Why Unstructured Free Play is good for Kids ?

Free Unstructured Play can be defined as when children play without being directed by their elders. They do just as they want to do. There is no fixed game where they have to adhere to certain rules and regulations. Free play is very essential for the overall growth of children. It helps build up their Physical & Motor skills, Language &Cognitive skills as well as their Social and Emotional skills. There are many benefits of Unstructured Free Play.

No Pressure & Stress

Normally parents are always after the kids to do many things according to their rules. This brings in a lot of stress and burden on them. During Free Play there is no pressure and stress experienced by the kids as there are no rules to be followed and they are free to do as they please.

Decision making Skills

They improve on their decision making skills. They learn to find problems as well as solutions to those problems. Learning to understand right from wrong is very important.

Leadership qualities

When playing in a group, children normally play games where one of them decides what they have to do and everybody does just as he says. This imbibes leadership qualities in the child.

Learn while they play

Children learn concepts without realizing that they are learning something at their own pace and at their own time.

Sense of Independence

They learn to share , negotiate, take independent decisions and resolve conflicts.

Enhance Creativity

Their creative juices flow as never before. If they are left on their own to probably draw and colour or even play with clay without being guided by the teacher or parent, they come up with things wich is beyond the imagination of an adult. Their imagination goes haywire. They love to go into the world of fantasy.

Social & Emotional Skills are Fostered

When playing in a group it fosters social and emotional skills. They learn to await their turn. This encourages them to learn to be patient. Their relation with their peers improves.

Takes them away from the Electronic Gadgets

The advantage of free play is that children are not glued to the electronic world like television, I-pads and Tabs. This is a big advantage as then there is no physical exercise and in turn no physical or motor skill development.

They learn to Initiate

They learn to take initiative. They create stories and activities in the world around them. Children are always ready to spin up stories and they always want to be better than their peers when it comes to telling stories.

Empathy ,Self awareness, Self reliance , Self confidence are all fostered during free play. It also helps to encourage physical activity in older children who do not have any time to play as they are pressured with their studies and different classes they attend. Free play helps in taking away stress, anxiety and depression and and also improves the overall mood of the children. Most children are very happy when they indulge in free play. So as Parents and teachers , we should always encourage free unstructured play.

Home Schooling vs. Public Schooling

Which is the BEST Option for Your Family?

Maybe your child is fast approaching school age or maybe you are finding yourself increasingly frustrated with educational options for your family.   Whatever the reason more and more families are exploring the aspects of homeschooling vs. public schooling.  As the homeschooling movement has gained popularity from the 1970’s until today it has brought with it a surge of educational options that rivals most other educational arenas.  When you couple that with what some families are finding to be a less than ideal environment in many public schools, you have room for debate and questions.  But how does homeschooling really stack up to the public school system that has been in existence since most of us can remember?  Are children who are homeschooled at a disadvantage?  Are public schooled students better socialized?  Read on to answer some of these tough questions.

How does the educational experience differ between public school and homeschool?

With public school systems a classroom is typically comprised of approximately 20 students. This means that for any well meaning teacher it is a constant battle to decipher the needs of 20 individual personalities and learning styles to create the optimum learning experience often in a shortened time span.  With homeschooling you may have a large family but the teacher (usually the parent) knows the student intimately and knows what tools they need to succeed.  There is also more freedom and time to explore topics of interest and areas of difficulty as there are no bells ringing to signal preset time constraints.

Are Homeschooled Students at a Disadvantage Academically?

With all the freedom allotted to homeschoolers, do they wind up disadvantaged in the sheer academia?  According to a number of studies on test scores and academic performance, the answer is pretty astounding.  The home educated students typically score 15-30 percentile points more than publics school students on standardized academic achievement tests. That is an increase in test scores that most parents would love to see.

What About Socialization?

This seems to still be a question at the forefront of most people’s minds.  How could a child surrounded by other children all day long in a public school setting not be at an advantage over a child who may only be surrounded by siblings and a parent for most of their time?  The answer is that homeschooled children view the world as their classroom so they are more often not inside the confines of 4 walls when learning.  What this means is that the socialization experience of homeschooled students is more often with a greater variance of people.  They come in contact with not only other children their age (at co-ops, church or social events, and extracurricular sports) but also with people from all walks of life and varied ages as they interact with the world at large.  There is also more time for the homeschooled child to volunteer to communities where their socialization experiences helps.

Now some of the basic questions may be answered, but for someone who is newer to this whole concept of homeschooling and public school, what are the options?  For public school it is simple.  When your child reaches “school age” (usually by 6 years old) you take them down to the local school district and register them for kindergarten.  Simple as that your child has begun their academic career.  Barring any family move from district to district, this is where your child will attend school until they complete the 12th grade and graduate school.  There usually are no other major changes save for the situations where a family may decide to take advantage of a technical school, if offered, usually during the latter high school years.  In many parts of the country there are also now charter and Montessori schools that accept public funding and therefore operate like public schools allowing children into the school system either on an academic testing basis or a locale basis.

In traditional public schools the parent is simply the compliment to the education.  The parent helps with homework, can facilitate assistance in the classroom with parties and field trips if necessary, but is largely left out of the educational part of school.  In fact, the parent has no say in what is taught in the school operating system so if there are concepts that are against the parent’s own set of standards and beliefs (certain religions and material on sex education and reproduction) they are taught regardless of the parent’s personal feelings.

What about homeschooling, how does a parent even get started?  A good starting point in the US  is to review the laws in your state.  This can be done by going to this website https://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp? , picking out your state and seeing what the requirements are.  Every state is a bit different with some having more leniency and less reporting standards than others.  What if you live outside the US and are wondering about international laws?  No problem there is a place to view all of those laws as well http://www.hslda.org/hs/international/

If you are interested in completely removing yourself from the home education proceedings but do want to have your child at home while learning there are a number of online schools available.  This option, at least in the United States, often comes free of charge as it is still being partially funded by the public school system as a whole.  Therefore, while the parent can call it “homeschooling” there is little choice for the parent in the education being provided, however it is provided often free of charge and with the child in the parent’s home.  One of the most well known online public schools is K-12.

For a parent who would like a little more control they must first register with their state or locale in whatever manner is necessary (for some there is no registration requirement) and provide whatever materials are asked of them.  Beyond that the parent has more choices.  A parent can choose to purchase entire grade level curriculum for each child with all of the guesswork taken out of the teaching and lesson planning, a parent can purchase curriculum on a by subject basis for those students who may be more advanced in one academic area than another or a parent has the freedom to develop their own learning protocols.   The parent is the overseeing body who is in charge of what materials they want to focus on and what subjects they want taught to their children.

Public School and homeschool are options available to every parent, in every state.  This option is not yet available in every country, but there are agencies that are keeping tabs on what is available

Homeschooling is legal in all of the 50 United States and of course public school is the option that has been the norm for educating children since before the turn of the century.  A parent must only realize that they have choices and then look at the options available to their family to decide what avenue will best meet the needs of their own child or children.  Whether you as a parent reside in the United States or Abroad, there are agencies that can provide you information and the basic concepts of homeschooling remain the same.

Celebrate your kids passion !

We live in an economy where we are forced make decisions that challenges our emotions and intelligence, whether to allow our kids to follow their passion or direct them in the path where the basic survival is assured. When we look back at history people who are being celebrated are the ones who did what they really loved.

Thomas Edison was one such personality who pursued his passion from child hood. His father was an exiled political activist from Canada and his mother was an accomplished school teacher. She was a major influence in Thomas’ early life. His hearing disability due to scarlet fever at an early age made his mother pull him out of school and give him home education. At the age of 11 he suddenly showed great affinity towards reading books and had a voracious hunger for knowledge. His mothers idea of home education gave him that opportunity for a wide –open curriculum where he could learn and study just what he was interested in. He developed a process of learning independently which helped him throughout his life. His passion was experimenting which he continued and was always encouraged by his mother. He became the genius of our time just because he was allowed to pursue his passion.

How to help your kids to find their Passion ?

A child’s passion if tapped early in life can be very helpful to him as he may not be aware of what he is really interested in. You as a Parent should be very vigilant about your child’s various interests and hit on the right one which will help him in his future. You should help your child by introducing him to various activities which you think may be of interest to him . When he sees that you are taking pains to get him on track then even he will put in equal efforts .
You can help the child to find out his passion and then help him pursue it in many ways.

Help him with his Curiosity: Children basically are very curious and inquisitive right from their toddlerhood. Once they develop this habit of intense curiosity, expose him to a lot of different thing that you think may interest him. He will himself be able to discover his passion. It need not be an expensive matter. I could just be something you observe on the street and show it to him. Maybe that will be a good and interesting beginning for him.

Finding Passions: Do not react if your childs interest in something fades away within a few weeks of indulgence. Thing like this happen. You as a Parent should have tremendous faith in him and his abilities . Give him time to discover and practice his interest. If he feels later that he can pursue this passion further he will definitely do it. The making or shaping of your child depends solely on your patience with him until he finds something he is really very passionate about.

Listen to your child: You have to guide and support your child even if he keeps changing his interests from time to time. The passion he pursues should be of his interest and not something which you as a child always wanted to pursue and could not. Let him dream. Give him all the freedom to do as he wants. Do not force a child to do otherwise. The result will be that he will be pursuing something that you like which he was never interested in. But to keep your word he may do it. He will not be happy. Let your child do something that he will feel contented with. There are times when even as teenagers children are not sure of what they want to do in life. But there is no use fretting over this. There will be a time when they actually listen to their inner voice and would like to do just that whether it is a hobby converted to a career or just doing it for the feel of passion.

Go the distance: Be co-operative with your child. Even if there is something which you do not like or that would be the last place on earth you would like to be in, Be there for him. It is your duty to go that extra distance for your loved one. It is said that what is easiest for you as a parent may not really be very helpful for the child.

Help pursue pleasure:Try finding out as you talk to your children what are the things they do that make them very happy. There are things that they keep thinking about all the time. The child’s brain works 24X7 when he tries to pursue something of his own choosing. This Passion should give him pleasure. It should not be a burden on the child. A forceful parent can create negativity in the child towards the activities he has been asked to do.

Passion is a very valid reason that the child may be up early in the morning and stay up late at night. Passion is doing something which your child is interested in and he knows that if he pursues it as a career he will do it without getting bored and he will also kive his life on his own terms. The learned say that “ All children are gifted… They just open up their gifts at different times.” We as parents should help them to unwrap it and allow them to live to fullest!

Tips to nurture and grow your childs creativity

Creativity is a word which is highly misunderstood. Creativity is normally thought of in respect to Art or Music or even poetry. But that is not the actual meaning of creativity. It is the ability to make something new. Creativity is Thinking of new things you have never ventured into.  Every person is creative. It is just that there are different fields like science, Art, Space, Painting, Cooking or playing a musical instrument.

What is Childhood? Childhood is a journey from infancy to Toddlerhood to Preschool to Middle       Childhood to Adolecence. Childhood is a time of supposed rapid change. Parents play a vital role in nurturing the creativity of their children. Creativity in a child helps them to fulfill their day to day tasks in the most unstressed way. Parents should be able to identify that special twinkle in the eye of the child when he is doing something interesting and also discover the elements of creativity in the child and nurture them in the right way. Every Child is different . So it is the inherent responsibility of the parents and then the teacher to identify and bring out the special talent of the child so that as adults they become imaginative and creative . A creative thought is the result of the mindset acquired at the very childhood. There are many things that you, as a parent, can do to nurture your child’s creativity.

Instill Confidence

Confidence in children should be instilled in them from their infancy stage.  Unconditional love should be given to them. They should not be scolded at for undeliberate mistakes done. If scolded they will lose confidence in themselves and may not try to do anything new. Try to strenghthen their curiosity and willingness to explore and take creative risks.

Encourage Curiosity

Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” It is the door to many possibilities. Cognitive and Social development fosters Imagination. needfor their future. Social development in a child supports the ability to express Cognitive Development which refers to the thinking abilities of the child. Thinking Out of the Box is the beginning of creativity in the child. Children express themselves verbally and non-verbally. Imagination and creativity are  skills which children should develop to regulate feelings and develop relations with others which boosts their confidence .

Encourage curiosity and exploration in a child. Try to make him find out answers to his own questions. Brainstorming should also be encouraged with kids who are very inquisitive & curious. Stimulate imaginative, independent thought by posing questions. Encourage Humour. Humor helps kids take joy in their creative intelligence. Laugh together often. Play imaginative word games.

Channelize Energy

Children are always very energetic. They should always be engaged in some or the other activity. The best way to deal with this is to channelize their energy in the right path.. Introduction to creative toys or puzzles will give them a way to use up their energy  . They can be taken out to parks to play where their social skills as well as cognitive skills are enhanced.

Spend Quality time

One of the most important aspects of nurturing is when you spare time to be with your child and spend quality time with them. Telling your child bedtime stories will enhance their thinking skills as well as their language skills. This is also a way to make them think creatively.

The children should be taught to be positive. To share their toys & books with their friends and  to care for their loved ones should be taught to the children from the very beginning. A conducive environment should be created for the child to be well nurtured.

Gift Creative Stuffs

Creative toys should be given to children as gifts so that they start thinking . Building Blocks is one such game.  They improve the fine motor skills of the child. They also enhance hand and eye co-ordination. This also helps them to build their cognitive skills. They learn to differenciate between shapes, colours, sizes, etc

Try Preschooling

They say that children learn and are able to absorb till the age of 5. So it is very important that the child is sent to a prechool where the teacher takes over from the parent and teaches the child and develops his Cognitive, language, Physical , Motor, Social  and Emotional skills.

These are some of the ways a child’s creativity  can be nurtured . There is no one “right way” to nurture your child. Comment your thoughts