Laerskool  De Vrije Zee  Primary School         


Language, Mathematics and Study Skills


"Parents are their child’s first teacher."  "Let's make education better together."

Did your child READ, COMMUNICATE and WRITE today?"

What you can do to help your child develop language skills:

Here are some tips to assist your child:

  • Set aside time in which to talk about school.
  • Encourage eye contact in order to help him concentrate on what is being said.
  • Keep alive your child's natural curiosity by answering questions fully.
  • Develop a love for reading by regularly visiting the library, helping to choose books your child will enjoy and making your home a reader.-friendly environment.
  • Read your child a story every night before bed.
  • Develop a love for story-telling. Tell family stories and encourage him to tell stories about his own experiences. Ask questions about the stories.
  • Ask him questions. Find out how he feels and what he thinks.
  • Give books as presents.
  • Make your child conscious of the alphabet. ("Is this a 'b' or a 'd'?").
  • Help your child to read words ("What is the name on this label?").
  • Increase your child's vocabulary by 5 to 10 words every day.
  • Watch the film or television programme so that you can discuss it with your child.  Discuss the characters, plot, setting and theme. Ask their opinion and encourage them to justify their answers.

If you do not speak English, what can you do at home for your child?

  • Arrange for your child to speak or correspond with a relative who speaks the target language.
  • Encourage your child to tell you each day, in his or her home language, what he or she learned in the language.
  • Borrow books, comics, music, videotapes and DVDs in the target language from the library.
  • Look for interesting Web sites in the target language that you can view with your child.Listen to a cultural radio show or CD.
  • Reinforce topics learned in class, such as food names or rooms of the house, by asking your child to identify familiar objects.
  • Encourage your child to tell stories in the target language.
  • Have your child write the grocery list by copying in the target language names from labels.
  • Have your child list in the target language the foods of the evening meal.
  • Encourage friends and relatives to support your child’s language learning with gifts of music or books.
  • Adopt a friend/grandparent in the neighbourhood who could read and speak with your child in this language.
  • Investigate after-school care with someone who could reinforce this language learning.
  • Have a bilingual picture dictionary at hand.

If you do speak English, what can you do at home for your child.

  • Serve as a role model for reading and writing:

– sing songs and rhymes with your child, emphasizing similarities and differences in sounds

– use flash cards to review and practice vocabulary with your child; make a game out of it

– create fun projects, such as illustrating cards, scrap-booking (the family, vacation fun, summer activities), family shows (puppetry, plays)

– use the language to create posters

– Build partnerships with other parents to provide positive interactions for children.

Creative Writing tips/examples

  • Encourage your child to write ‘thank you’ notes
  • Create their own cards for birthdays, special days and special occasions.
  • Children must write their own poems to help them to express themselves better.


“Parents are their child’s first teacher,”

"Let's make education better together. Did your child read, write and practice MATHS today?"

Parents' Guide

What you can do to assist your child with Mathematics? Instill a Love of Math  -  Show them how MATHS can be FUN!!!

Here are some helpful tips on why and how to instill a love of math in your children.

  1. Parents should try to set aside their distaste for math and encourage their children as much as possible.
  2. Avoid talking negatively about math, even if you have no need for trigonometry in your daily life. “A lot of people will only joke that they cannot do math or announce publicly, ‘I’m not a math person.’ When a parent does that in front of a child, it suggests that math’s is not important.”
  3. If your child believes that math doesn’t really matter, he’s not going to be as open to learn. “Attitude has everything to do with learning. You can’t make anyone learn. If a child has learned not to love math, if they don’t love math, and aren’t willing to learn, you have to deal with that first.”

Play Games  -  Playing games is a great family activity.

With so many facts and figures to memorize and apply to math problems, children learn early that math is something that requires work.

That doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun; keep the pleasure in math by playing games with your children. Many games, even the ones adults play, rely on math.

Flexing Math Muscles

As they grow, kids will learn that they are willing to work hard at something they love. It may just be math. Either way, remember that your child does not have to excel at math to enjoy it. “It doesn’t matter if they’re good, it matters whether they like it.”

Here are some more useful tips on how you can support your child in math:

View road trips as a mobile classroom. Turn “Are we there yet?” into a learning opportunity – a  way to understand distance and time.

Use everyday errands as learning opportunities. “We review numbers while we choose groceries, for example, adding the quantity of apples, looking at prices to reinforce decimals and even doing simple number recognition while standing in line.”

Always have notes from class, a textbook or other resources right next to a homework paper. If your child gets stuck, she is likely to find a similar problem in one of these resources that can help her move forward.

Ensure the student takes responsibility for her own learning by finding assistance independently; the ability to access help on your own is essential for student success in all areas of academics.

Never give children the answers to problems! By giving away answers, you’re depriving your child of the chance to develop the mental processes required to learn a new concept.

Encourage your child to underline or highlight key words or phrases in situational problems, as these often help students set up a solution.

Realize that your child may struggle with abstract concepts if his or her brain is not quite ready to reason at an abstract level. Your child’s brain will mature in time, and success in math class is likely to accompany this development.

Maths at our house  -  Home is where the Maths is....How you can raise awareness and share mathematics using everyday experiences and resources found around your home. It includes ideas for supporting your children’s learning in all areas of mathematics, geometry, measurement, statistics, algebra and numbers.

Cooking: figuring

Cooking provides plenty of opportunities to do some “figuring out” for children.Increasing and decreasing: If you need to double a recipe, (or increase it by 3x, or 1 ½ x or 10x) you can ask your child to figure out how much of each thing is needed now. You can do the same if you need to halve a recipe or only mix up half of a packet of something. 

Cooking: measuring

There are many different types of measurement included in cooking, including cups, teaspoons, tablespoons, millilitres, litres, grams, kilograms. Older children can learn about the equivalencies between measures such as 250 ml = 1 cup or 16 tablespoons = 1 cup or 1000g = 1 kg. Discuss how important it is to be exact when measuring. Why do your measurements need to be more accurate when you are baking than when you are making a stir-fry?

Maths at our house: Calendars

Calendars are an inexpensive resource that can support your child’s learning of several key ideas related to time. Calendars are a way of learning the names of the months, days of the week and learning about the structure of a week, a month and a year. The learning about time takes lots of practice and the more experiences a child has the more likely these concepts will be strengthened. Calendars go on sale very quickly after the New Year and you can also get them at discount shops or can make them on the computer.

The family calendar

1. Family Days: Sit with your child and record on a calendar or give them a list of the family days that are celebrated every year and ask them to record. This could be birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries. Each date can be found and the person’s name written on the calendar square or a sticker added to the box. Ask your child to look at the name of the month, what came before what comes next, and the day of the week that the date occurs on.

The Family Calendar can be hung up at a child’s eye height so they can check it regularly and be given responsibility for turning over the new page when the first of the month happens. Ask your child to practice with you by naming the order of days and months.        

2. Special Dates: When the school or team newsletters come home ask your child to record the dates you need to remember on the calendar, like when netball starts, when school camp happens, when the disco is, or when the term ends or begins

Maths at our house: shopping

A trip to the supermarket is a perfect opportunity to do some maths together no matter what the age your children. There is the opportunity to:

  • compare prices and talk about “more than” and “less than”
  • to add, subtract, divide and multiply
  • and talk about the shapes and sizes of items as well.Comparison shopping and budgeting is a way to support the development of financial literacy and reading labels is a way for children to use their knowledge of percentages and weights within the context of reading charts and tables.

Making good decisions based on understanding maths in a real life context is what numeracy is about.

Maths at our house: watching sport together

Distances, times, scores… sport is filled with numbers! Whether you are watching sport on TV, reading the sports pages in the newspaper, or checking scores on the internet there are lots of opportunities to explore the results and statistics together with your child. Research shows that when children are working in maths contexts that interest them, they do better. Sport is a way to put some maths thinking and practice into a time you spend together.

Keeping Score

Some sporting and recreational activities provide lots of opportunities for some maths practice. Games like Mini-Putt or bowling have score cards that need to be kept and you can ask your child to add and subtract and help keep score. Praise your child when they do a good job keeping score as well as when they make a good shot.

“Hey that’s 3 more points! How many now? Great job adding that so quickly” or “I have noticed that you paired all the 2s with 3s and then counted in 5s. Clever idea!”

Maths at our house: clocks

Time is a challenging concept for children and yet sometimes it’s easy to take this skill for granted as an adult. If a child’s life is very structured they may have few opportunities to tell the time or learn about it because everyone tells them where they need to be and when!

Learning about time has different components:

  • noticing time and telling the time
  • living with schedules and figuring out problems involving time. There are lots of places that clocks and timers appear in our lives:
  • Watches
  • Phones
  • Clocks – digital and traditional (analogue)
  • Timers – microwave, DVD, cooking, egg timer. Noticing Time and telling time.
  • Draw your children’s attention to the clocks and timers around them. "Look it’s 7 o’clock or Look the numbers are going backwards on the microwave or Can you see a clock in this place (such as a shop, library, train station)?
  • Challenge your child to find all the things that tell the time and count the time in your house.
  • Note all the names we have for time: the day, the month, morning, night, evening, afternoon, tea-time, summer, midnight etc.        

Telling Time

  1. Support your children with learning to tell time. Having their own watch or phone is a sign of maturity and that they are ready to take responsibility for being places on time.
  2. Ask what time it is often and support them in reading the time. If it’s digital ask them to describe what that would look like on the clock face. This skill takes a lot of practice and you can add to the practice they get at school by encouraging them to look at clocks and read them for you. (a) Is it PAST the hour or coming up TO the hour? (b) How many many minutes to what hour? Or how many many minutes past what hour?
  3. Encourage them to move back and forth between digital and traditional clocks.It’s quarter to 9. That’s the same as 8:45.         

Measuring lengths and amounts

Gardening is a rich experience to practice measuring. The garden provides opportunities to measure:

  • length (centimeters between seeds or plants, metres for rows or fences) The packet tells us these need to be planted 5 cm apart. How far is that?If we plant these 12 strawberry plants 30 cm apart, how long will the row need to be? Do we have enough room? It says this tree grows 4-8 metres tall and needs full sun. Where’s the best place to put it do you think?
  • area (square metres for planting, paths, or bricks) For this potato patch we need 12 square metres. What size of rectangles could we make? It says this paint will cover 10 square metres. Is that enough for the whole fence?
  • volume (litres for liquid or cubic metres for bark and soil) We used 3 cubic metres of bark for this part. How much do you think we’ll need for that that part? How could we work it out? This bucket holds 20 litres, and the wheelbarrow holds 65 l. How many buckets will fill up the wheelbarrow?

In addition - You can also help your child and your teacher by:

  • ensuring your child arrives at school on time.
  • ensuring your child obtains exercise books and any other relevant books in the first week of school.
  • checking that your child has read, written and practiced maths every day.
  • ensure that your child has adequate exercise and sleep
  • checking your child's exercise books regularly.
  • appreciating the importance of homework; discussing your child's progress with the teacher (Your school should provide you with an assessment plan at the beginning of the year and a formal progress report at the end of each term.); and
  • ensuring your child attends school every day for the 200 days of the school year. 


Start Studying in School

Studying for tests and quizzes actually starts way before you even know you'll have a test. Good study techniques begin in the classroom as you write notes into your workbook. Note-taking is a way of remembering what you were taught or what you've read about.

It is important that your child knows how to study. Study skills are essential to a successful school year.  Children must study so that they can be better prepared for the many tests they'll be faced with. As a parent, it is your job to know how to instill these all-important study skills in your child. Here are a few tips to help your child improve their study habits and ultimately their grades.

  • Make sure that your child completes all homework assignments. Studying should be a higher priority than any other activity (watching TV, talking with friends on the phone, extracurricular activities, etc.). Reduce these other activities if a child has too many commitments outside of homework and studying.
  • Make homework and studying easier for your child to complete.  Give your child a choice in when, where and how they complete assignments. Encourage your child to ask questions when they don't understand something. Set aside some time for your child to share their learning with you, and be there to provide assistance when you're needed. Support and praise your child when they complete homework assignments. Never use homework as a form of punishment.
  • Take good care of your child. Your child can't study efficiently when they aren't functioning at 100%. Make sure your child gets plenty of rest and exercise, along with providing them with healthy foods. Take care of those basic needs so your child can give their all to studying.
  • Have all of the necessary supplies on hand. Make sure that items like paper, notebooks, files, pens, pencils, erasers, resource books, a calculator, rulers, and glue are easy to find and use. It is a waste of time when your child has to go searching for supplies when they could be focused on their studies.
  • Always have your child take short breaks when they are studying. It has been proven that short bursts of concentration repeated frequently are more effective than one long session of concentration. Your child's brain needs recovery and recharging time. Those rest periods allow the brain to assimilate any new information learned. Studying for hours on end is not only boring, it also fatigues and stresses your child's body and mind.
  • Know your child's learning style and help them to study in a way that matches that style. A learning style is a way of learning. The preferred learning style is the way a person learns best. There are three learning styles: auditory, visual, and tactile. Auditory learners learn best by hearing new information. If your child is an auditory learner, have them listen to audio tapes or read new information aloud when studying. Visual learners learn best by seeing new information, either in written format or in pictures. A visual child could try taking notes from textbooks or creating mental pictures when studying new information. Tactile (kinesthetic) learners learn best in hands-on settings. They like to physically manipulate things when learning.
  • Help your child study for tests. Help your child to develop possible test questions as they prepare for upcoming exams. Quiz your child on the material that will be coming up on future tests. Do this in a friendly manner however. Never act hostile or frustrated when your child doesn't answer all of your questions correctly. (Also refer to the article on Blooms’ Taxonomy, which encourages higher order thinking skills – this has been placed on our website.)
  • Set study goals. Before your child begins working on an assignment or studying, help them to decide on how to approach the task and how much effort is needed to do the task well. For example, when working on a homework assignment your child's goal could be to complete all of the assigned questions by using notes and a textbook within 20 minutes. For studying, your child's goal might be to study for an uninterrupted 25 minutes by creating and answering study questions made from notes and text readings.
  • Get your child organized. Get a wall or desk calendar and mark down future test dates to stay on top of things. (Also refer to our School Assessment Plan which was handed out at the beginning of this term).
  • Talk about tests with your child. Talk about upcoming tests. Talking about a test beforehand can be a stress reliever many times. Talk about past tests also. Talk about both the successes and problem areas found on completed tests. Encourage your child to do better if a test didn't go so well. Encourage your child to do well on future tests, but don't pressure him or her. Avoid statements like, "If you don't get a perfect score on this next test you're going to be punished." This will only make the situation even more stressful. Review completed tests with your child. Go over any mistakes and make sure they understand what went wrong. Reviewing old tests will allow them to improve in the future.
  • Track your child's progress. Think about graphing your child's grades to show progress over the school year. Don't rely on report cards and progress reports alone. Take the initiative to follow your child's successes and failures before you get a big surprise on a report card.

Many Ways to Study

Encourage students to try many ways of studying to find those that work best for their individual learning styles.

* practice with flashcards;

* ask someone to quiz you;

* read;

* reread;

* highlight your notes;

* summarize;

* read your notes;

* read your notes aloud;

* organize your papers so you are working with everything you need;

* outline or make a graphic version of written work (lists, columns, mind maps, etc.);

* do a project;

* quiz yourself;

* write memory work over and over until you feel confident;

* use a worksheet as a quiz by covering over the answers and re-doing it;

* look over old tests and try to figure out why you're making mistakes;

* look up the parts of the assignments that you didn't understand the first time.  

  • Encouraging your children to develop good study habits from an early age is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. By demonstrating to your children that it is important to value education and to work hard, you will help them develop a life-long love of learning and put them on the right path for future career success and happiness. The skills and values your children pick up from you will allow them to blossom into independent, self-motivated achievers.


Review/organize/rewrite handouts from the teacher. If the teacher took the time to copy something, she thinks you need to know it. Take a look at all of the handouts the teacher gave you. Do you understand them? 

Know the definition of all vocabulary words and concepts, etc. that have been introduced since the last test. These are the highlighted words found in the text book.  Write down all of these words and be sure to include any word that your teacher takes the time to define for you, as well.

Memorize. You will be amazed at how much information you know after organizing your notes and looking for important words. Still, sometimes you must buckle down and commit things to memory.   

Routine is important. 

- Establish a routine for meals, bedtime and study/homework.

- Provide books, supplies, and a special place for studying. Encourage the child to "ready" himself for studying (refocus  attention and relax).

- Offer to study with the child periodically (call out spelling words or do flash cards).

An established study routine is very important, especially for younger children. If a child knows, for example, that he is expected to do homework immediately after supper prior to watching television, he will be better able to adjust and ready himself than if he is allowed to do homework any time he pleases.  

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