The way children learn has an impact on how much will be retained. You would want your child to keep as much information in as possible. Learning has not occurred if there is no change in their knowledge base.
There are certain conditions that will make learning easier for your child.
1. Learn Early in the Day
The best concentration occurs early. Your child’s mind is fresh early in the day after waking. By the time the day wears on, your child will become tired and distracted by other things. After lunch, there tends to be less focus as well. By dinner time, your child’s ability to concentrate on other than food diminishes.
Have you ever noticed how mathematics and English are taught in the first period at school? As soon as your child enters the classroom, the first subject is always mathematics or English. This is because schools place a high value on these subjects. They know that by the end of the day children will become less focussed. This is also why art and sports are usually taught in the afternoon.
Decide on which subject is important to you then teach that first. I would teach Qur’an, Arabic and Islamic studies first then mathematics, English and science. Last would be the ‘fun’ activities such as art and sports.
2. Learn in the Preferred Learning Mode
Have your child study in his preferred learning mode. As a teacher, I would try to accommodate all the children by using the different learning modes to teach. Since you are your child’s parent, you would know which mode your child learns best in.
This is not to say that you only teach in that mode as children still need variety. But what it means is that you predominately teach in your child’s preferred mode and sprinkle in the other modes.
There are three learning modes: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic/tactile. Visual is where your child prefers to see things such as charts and images. His brain can process the visual information fastest. Auditory is where he learns through hearing sounds such as through recitals and speeches. His brain can process sounds fastest. Lastly, kinaesthetic and tactile is learning through moving and touching such as role playing and hands on activities.
If you do not yet know your child’s preferred learning mode then observe him and see which mode makes him happiest when learning. Also ask yourself these questions, “Does my child likes to see things or hear things or move and touch things?” and “Does my child always says ‘Let me see’ or ‘Let me hear’ or ‘Let me feel that’?”
Remember that all children will like to see, hear, move and touch things but there is one thing that they like more than the others. This is their preferred learning mode.
Once you’ve figured out which is your child’s preferred learning mode then find lessons and activities in this mode. And remember to mix in the other modes as well to make it interesting.
3. Practice and Revise Daily
Whatever your child is learning, it needs to be used and then revised. As the saying goes, ‘Use it or lose it’. So allow your child the chance to apply the learning into new situations or just to practice it.
Knowledge by itself is not worth anything if it can’t be used and act upon. If your child is memorising a new surah of the Qur’an then have him use it in his prayers. If your child is learning to spell new words then have him use them in writing sentences and in conversations. If your child is learning multiplication facts then have him solve multiplication problems that are relevant to him. You get the picture.
Once you can see that your child can use what he’s learnt then quiz him on it to help him to recall what has been learnt. It can be a small quiz or a big test.
If your child can remember, understand and use what was learnt then thinking has occurred. These are the lower levels of thinking in the revised Bloom’s taxonomy (which basically classifies the different levels of thinking). This is great for young children. For older children, they would need to analyse, evaluate and create something based on the new information learnt.