May 5, 2020 by Damien Krug
Child Learning Tips When You Share Custody
I’m going to share with you some tips for helping a child to do extra learning in a joint custody arrangement. When you have a child only around 50% of the time, or less, learning enrichment has to be carefully targeted.
Need for Learning Enrichment
The need for learning enrichment comes from curriculum weaknesses in modern schools. Too often school programs provides breadth at the expense of rigor and depth. In other words, they try to cover too much ground.
While it’s great for kids to do arts, sports, music, cultural studies, languages, etc, fitting all this in a 6-hour school day doesn’t work very well. Kids end up not being able to, say, speak French very well despite having formally studied the language. At the same time, their native-language grammar and expression may suffer and be under-developed.
Fathers and mothers need to step in to ensure children develop skills to be able to thrive in their later school years, in further studies such as college or university, and in their adult personal and professional lives. Providing extra learning opportunities effectively is harder when parents are separated or divorced and trying to co-parent their child or children.
Tip 1: Target a Certain Skill Set in Your Joint Custody Time
To get observable learning results, targeting just one or two skills sets at a time is a good strategy. The idea is to identify critical learning gaps and make sure this a properly filled. After all, we’re trying to counter what schools tend to do, which is to have too much variety at the expense of quality.
The need for careful targeting is heightened by raising your child as a co-parent. Even if you are on good terms with the other parent, you probably can’t, and don’t want to, try to coordinate learning activities with your ex. That limits how much time you can spend on learning enrichment activities.
A good group to consider targeting first are the basics, the three R’s: reading, writing and arithmetic. Being able to read well and write effectively are critical to academic success — in just about every subject. Mathematics is also essential for succeeding in science and social science subjects and is needed for most university courses.
If your child is doing fantastic in the three R’s already, then you can branch out. Other potentially valuable skills are coding, digital communication and persuasive writing. You might also want to develop areas in which your child shows a special interest, so they can potentially go beyond being just proficient and truly excel at something.
Tip 2: Add Learning Slots to Your Custody Schedule
When exactly will your child do these learning enrichment activities? You need to identify spaces in your child custody schedule that are suitable. Ideally, fit them into long visits that can’t be monopolized just by learning activities.
If your custody schedule doesn’t give you sufficient time your child or children, it may be time to create a new parenting plan. Timtab automatically generates custody schedules by age and also drafts a customized parenting plan.
Balance the learning enrichment time against schooling. For example, kids tend to fatigue from all the learning they do at school by around Thursday afternoon. So, it may be best to leave the enrichment activities for weekends or early in the school week.
Tip 3: Find a Go-To Learning Program
You can provide heaps of enrichment activities without having to essentially home school your kids. Online learning programs are here to help.
One example is SplashLearn, which builds mathematics skills in kids of elementary school age. The program is also good for strengthening foundation math skills in older children. Children are able to move quickly through large sets of math exercises, building knowledge, speed and accuracy.
Tip 4: Coach Your Child for Both Fun and Results
Coaching your kids well is important to achieve good learning results while keeping the activities fun. It’s even more important for children in shared custody.
The last thing you want is to be the co-parent that the kids least want to be with. So keep an eye on your child’s mood to ensure the activities are working for him or her.
Generally, kids are happy to do enrichment activities if they are genuinely learning. It also helps if they have a game-like feel and if results are acknowledged and rewarded. So, be present with your child or children to keep them on track and be a co-parent who helps them succeed.