Good for you for wanting to provide meaningful activity for your child. Weekends might be the time to introduce some very different experiences rather than attempting to replicate a school day at home. Think about how you can make weekend learning fun and exciting. Experiential learning is extremely effective. Allow your child to learn through actualy experience rather than through reading a book or watching a documentary.
Children learn educational concepts through all types of activities. Think about the various sports that are played and how many math computation lessons can be taught just by keeping score. While it is easy to keep score for a baseball game, scoring a line of bowling can get very complicated.
Use the world around you to expose your child to important concents. While examining the flower bed in your neighbor's yard, point out to your child science lessons such as pollination (bees) or aeration (worms).
Teaching a child to be part of a larger community and to protect the environment is another important parent responsibility. Consider teaching your child how to give back through designing a neighborhood recycling effort or by collecting food for the local food pantry to illustrate important sociological concepts.
As you interact with your child, remember that mastery of basic social skills is essential to lifelong success. Pay particular attention to your child's ability to follow directions, accept consequences, ask permission and solve problems. If your child is in need of further practice, the weekend is an ideal time to work on building those skills through direct instruction including role plays.
For more information on how to help your child develop the ability to interact with others, please don't hesitate to check out www.parenting.org for articles and insight on social skills instruction.
In addition, counselors are available at the Boys Town National Hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-448-3000.
If you think that it would help to speak to a parenting counselor, please don't hesitate to give us a call at your convenience.
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Is your child interested in team sports? How about hobby clubs or boy/girl scouts? Volunteering with local non-profits or museums or animal shelters? Learning a musical instrument? There are so many possibilities, it would really help to know what interests your child to make corresponding suggestions.
Also, have you contacted your city's Recreation Department to see if they offer any weekend programs? How about your local YMCA or Boys & Girls Club?
I wouldn't be handing your child arithmetic worksheets to do on the weekend, but there are a lot of games and puzzles that exercise our brains. Much as I have mixed feelings about electronic games, the Nintendo DS has a number of cartridges that are "brain exercisers" like "Big Brain Academy" and the like. Toys-R-Us has a good selection.
Picture puzzles are very good for exercising pattern recognition skills, which are very useful to have not only in lef in general but for some of those college entrance exams that are just a few years away for your child.
Card games are good, too. I especially like "SET" that I picked up in my local games shop. The publisher's web site is below, just so that you can read about it. My kids started playing in when they were quite a lot younger than 12. And don't be discouraged if your child turns out to be better at it than you are!
And then there's music lessons. I recommend piano. But that's a whole story in itself.
One thing that struck me after I was an adult is how many museums, monuments, historical sites, factories and such are scattered around most cities. Places that tourists often travel many miles to see, but the locals don't care. It's an old joke in Manhattan that the people who live there are the ones who haven't visited the Statue of Liberty.
So find the names, make a list, and visit one each month. Mix them up--art, history, etc.
People should know their own communities. In addition, your child can probably get an essay out of each visit.
On rainy days, try "28: Tips for Helping Your Child Do Better in School" (link below).