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Educating Your Child On A Low-Income

Educating Your Child On A Low-Income

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Every parent knows that education plays a major role in determining a child's future. That's why moms and dads always want to give their kids as many learning opportunities as possible. Unfortunately, the American education system often seems to discriminate against low-income families: the US trails behind many developed nations in educational equality, and barely 30 percent of Americans reach a higher educational level than their parents.[1] Educational inequality leaves many low-income parents feeling stranded and overwhelmed in their quest to give their children more opportunities than they had. Low-income parents want their kids to have the same opportunities as their wealthier peers, but that's not easy to provide, and educating children on a budget can be difficult and stressful. The good news is that even on a tight budget, there are some money-saving tips, tricks, and hacks you can do to supplement your child's schooling.

Create a Learning-Friendly Home
Book exchanges are also a great way to get free books for your children. You simply swap an old book of yours for a different one from someone else.

Positive environmental factors can be extremely conducive to learning, and the opposite is just as true. A cluttered, messy, dark, and badly ventilated home will not lend itself well to learning. That's why you should spend some time and make your home a productive and encouraging space. Start by cleaning your home and reducing clutter, which is distracting and makes it difficult for children to concentrate. The same goes for fresh air. Various studies have shown that children who learn in an environment with plenty of fresh air perform better.[2] If the weather is good, try to keep the windows in your home open during the day.

Make sure your kids have a suitable desk and chair combination that they can use to complete their homework. Balancing books on their lap, working on the floor, or doing homework on a dining table or near a TV or computer are not ideal options. You can pick up second-hand desks and chairs cheap at garage sales, from the local paper, or even from schools that have changed their furniture. Make sure their workspace is well lit and not cluttered.

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Books Matter

When it comes to learning, books are your kids' best friends. That's why you should try to fill your home with as many books as possible. You can find some real bargains out there on nearly new books because many people decide to sell books they've already read. Keep an eye out for books at garage sales or in ads in your local paper. Book exchanges are also a great way to get free books for your children. You simply swap an old book of yours for a different one from someone else.

Consider your children's interests when shopping for books, but remember that their tastes will certainly change as they grow older. Don't overlook books that your kids might find interesting in a few years' time, especially if these books are low cost, or even free. Kids can often surprise us, and if a book is there on the shelf, you might find your child looking long before you thought they'd be interested.

Read To Your Child

With plenty of books at your disposal, your next task is to get your children to read them. A great way to encourage them to read is by reading to them yourself whenever you get an opportunity. Telling your young children bedtime stories broadens their imagination and helps them learn new words. For older kids, reading with them is a more grown-up alternative. Take turns to read a page or even an entire chapter, correcting their pronunciation along the way. This activity can even become a weekend routine when they're not at school, promoting both learning and family bonding.

Encourage Questions

Children learn by asking questions. Encourage yours to ask as many questions as possible, and avoid dismissing them because you're too busy. There's nothing wrong with not knowing the answer, either: It's an opportunity to teach a child how we look for answers. The more parents teach their children that asking questions is a good thing, the more the children will become inquisitive and curious about the world around them.

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The great thing is that you can teach your kids about practically anything. It's great if the subjects align with their school curriculum, but any information that broadens their knowledge is valuable. Even subjects that seem to have little educational relevance can be useful subjects for discussion if they encourage kids to think critically and creatively.

Change the Channel

If you've got a TV at home, consider shifting your children's viewing habits towards more educational and informative programs. Rather than watching a sitcom as you eat dinner, why not put on a documentary channel or even the news, and let your kids learn while they eat. Channels that broadcast animal documentaries are particularly great for children, as the subject matter helps keep their attention.

It's hard to keep kids away from phones, tablets, computers, and other devices, but you can bring in some top rated educational games to add some substance to their screen time. New games hit the market all the time, and a quick search for “best educational games” for your child's age or grade will come up with many candidates.

Discuss Current Affairs

As well as watching the evening news together, encourage your kids to discuss some of the stories they see on the news. Current affairs will inevitably affect your children's lives in both the present and the future, so it's important that they understand some of the things happening in the world today. Discussions about current affairs help develop your children's questioning skills and encourage them to form opinions for themselves. Ask their opinions on issues that matter, and follow up with gentle questions that lead them to understand their opinions and how they formed.

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