Summer is around the corner, so I thought of sharing this with you. Even though we say summer is not for studies, a little preparation will not hurt. Beware, some marketing of my center will also be expected!
Entering 1st/2nd grade:
Time to start piano lessons, drawing, sports, dance, music etc. Especially when the kids are moving from private schools to public schools, there will be lots of free time. Use this time to develop interest on other extra curricular activities. These two years are the time to do all the tryouts and it may be a waste of money/time. Still, we need to try in order to figure out. Cut down on TV. Let them dream and direct them on using time on what ever they like. This way, they develop an interest in reading/drawing/writing etc. PLEASE PULL OUT THAT TV’S PLUG.
Academics: Read.read, read. Take them to library or bookstores and read with them. Introduce them to non-fiction books also. Aside from math, all subject knowledge can be developed through reading.
Math: This is the time for developing speed. Kumon is a proven place for developing speed. Stick with Kumon up to the level of Division. I really don’t know about other places.
Entering 3rd grade:
This is the time to stop fooling around with multiple activities. You need to figure out which activity your kid enjoys the most and start building on it. This is totally your kid’s choice.
Academics: Time to deeply focus on comprehension skills/problem solving skills.
Math: By this time, kids need to have enough speed to do basic arithmetic problems. Focus more on speed and eventually build unto Division. Time to come out of raw arithmetic like Kumon and start building on word problems. Either spend time with kids by working on problem solving books or send them to Gurukulam(www.Gurukulam.us). Yes that’s me. I am proven to turn them around .
English: Start focusing on writing/comprehension/vocabulary/grammar.
HAND WRITING is the important thing in this grade level. Start working on the handwriting. Schools won’t care much about it. So please, fix it at home.
Entering 4th grade:
If you did the previous grade level steps correctly, your child has good handwriting, has already picked their area of interest in extra curricular activities, is an avid reader and a good problem solver. Now time to build on it.
Extra curricular: Time to throw away the activities they don’t like and even it won’t hurt starting couple of new things. Maybe you will see a spark in different areas.
English: Build on writing skills and comprehension skills. Also, build on vocabulary through reading, and focus on grammar and critical reading skills.
Math: Time to try out more problem solving books like Math Olympiad, CML, and a ton more. Teach them all the tricks with math. Take them to a higher level. Open up their mind with different methods and challenging things. Teach their concepts clearly. This is the year that they are either going to build a passion towards math or not. At 5th grade they are either going to hate math or they are going to love math. The big transition is happening at 4th grade.
You can see the connection between critical reading/comprehension skills in English and problem solving skills in math at this grade level. Kids who are not good at comprehension are not going to do well with math competition problems.
Other subjects: Read, read, read. That’s the only way they are going to build interest in history/science etc.
Entering 5th grade:
This is the time all the hormones are kicking in. They may say “no more” often. Try to build the connection with the kids before hand. When I look at my 5th grade students, this is what coming to my mind. They are a group of energetic kids ready to absorb any kind of information given to them. We have to be successful at directing their energy in the right direction. This is their turning point in life. If they are exposed to bad influences from surroundings at this time, that is going to reflect on them all through their life. Handle them with lots of care. They may tend to lie to you in order to look good in front of you. This is the time they are developing their personality also. So even though they act evil, show them that you care. We need to do the reverse engineering. The more they act weird, the less we freak out.
Academically: English and math are a continuation of what they build on. If they are not strong in any of the areas explained in fourth grade, this is your last chance to fix all that. Talk to the kid, find out where they are lacking, and fix it.
I have seen more self-realization in 7th grade kids. But by that time, it’s going to be too late to fix the academics. So I am trying to push that to 5th grade before it’s too late. In general, kids tend to be in a lazy mode in 5th grade and in 7th grade they want to turn it around. They need lots of help from adults in the right way at this point. So try to build the following foundation before kids enter middle school (6th-8th)
- Key points before Middle school
- Caring AttitudeTime management /Organization skills
- Good peers
- Strong problem solving skills/concept knowledge in math
- Strong grammar/Critical reading/Comprehension skills
- Writings skill/vocabulary building through reading non-fiction books.
- Strong connection with parents
- Strong interest in the extra curricular activities which they are participating
- Strong mind to say no to bad influences
- Hobby to replace the TV time
The middle school plan will be followed in the next blog depending on the response to this. If you are reading this blog, try to leave a comment so I will feel motivated. Middle school and high school plans are worth a million, so I am trying to collect all the info from my high school, my kids’ schools, and from students. There are lots of different paths kids can follow depending on private school/public school etc. I will compile all that and will put it shortly. Please try to be a follower of this blog if you want updates.