Prompts can be very helpful in teaching, homeschooling, and parenting. I found this really great article to share with you all about 9 ways to use prompts for children on the autism spectrum, or any children!
It would have gone better if I had known how to use prompts...
Seven sets of eyes stared widely at me as I told the story of Moses. Some of the children sat on their knees, some sat criss-cross-applesauce -we called it "Indian style" back then, but I'm told that's not politically correct nowadays. The children were quiet and attentive. Their wide eyes suggested that they were thoroughly engrossed in the story, but what came next revealed what was really going on inside their little brains.
I ended the story and started the review. "Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. Who led the Israelites out of Egypt?" Blank stares... I try again, "Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. Who led the Israelites out of Egypt?" Hooray! One hand goes up. "Um... My uncle has a boat and I'm going to go on it today." O... kay... Time to color.
I was a freshman in college when I volunteered to be a preschool VBS teacher. It had been at least twelve years since I was a preschooler who never went to preschool, I rarely babysat, and I was the youngest in my family so I really had no experience with preschoolers to speak of. I loved the Bible though, and was excited for the opportunity to share it with the children. Unfortunately, those preschoolers probably didn't learn much from me that week.
Looking back I think: I should have used more visuals, hand motions, or props to engage them in the story. I should have had them repeat key words and phrases, let them act out the story. I should have use prompts! I could have said, "His name starts with an M. It starts like this: 'Mmmoooosss...'" If I had thought to use pictures, I could have pointed at a picture of him, or taught them a motion. Instead, I just read the story and got blank stares.
Now that I've been a teacher for several years these things are almost second nature to me. I use prompts in my teaching all the time. With my own kids I use prompts to help them learn without feeling too pressured or discouraged. I don't expect my kids to get the answers right the first time. Instead, I use prompts to help them and review until they know the answers without being prompted.
Prompts can also help in parenting. For example, I have three signs in the bathroom that say, "Please flush." Do the signs work? Well, that's debatable. Timers are another favorite prompt I use in parenting. I use timers to teach taking turns, getting chores done quickly, and hygiene training like teeth brushing and sitting on the toilet long enough for something to come out. Chore charts, eye gestures, and even common questions like, "Are your hands where they're supposed to be?" are all examples of prompts that can be using in parenting.
So how about you? Are there other ways you use prompts in your teaching, parenting, or homeschooling?