• Reggie Jenkins

Tips to Keep Your Child Academically Engaged

Updated: May 5, 2020

During this extended time off for students in the United States, many parents are scrambling to keep their young ones pre-occupied. Sure, the easy route is to allow your child to watch TV or play video games all day, but how constructive will that be to allow them to spend countless hours gaming and not engaging their 'gray' matter in academic development? Excessive use of these options can lead to the stagnation of our children's academic and personal development. It can also start (or continue) a dangerous trend where our children lack confidence in their ability to master educational subjects and become another statistic in the American public school system.

Studies show that young children should not play video games no more than one hour per week. We must also be cautious as to what type of games our children play, due to the fact that some of the most popular games are violent in nature. TV also play a significant role in our children's academic, personal development (or lack thereof). Studies also show that watching TV for hours daily can have a negative effect on a child's development. We must be diligent in filling our children's day with mental stimulation activites.

As parents and guardians, we must develop daily routines and rituals that helps our students development, academically as well as socially. Too many of our children lack the fundamental, academic skills to compete in today's everchanging economy. Thus, when they have a tremendous amount of time on their hands, it's imperative that we create environments and routines to keep them engaged.

The following are a few suggestions that Mr. Devante Sales (New ID Tutorial Services) and I developed to keep children engaged and mentally sharp during this 'corona vacation':

1. Provide structure to your supplementary education.

a. Develop a daily routine for your children and stick to it (be consistent). In order

for this to work, we must be consistent with our schedule. Now, of course, life

happens so be a little flexible. You may have a minor emergency come up during day

(ex. car repair). You can reschedule learning time later in the afternoon.

b. Ensure that you get at least 2 to 3 hours each day of academic learning.

Ex. 10 am to 12 noon & 2 pm to 3 pm; or 9 am to 11:30 am & 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm

c. Teach in 30 to 45 minute increments. Rotate subjects during those allotted time

slots. Also, incorporate breaks in between session.

Ex. 9 am to 9:30 am - Reading;

9:30 to 10 am - writing; 15 to 20 minute break (snack and recreation);

10:20 am to 11:00 am - Math;

11:00 am to 11:30 am History/Science/Georgraphy;

11:30 am to 12:30 pm - Lunch and free time;

12:30 pm to 1 pm - creative learning (puzzles, board games, checkers, etc.)

1 pm to 1:30 pm - Review of morning materials/Spelling/journal writing.

d. Stick to the fundamentals of learning - Reading/Phonics, writing, math (addition &

subtraction), spelling and language arts. Now, if you child has mastered the

fundamentals, you can implement additional subjects (i.e. social studies, history,

essay writing, science labs, music).

2. Find a grade level assessment for your child. Assessments are a great way to find out where your child is in various subjects and gives you a guide to know where to start in terms of teaching.

a. For example, if your child is in the 3rd grade, google math assessments, reading

assessments and phonic assessments. (i.e. websites, K5 Learning website & Math

Mammoth have assessments)

b. Don't worry about the source of the assessment, focus on the concepts that

your child is unable to do independently.

3. Use any educational, professional resources and organizations that are available - UUNIK Academy, New ID Tutorial Services, local churches, and afterschool organizations. We can assist you to develop a daily curriculum or can provide additional resources to help your children.

4. Ensure that your child is very fluent in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division (3rd graders and older). There's an epidemic of students are not fluent in these math skills, including middle and high school. You can use flash cards, games, and websites (i.e. xtramath.org, quizlet.com, worksheetfun.com)

5. Be creative when teaching.

a. Find creative ways to teach subjects. Incorporate visual and audio resources when instructing. For instance, you can use coins to learn how to count money as well as skip count by 5, 10 and 25. When learning parts of speech, you have your child name 10 nouns in your house. You can also have them display 10 verbs. Use puzzles, boardgames, card games apps, scrabble pieces (spelling words), chess, dominoes, etc.

6. Teach your children about money and personal finance. Too many youth are growing up without the knowledge and understanding of how to count coins and dollars.

a. Purchase books that deal financial literacy. Have your child read and

write a book report or perform an oral presentation.

b. Play Monopoly and Success (jaz-ehousegames.com) board game with your

children often.

c. Have your child learn how to count using pennies and skip count (count in multiples

of 5s, 10s, 25s) using coins. Once they have mastered them, mix up the coins and

have him/her add several coins up.

d. Sit down with your children and show them your monthly budget (if you have one).

Show them how much you have to pay each month and allow them to add up all the

household bills. Then give the monthly salary that you (and your spouse) earn each

7. Take time to teach certain life skills.

a. Teach your children how to prepare a meal (Breakfast, lunch and dinner).

b. Teach them how to perform household chores (washing, iron clothes, sweep, mop,

clean the bathrooms, vacuum the carpet, wash the car, and wash dishes).

c. Teach them how to speak socially, how to greet people, shake hands, how to ask

questions, how to resolve conflict, and to speak in public.

d. Teach them how to balance a checkbook, to write a check, how to change a flat

tire, check the engine oil, and how-to-grocery shop).

8. Stick to the fundamentals. Be consistent, repetition is the mother/father of learning. Remember, you don't have to teach no more than 2 to 3 hours daily. Find out what works for your family and stick to it.

If you want to learn more how to set up a curriculum and educate your child, attend our 2020 homeschool webinar - bit.ly/homeschoolknox.com

If you are in Knoxville and have a male child between the ages of 5 and 10, please consider signing him up for our STEAMI Summer Institute - www.uunikacademy.org/event


Youtube (young children)

Khan Academy Kids

Kids Learning tube


Story Bots

Tinga, Tinga

Bino & Fino


Hey Black Child - Useni Perkins

Llama, Llama Book Series - Anna Dewdney

Little Stevie Wonder - Quincy Troupe, Lisa Cohen

Pete the Cat Series - James Dean

My Daddy Loves Me - Baba Sekou Afrika

Juneteenth For Maizie - Floyd Cooper

Freedom Over Me by Ashley Bryan

I Am Loved - Nikki Giovanni

Max and the Tag-Along Moon - Floyd Cooper

Hidden Figures - Margot Lee Shetterly, Laura Freemen

Sulwe - Lupita Nyong'o, Vashti Harrison

When The World Was Black (Vol 1 & 2) - Supreme Understanding

Autobiography of Malcolm X - Alex Haley

Black Boy - Richard Wright

Assata - Assata Shakur

Richest Man in Babylon - George Clason

Rich Dad, Poor Dad - Robert Kiyosaki

The Everything Kids' Money Book - Brette McWhorter Sember

(YouTube Pages)

Earn Your Leisure

Black Fathers Now

UUNIK Conversations

HomeTeam History

Khan Academy


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