According to the government’s National Travel Survey, 88% of children between the ages of 7-10 are accompanied to and from school. The average travel time one way in 2017 was 19 minutes. Rounded up to 20 minutes and considering that every school is open for 190 days of the year, that is roughly 63 hours of the morning school run alone. Sixty-three hours is for many people nearly two weeks of a full-time job. Incorporating a commute home, this a nearly a whole extra working month of informal learning at a critical time in a child’s education. Why not utilise it!
Here is a list of fun ideas for the school run.
Times tables & Spelling challenges.
Mastering the times tables has always been considered a fundamental of a British education. Many adults have automatic recall when it comes to 7 x 8 (the old 5,6,7,8 rule?) or 9 x 6. These two sums declared the most difficult to remember by mathematicians. The times tables have re-entered the national debate in recent years. Recent government policy wants children to master the tables up to the 12’s by the age of 10. The 20 minutes before school can be an excellent time for children to practice these, better yet, make a game of it. The same can be applied to spelling practice.
Keep the afternoon fresh.
In the morning cover a core subject such as the times tables or a bit of spelling mentioned above and in the afternoon get the inquisitive juices flowing with something completely unrelated. Introduce them to the joys of art. Painting can be a fantastic way for children to have fun and take them away from the limitations of the national curriculum, feeding their natural curiosity. There is much research that suggests that introducing children to art increases their natural desire to learn.
Provide resources to pass the time
A book or an I-pad loaded with a learning resource available can be used to pass the time. The minds of children can be surprisingly porous. Do not merely provide them with a reading list, take note of the things they are most interested in, and make sure a plentiful supply of literary/interactive options are available. The availability of such resources for the commute to and from school will develop good habits for later life
Learn new words
Introduce children to the joys of the English language with a new word and its definition every day. The Oxford Dictionary claims that it is quite probable that the English vocabulary is the largest in the world. There are several resources available, generating a daily word, such as Merriam Webster, Dictionary.com or the books written by E. S. Carruthers or Caroline Taggart. Oxford Dictionaries even has a service where they will email a word of the day! After a couple of weeks, you’ll be pining for pleonastic exhilaration!
Use the time to inquire.
Asking the right sort of questions will give an insight into any arising problems in your child's education. To achieve a healthy dialogue, focus on aspects such as what they found interesting or tricky or annoying. By doing this, you can learn whether or not a plan of action to improve your child’s learning experience is necessary.
It is essential to find out if a child is struggling in any area, and would it be worth investing in a bit of extra help such as a tutor or is school enough?