Help your child learn and remember by chunking.
Why chunk your child’s work and time?
Chunking is when you break down skills or knowledge into small, careful coaching steps that your student can learn and remember with a little effort. It is the same process a wise person uses when when they begin to exercise their overweight and unfit body. They plan for little, achievable, spurts of effort, and then a rest, rather than a marathon effort every exercise session. Motivation to exercise and the body’s level of fitness has to be built gently in small steps or we usually stop exercising. Your child’s motivation and level of fitness to learn has to be built gently and in small achievable steps too, so they continue to want to work with you.
As your children attempt to learn and remember new skills and information, imagine that you are walking alongside them up the learning hill at their pace, reassuring them, and walking up in small steps with them.
Chunking is when you break a task into smaller tasks and break time into smaller chunks of time. The time they spend on learning, and the amount they complete, will stretch as they stay more focused and gain confidence. For example, you could suggest, “let’s only read for 10 minutes” or “ let’s only do five of these Mathematics problems”.
When they can’t seem to stay focused to learn and remember – chunk more. Chunking amounts of time or the amounts of work helps support children who lose their concentration often, who don’t want to ‘do’ the work, and who are afraid of how hard the work is.
When they are reluctant to work with you – chunk more. Chunking time or amounts of work is particularly effective when coaching children who are afraid of failing and refuse to learn that skill or subject for very long. Often children who are reluctant to work are afraid they can’t learn and remember that particular skill, so they won’t spend much time, or take many risks, when learning and remembering that skill or subject.
When they have no confidence they can learn and remember a skill or subject – chunk more. They may have also developed a strong dislike and fear of that particular skill or subject. Their fear and dislike is based on their past experiences, and is real to them. You can help them learn and remember by chunking their work and time, and continuing to work with them gently, firmly, and with respect.
Chunking or breaking down the skill or knowledge into smaller pieces or amounts of time can encourage your child to use more effort to learn and remember it because it isn’t forever. They know they only have to work for that short amount of time or that short amount of work. I say to reluctant writers for example, “You can only write 10 minutes.” If they are reluctant to write 10 minutes break it down even smaller to 5 minutes or take turns writing. Check out this post on ways to help your child without fights. You are the one who can help them stay steady – and continue to walk through their fear and dislike to mastery of a particular skill or knowledge. You are the one who can get them regularly practising skills so that they learn and remember them more easily, and master them.
My next post will talk more on how to chunk. You will enjoy working with your children more when you break down their homework, or reading or Maths practice, or any other skill they need to learn, into small digestible pieces.
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3 thoughts on “Chunking. A better way to help your child learn and remember.”
I enjoyed reading this. I actually am finding myself giving my sons teacher help on how to help him. Our educators need more training especially for special education students who are in regular education classrooms. His teacher seems clueless at times.
I’m going to use this for my talking, wording and stuff…
It’s been a real problem. There are a few things about myself that needs to get fixed… Chunking… Why I didn’t I think of that.
Its a real help; thank you!
Chunking is magic Chad.