Helping Our Kids Learn From Home: How To Build Problem Solving Skills

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By Lirika Hart

July 20, 2020

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Helping Our Kids Learn From Home: How To Build Problem Solving Skills

Most education systems are built around facts, formulas, and functions. Kids are taught to memorize tons of content, but they aren’t adequately prepared to tackle real-life challenges using the knowledge they acquire in school. That is why most of us don’t understand the world we live in, how to live with the people around us, or how to make the best out of the environment we grow in.

The Raspberry Foundation has been issuing schools with Raspberry Pi 4 units, and other Raspberry devices, in an effort aimed at motivating teachers to adopt teaching methods that actually prepare learners for the future world. The raspberry microcomputers also encourage kids to take on projects that impact the world around them in a positive way.  Since COVID-19 has disrupted the previous school year and will drastically change this year’s school year, many will be teaching their children at home more than ever before. There are many things to teach our children, including problem-solving skills.

Hopefully, today’s kids will have better problem-solving skills than the kids of yesteryears (the adults of today). However, that is not to mean that you should sit and wait for your kids to change the world for you. You need to teach yourself the art of solving problems.

Basically, anything that is too hard for you to understand or accomplish, be it a task or a situation, can be defined as a problem in your perspective. Problem-solving needs will crop up around you any time, so you must prepare for it, say by signing up for a problem-solving class. Another way would be by cultivating the ability to solve problems. Here are 4 steps that will help you to build problem-solving skills at home:

1. Make it a habit to deconstruct problems

Before you react to a situation or task, learn to start by identifying the nature of the problem. Take an example of a common at-home problem: Your son has become extremely rebellious of late. Now, before you blame it on drugs, peer pressure, or poor parenting on the side of your co-parent, first break the problem down. Deconstruct it to its roots. Erase the thought that your son is out of control, and instead go back to where it all began. When did he start changing? Who came to or left his life just about the same time when he started changing? Where could the change of behavior have stemmed from? Exactly how big is the change of behavior and how is it affecting his life? Could age be a factor in behavioral change? All these questions will help you deconstruct the problem before setting out to remedy it.

2. Identify the solution and the potential barriers

Now that you know what the root causes of the problem are, it is time to lay down strategies on how to get the right solution. For optimal success, you need to come up with multiple possible solutions, and then pick the most effective one. However, you need to understand that there isn’t any solution without barriers; the solution might be clear to you, but removing the barriers and eventually getting to it is the real test.

In the case of a rebellious son, you may have to deal with the barrier of the generational gap. You are old, he is young, and you see the world differently. How you saw the world when you were his age is different from how the world is right now. Another barrier would be you as a person. Maybe he is getting the behavior from how you’ve been treating him, meaning that you have to change and make him trust that you really have changed, but then you are afraid that changing will make you look weak in his eyes. Point is, there will always be sacrifices to be made, hard decisions to be made, and some changes to be effected in order to clear potential barriers to an identified solution.

3. Try to find simpler paths to the solution

Don’t make the problem bigger than it is. Within the barriers you identified, are there any obvious solutions that can get some of the barriers out of the way? Is there a way you can flip things around to get a better, more effective approach? When answering these questions, you have to use a language that creates possibility and positivity. For example, what happens if you take your rebellious child to a therapist? What if you involve his favorite auntie or uncle? What if you go on vacation together and discuss everything while there? Toy with different ideas and play multiple scenarios in your head before deciding on how to approach the problem. Developing a step-by-step execution plan.

4. Now focus on the solution

Now forget about the problem and focus on the solutions; create a solution-oriented mindset. If you focus on the problem, you are likely to get emotional, and the emotions might block your path to the defined solution. Just put all your efforts into executing the action plan, monitoring and evaluating the execution process every step of the way. Don’t stop until the goal is achieved. If one solution fails, try a different one from steps 2 and 3, but don’t go back to the emotions of step 1.

Final thoughts

Problems are never easy, fun, or easy to understand. You should always be prepared to lose, but you must never lose your focus on the eventual goal. It is through persistence and patience that you will find the best solutions to the worst problems.

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