

Ask for a 1-page book report on whatever they are reading. It doesn’t even have to strictly be a book. But you’ll be able to judge if:

  • They can identify the main points of interest.
  • They can tell you what the text is about.
  • They can draw out the meaning or intent behind the text.

You can make it a fun experience with a little bit of gamification and some kind of reward mechanism. For example, 5 satisfactory summaries earns a special treat.

Final thoughts

As with any method to help a child, the main thing to remember is to be patient. Remind your child that struggling with reading comprehension is merely a facet of processing information, and not of intelligence. Like all subjects, any child can get better at it with practice.

The best thing you can do is try to bring the areas your child is struggling in into daily life. Take it “out of the classroom” and give it real world context. You can test comprehension on a movie, or an episode of a cartoon. If they are watching the half-time analysis of a basketball game, you can ask them to summarize the main points. Make it fun and relevant to your child and you will see them develop the skills they need to succeed in school.

7 Important Learning Habits To Build In Your Child For Success

Many of the habits that we carry throughout life, for better or for worse, are developed in childhood.

American philosopher William James wrote, “Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state.”

But what does a child know about these matters? They can’t possibly know what they’re getting themselves into. They merely observe their environment and adapt accordingly from a very early age. In fact, research has established that many fundamental processes that have to do with thinking, reasoning, and learning are present and fully functioning at birth or develop by the time a child is 4-5 years old (Goswami, 2008).

As parents, we need to help inculcate good learning habits in our children. It’s not only about doing their homework every day, which is no doubt important, but also about how they learn. After all, homework will one day end, but learning never does, and developing a positive attitude towards learning is paramount for them to have a successful life.

Habits form early in a child

Habits form and get entrenched in the human brain automatically based on an individual’s environment unless there is a conscious effort to shape them.

Once habits set, they are very difficult to break, because repeat habits set up a dopamine release loop in the brain which creates a feeling of pleasure and strengthens the habit.

When it comes to kids, you need to catch them while they’re young—research shows that children develop habits by age 9.

But that doesn’t mean you should wait until you think they know what you’re talking about. Kids pick up on more things than we realize, and as mentioned above it starts from an early age.

While study habits can be built later in life, start with teaching your kids self-control. Research has shown that children who learn self-control at an early age are set up for more success later in life. Children who exhibit tendencies like impulsivity, aggression, and hyperactivity struggle emotionally, socially, and academically throughout life (Spira & Fischel, 2005).

However, this post is going to focus specifically on developing successful learning habits in young school-going children.

Habits take time to develop consciously

It’s a popular internet-fuelled belief that it takes 21 days to form a habit. But a study out of University College London suggests that the truth is not so simple.

While the 21-day rule may be applicable for simpler habits, like drinking a glass of water after breakfast, a more complex routine can take the better part of a year to cement itself.

As you work with your children to develop the following habits, understand that it will probably take some time for them to stick. Forming a habit isn’t easy, but once the initial inertia is overcome your child will benefit from it for the rest of their lives.

Now let’s get into the 7 essential learning habits that every child should develop.

1. Designate a study area for your child

Help your child create a study area, a place that is dedicated to school work and projects. As they become habituated to this space, it will help set the tone for concentration and productivity.

The “real” study area is, of course, in their mind. The ability to dip into and out of “focus mode” will serve them immensely later in life.

2. Keep short breaks between bursts of concentration

Sometimes referred to as the “Pomodoro technique”, this famous and well-loved productivity technique recognizes that the human brain cannot focus for too long without getting exhausted. It’s just nature.

Instead, your child can focus for a long period, typically around 25 minutes, followed by a short break of 5 minutes to allow the brain to rest and recuperate for the next burst of concentration. After 3-4 cycles like this, a longer break of usually 15 minutes follows.

Having to sit and concentrate for hours together can feel like a daunting task. This method, among other things, tricks the brain by setting a shorter time limit. 25 minutes doesn’t seem quite as long as 2 hours, so it doesn’t feel as daunting. The short break then rejuvenates the mind and makes it easy to keep going.

3. Understand how long work will take and prioritize

Encourage your child to learn how much time a particular task will take for them. They need to familiarize themselves with their working styles (while always improving simultaneously).

Then they can prioritize their tasks. Perhaps they want to do the ones that will take longer earlier in the day, and keep the shorter ones for later when they will have less energy.

We often don’t worry about these skills until we are in a professional setting, so helping your child form these habits will give them a massive head start.

Additionally, by developing learning habits that enable them to be in control of their work, you encourage them to realize what they actually enjoy more. This will help them make a more carefully considered career choice later on.

4. Let them solve things by themselves

It’s a natural tendency for parents to “come to their child’s rescue” whenever the child is faced with a problem. But doing this too much will make them over-reliant on outside help.

Instead, get them into the habit of solving things for themselves. Don’t just hand them solutions, guide them. A major part of learning—and life in general—is experimenting with solutions, figuring out what works, and even sometimes failing.

This kind of habit also can also help spark a natural curiosity in your child.

5. Build a growth mindset in your child

This mostly has to do about how you praise your child. We have covered this topic more extensively in our post on growth mindset, but here’s the gist:

  • Overly praising them for doing well can make them think that everything should come easy to them.
  • Overly praising their effort can also be damaging. 
  • Instead, focus on praising the process. It’s not so much about the result, it’s about how they achieved it.

Promoting a growth mindset produces in your child an attitude that intelligence, creativity, and personality can be cultivated through effort, makes them resilient to the specter of failure, and emboldens them to face challenges.

6. Foster creativity and curiosity

Creativity and curiosity are not always innate characteristics. Sure, kids like to explore and discover things when they are young, but some researchers believe that this is not indicative of inherent creativity.

Encourage your children to seek new forms of stimuli. Show them the thrill of discovering something new. You might even share some of your own hobbies, if only to show them how much joy it gives you.

Creativity and curiosity do occur naturally in spades in some children, but they are also habits that can be developed with constant stimuli.

7. Help them to be gritty

As an adult, you know that to succeed in life you have to invest a lot of time in what you do. This takes grit and determination. It’s very important to develop this habit in your child, especially since we live in an age of instant gratification.

Grit can be defined as “passion and perseverance for especially long-term goals.” Research from psychology Professor, Angela Duckworth found a correlation between grit and rank in the US National Spelling Bee, educational attainment, grade-point average in Ivy League undergrads, and retention of West Point cadets.

It’s easy to be interested in something initially and then quickly lose interest in it. But if your kids want to see the rewards, they have to stick with it. They’ll be naturally inclined toward certain things, so help them connect a purpose to their hard work in that area.

The best habit they can have

The habits discussed in this post are all geared towards making your child a resilient and strong learner.

It is important to build these habits in your child from an early age when their brains are still very impressionable. At that age, it’s far too easy to fall into bad habits that can stick around for a long time (possibly their entire life).

It’s paramount that parents guide their children. But we aren’t the only influences on our child’s mind. Our children’s minds are constantly bombarded with input from the media, other kids at school, their teachers, and other adults. There is no stopping this, whether we like it or not.

So the best habit you can give your child is to question everything. 

They might be influenced by something they saw on TV or something someone said at school, and they can’t possibly have the knowledge and experience to inform them of what they might be getting themselves into.

Teach them that this is OK, and in fact completely normal. Teach them that no one has all the answers, not even you, and that life is about figuring these things out bit by bit. Ensure them that when they have a question, they can rely on you to figure it out together.

After all, life is a constant game of learning. 

The habits discussed in the post, taken together, will give your child the tools they need to maintain curiosity, spark creativity, and find success in life—whatever that winds up meaning to them.

Announcing Georgia Test Prep

It is with great pleasure we announce that today we have launched Georgia Test Prep, an online solution to help parents and students of the state of Georgia create a solid foundation in Georgia Standards of Excellence.

Georgia Test Prep is meant to supplement a child’s school learning by providing a place to practice thousands of Georgia standards based math and ELA questions online, from the safety and comfort of home. Parents and students can easily track students’ progress and eliminate the need for purchasing a number of costly practice books or spending endless hours searching for worksheets and then checking them, because all of the content is digitally available.

Why Georgia Test Prep?

Georgia educators are doing an outstanding job of teaching the standards set for Georgia’s curriculum in school. But there isn’t enough opportunity for the repetition of concepts. For students to truly retain what they learn, they have to continuously practice answering questions on a topic they want to master.

So a team of parents of school children and Georgia state teachers got together to solve this. And thus Georgia Test Prep was born.

Georgia Test Prep Benefits Students and Parents

The content has been specifically designed to be aligned with Georgia school curriculums. It is made in Georgia, by Georgia teachers, especially for Georgia students.

Parents can use the tool to assign homework to their kids, and parents and students both get a dashboard to monitor the student’s progress. The entire bank of questions is being made available for less than ten cents a day.

Georgia Test Prep makes it easy for students and parents because:

  • All the material is available online.
  • The tool is available wherever the student is, all they need is an internet connection. There is no need to carry around cumbersome books or worksheets.
  • Parents don’t have to invest in multiple expensive books that soon become obsolete.
  • Parents can spend time helping their children strengthen their basics rather than checking the answers, since the web application does it automatically.
  • Since the content is developed based on Georgia school curriculums, you can be assured that it is an effective tool that addresses what students are expected to know by GSE.

Georgia Test Prep is a great ally for parents to help their kids get an edge in their education and an easy tool to help kids practice math and ELA questions closely aligned to the Core curriculum and GSE. It is available today at https://georgiatestprep.com/.

The Issues Parents Have Been Facing With Virtual Learning

School districts have done their best to plan learning contingencies due to the COVID situation. Some schools have opted for virtual learning to keep children and staff safe, and this is an entirely new paradigm for everyone involved– the teachers, the students, and last but not least: the parents.

We are all figuring it out as we go along. It’s a bit like building the plane as you’re flying it.

Everyone is going through an abrupt change, and this is bound to produce anxiety in everyone. The idea of virtual learning is new and possibly intimidating for many parents. Many families may additionally be undergoing financial stress, employment flux, or pressures of home-working as a result of the pandemic.

The fact of the matter is that every parent wants their child to do well in school, even in the face of mitigating circumstances.

In a study by McAfee, Distance Learning Challenges, taken in April 2020, the following were found as the top five difficulties faced by parents (of kids in K-12) with virtual learning:

  1. Keeping their children focused on schoolwork (instead of other online activities) – 50.31%
  2. Establishing a daily routine – 49.26%
  3. Balancing household responsibilities and teaching – 41.83%
  4. Establishing a wake-up and bedtime schedule – 33.40%
  5. Balancing working from home and teaching – 33.31%

Whether they have kindergarteners or high school seniors, parents are sharing many of the same pains. 

There is no easy way to overcome the issues that parents are facing with virtual learning. We’re all learning how to manage our day and to make the best of learning at home in the most challenging of circumstances. This will require a learn-as-you-go approach, adapting to your child’s specific needs, and working with them as co-stakeholders in their success.

But just know that you are not alone. The task may seem daunting at times, given all the other things that you are juggling, especially if one of them is a job that requires you to be out of the house. We hope that knowing all of the major difficulties that parents are facing in these novel times will help develop a sense of solidarity and provide some comfort in knowing that we are all figuring this stuff out together.

Biggest Issues Faced By Parents with Virtual Learning

Parents are unsupported with the tech

A study by edtech company Promethean found that only 5% of teachers feel like they’re receiving full training and support for edtech in their schools. It shouldn’t be a surprise then if you as a parent feel unsupported.

Everyone is getting used to the virtual learning interface that their child’s school has provided, and many parents are likely to run into issues. But if you are running into issues, then many other parents probably are too.

Consider creating a WhatsApp group or other line of communication with other parents to share problems and fixes. We need to help each other as much as we can. For persistent issues, reach out to the school.

Students may not ask for help

Schools that are offering virtual learning are largely relying on students to self-learn. Students are expected to read the course material, watch a few videos, and print some learning material to study from. There is minimal instructor-led training to explain the content, though there might be a couple of help-sessions for those that need it.

However, a lot of children shy away from asking for help or do not know what to ask for. In that case, there will be gaps in the student’s learning which will give them a shaky foundation and have long-term repercussions for their education.

This is where the parents’ involvement is key. One thing that will help parents in this is giving the student a platform to practice questions based on their lessons. This serves a dual purpose:

  1. The results of the practice questions will help identify where the student needs help.
  2. The practice of answering questions will help create a stronger foundation and build the confidence students need during exam time.

Reducing distractions

There’s a number of distractions available to students in their home environments.  You can put them in front of the computer, but kids are kids – it’s not a stretch of the imagination to suppose they might switch over to a game at some point.

A 2016 report found that students check their devices for “non-class purposes” 11.43 times a day on average. And that was in an environment where a teacher could walk around and monitor what’s happening, and keep them engaged. The ease of that proximity is lost with virtual learning.

Creating an academic environment at home 

Home is home, and school is school. Both places have a very different vibe, and yet students are now being asked to get into the school mentality at home.

This can prove to be difficult, especially if everyone is at home for 24 hours. And a bustling household can be very distracting indeed. 

Parents need to do what they can to provide a quiet space for their kids, and help them mentally demarcate that as a learning space.

Investment in technology

Some families may find the investment in technology a little taxing. At a minimum, a high-speed internet connection is required. For families with multiple children and a single screen at home, this can present a real conundrum – on the one hand, it’s unfair to their kids; on the other hand, it may be financially prohibitive to invest in another machine. 

Devices like a Chromebook, noise-canceling headphones, an extra, larger monitor are all great additions that could enhance a child’s learning experience, but may not be within everyone’s budget.

Malfunctioning technology

There is little that parents can do if the school software itself crashes. And many school districts across the country experienced exactly that as they tried to kick off virtual learning this year.

School-issued Chromebooks in Maryland would not load on the first day. A ransomware attack in Hartford, Connecticut forced schools to postpone the start of online classes. A Zoom outage in Seattle forced schools to shut down for more than two hours. Online learning programs around the nation are crashing. And this is just in the first couple of months!

Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do in these situations but be patient and help our children be patient. It’s definitely going to be hard on them, but if we remain calm, then they are more likely to do so as well.

Motivation needs monitoring

Classroom environments are explicitly designed to support learning, whereas bedrooms and kitchen tables are not. Those are comfort environments, and it can be difficult to get into “school mode”. 

Sustained motivation needs monitoring. A teacher on the other end of a Zoom call can’t really do that, so it often falls to the parent. Between doing their own job and running the house (making sure everyone eats on time, and so on), it’s asking a lot.

One of the best things parents can do is set clear, measurable goals with their children, and set them regularly so that students have something to focus on. Check in on them periodically to see if they are on course to reaching their goals.

Sometimes a student can’t stay engaged

Sometimes a student just can’t get into a certain lesson, and without a teacher to intervene with personal guidance, it can become a real hindrance to progress.

There’s no quick fix to this, but there are things that parents can do over time that will help students get unstuck and develop a growth mindset towards facing problems like these.

Parents can also get involved more directly to help students stay engaged. One analysis showed that school children benefit from discussions about learning and school-related issues with their parents and from joint readings. 

Children need to move

Children just aren’t used to sitting in one place for extended periods of time, and we may forget that. At school they had a structured schedule that gave them a lot of movement in recess time, walking through the hallways, talking to classmates, and a lot of other ways that are lost in virtual learning.

It’s not healthy to spend excessive time sitting (which is something that we parents would also do well to remember).

Make sure your kids are getting some movement throughout the day. Mid-lesson stretching and walks around the house are good enough to start with. They should also be encouraged to get some strenuous physical activity after school hours.

Brain breaks for virtual learning

Students all have different attention spans. This is really put to the test in a virtual learning setup. 

Additionally, paying attention on a Zoom call, which lacks many of the emotional and physical cues of in-person instruction, puts a heavier cognitive load on students.

Make sure your child is getting “brain breaks” between lessons. This time lets their minds relax and refresh.

Student’s physical health

Virtual PE classes are perhaps a bit of a force-fit, but it’s about as best as schools can do. But it’s not enough. And as we stated in a previous point, children aren’t getting nearly as much movement in virtual learning as they were getting in school.

Lack of physical exercise can lead to physical ailments, and reduced attention spans and cognitive function. On the other hand, repeated physical activity during school can improve children’s attention.

Encourage your kids to get some exercise before starting learning, and definitely after school hours. It might be a bit of a fight, because they may feel like jumping on video games as soon as school instruction is over. But sitting down to stare at a screen after a full day of doing exactly that is not ideal!

Feelings of isolation

Many students will miss school. The buzz of the classroom, meeting their friends, the daily activities of school life – everything they are used to has been replaced with sitting in front of a computer screen in their own house. Under these conditions, students can begin to feel a sense of isolation that affects their ability to learn. 

Keep an open dialogue with your child about their feelings. If possible, help them stay in touch with their friends (though let’s face it, their generation is way ahead of us when it comes to that). The point is to be present, be patient and understanding, and be as helpful as possible.

Getting the most out of virtual learning

Virtual learning has laid a plethora of challenges on students, and naturally, this has passed on to parents as well. Along with everything else, we have a responsibility to make school a priority and keep our kids from treating virtual learning as a vacation.

But we are all in this together, and we are all learning together. Regardless of what specific issues you might be facing, the following bits of advice should be the general program to follow:

  • Provide positive feedback.
  • Be patient and flexible.
  • Avoid disciplining children during school activities, especially if children are used to having teachers who use positive reinforcement rather than scolding.

Virtual learning may have its limitations, but dedicated practice testing will help students retain more and solidify concepts. Georgia Test Prep is committed to providing an excellent practice testing tool to help students excel at their studies and ease the burden on parents. With the Georgia Test Prep tool:

  • You will get thousands of questions for grades 3-8 written by Georgia state teachers, based on the Georgia school curriculum, specifically for Georgian students.
  • Questions are organized according to the lessons that are taught in the classrooms. You don’t need to search for the “right questions”, all you have to do is find out from your child or their teacher which topics are being covered from the Georgia standards.
  • You can take control of the learning. While the school will handle the classroom teaching, parents and students together can set out their practice testing plan.
  • You can immediately track the student’s progress as they are completing the practice questions, rather than waiting for school assignments to be checked. You can then focus on areas that need to be strengthened.
  • When practice testing is supplemented with classroom learning, it increases long-term retention of information and concepts. Even 30 minutes of practice testing a week has been found to be effective.
  • There are no additional infrastructure requirements or books needed. The tool is online and goes everywhere the child goes.

5th Grade Tests and Assessments on Georgia Test Prep

“Am I doing everything I can to help my child prepare for the Georgia Milestone Assessment exam?” is what every Georgian parent is asking themselves.

We know the teachers are doing a good job of teaching the curriculum, but we also know that just going to school isn’t enough to ace the exams. And the Georgia Milestones Assessment System is going to test your child every year to see if they are on course with national education standards.

That’s exactly why we created Georgia Test Prep, a tool for parents and their kids to take 5th grade online assessments from anywhere, at any time.

Practice testing is the key to long-term retention of subject material and concepts. This is proven by science, and is called the “testing effect”. Forcing the brain to recall information makes it stick for longer. The way to do this most effectively is to do practice testing in parallel with normal studying.

And Georgia Test Prep isn’t just a bunch of random 5th grade questions! Our bank of thousands of math and ELA questions are designed by Georgia teachers and based on the current Georgia state curriculum.

Georgia Test Prep is also a very convenient tool. Forget about buying and lugging around several 5th grade math practice workbooks, our entire question bank is online. It fits into your kids’ hands and goes with them wherever they go. Practice at home, on vacation, or in the car on the way to the grocery store.

Also, there’s no point in simply testing if you don’t know if your child is improving. That’s why we’ve implemented a dashboard for both you and your kids, so you can both track your child’s progress together. Everything is easy and contained within the app itself.

Here’s an example of the 5th-grade math practice and ELA practice questions that we’ve got in store for you:

Our math bank of questions tests students on all the math concepts they are learning in the 5th grade.

Our ELA bank of questions tests students on concepts of English language and grammar, and reading comprehension.

Georgia Test Prep is the premier 5th grade GMAS study companion that your child needs. To wrap up, the benefits of the tool are:

  • It will help you test quickly after learning a topic.
  • It will help you test frequently.
  • This will improve long term retention, which will help students do better on the final GMAS tests.
  • It’s easy to use and to track your child’s progress.
  • Everything is based on the Georgia state school curriculum, so questions are based on what your kids are actually learning in school.

And all of this is available for less than $0.10/day. That’s less than a Jolly Rancher lollipop, and it will last a lot longer too!

 Sign up for the free and get access for less than 10 cents per day!