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Learning Together as a Family

By: Suzanne Elvidge BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 14 Oct 2012 |
Learning Together As A Family

It’s always easier to learn something with someone else, rather than by yourself, and who better to learn with than your family!

What are the Advantages of Learning Together?

Learning together as a family can be a great way to get to know each other better, and can help to create links between different generations and learn more about each other. Younger and older people often have different skills and can support and guide each other through problems or by using experience and knowledge. Learning together can also mean that there are no issues of having to find and pay for babysitters.

By all learning the same subject, family members can work together away from the class – for example practising languages, testing on subjects before exams, or discussing homework problems. Don’t be tempted to do homework for each other, though!

By learning together at their child’s school, parents can see how the schools work and how their children learn, making it easier to support their child through homework and exams. It can also help parents meet new people and get more involved with their local school and community, and even find out about opportunities for volunteering at the school.

Some parents, especially those with English as a second language, might find it less daunting to join a course along with their children and other members of their families, especially if the better English speakers can act as interpreters. For people whose English is not very good, going out to a course can reduce any feelings of isolation and loneliness, and make them feel more of a part of the local community, as well as helping them improve their language skills or confidence through general conversation. For single parents, joining a course with their children can help them meet other families, and even other parents in a similar situation, for mutual support.

Seeing their parents learning is a good example for children, and may make the children more enthusiastic about learning, and show them that learning is a lifelong experience. Learning together can help improve the self-esteem of individual members of the family, and help with parenting skills. It can also just be fun for the whole family.

What Things Can You Learn as a Family?

There is a huge variety of subjects to learn as a family – choices can range from basic skills such as numeracy and literacy through to crafts, cooking, healthy eating, exercise, languages, and sports including sailing and other water sports.

Where to Learn as a Family

Many local colleges and schools run courses for families to learn together, especially during the holidays. To find details, have a look at the notice boards in the library, or keep an eye on school, college and local council websites.

It’s also possible to learn together as a family at home, for example having language tapes or CDs on in the car, or by working through educational DVDs together, though it is harder to keep the willpower and impetus going when learning at home rather than as part of the group. Try to get family members to support each other and keep up the initial enthusiasm.

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