Tuesday, February 28, 2012

6 Ways to Improve Education Outside the Classroom

star gazingYour children don't need to be in close proximity to notebooks, book bags, whiteboards, and pop quizzes to learn. True learning isn't just about memorizing history facts and solving math problems. Learning is an interactive -- and lifelong -- process of analyzing, questioning, and discussing; learning is looking for new meanings and unique applications of knowledge in every situation.
There's a big world of questions, places, and people out there: Try to expose your children to as many meaningful experiences as possible. You'll broaden their knowledge, improve early childhood education, and cultivate the type of awareness and appreciation that can't be taught from a textbook. Read our seven suggestions for helping your children learn outside the classroom.

Recognize the Value of the Public Library
Libraries are invaluable resources that provide (free!) public access to a well-curated collection of books and archives. Libraries are hubs for information on a staggering amount of fascinating topics -- all just waiting to be gathered and shared with your child. Helpful professionals are available to guide and encourage your child's quest for knowledge.

Explore the World at Every Opportunity
When you travel with your kids -- whether it's a day trip or a week-long vacation -- they can learn so much about the world. You can teach children about history, geography, and the diversity of cultures, traditions, and customs. How your family travels can spark curiosity and conversations.
Embrace "Everyday Education"
While they may seem mundane, everyday activities can open the door to exciting new lessons. For example, baking a batch of cookies can illustrate the practical applications of math, science, and nutrition; attending a Little League baseball game can illustrate statistics, history, and teamwork.
Get a Dose of Culture
Expose your children to as many artistic and social highlights as possible. Museums, zoos, historical sites, and cultural events such as plays, operas, ballets, and concerts are great ways to teach and entertain kids. Often, kids will find these adventures more fun than sitting at a desk in school. Plus, they can broaden their horizons and possibly excite lifelong interests, hobbies, and passions.
Take Every Opportunity to Answer "Why?"
Even the most unremarkable moments can become teachable, milestone events. Accompanying Mom or Dad to the office can spark a conversation on commerce and industry; looking at the night sky can inspire questions about celestial objects in the vast universe. Look for everyday opportunities to learn as a family -- and remember to embrace the natural curiosity and wonder of your kids.

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