Homeschooling and a Difficult Subject
One of the advantages I have truly noticed about homeschooling is that when something is difficult to understand for my daughter, we can slow down and sometimes even stop. A couple of my main goals with her is that she is confident and enjoys learning new things. She will be doing it her whole life. And I figure if I can give her that positive reinforcement, that she will confidently want to learn new things even if they are sometimes hard.
Here are a few things I try when a subject is giving her trouble and I notice that she isn’t moving forward.
Find out how your child learns – does your child learn by listening, or by doing? Do they like to be in groups or by themselves? How about the type of work, do they like worksheets or activities? Finding these out can make a whole world of difference in how your homeschool days flow or doesn’t flow. Just by finding out what type of learner my daughter is has saved many, many long frustrating days.
Slow down, stop or even back up – there have been a few times, especially when we restart after a longer than expected break that we have had to back up a few steps. We are in the middle of a backup right now in math. She was doing great before a long break to visit family and when she got home, she seemed to have lost her confidence. So, I backed her up and am making math sheets that cover that information in smaller increments. It will take a few weeks to get her back to where she was before but when she does, we will have no tears (hers or mine) and she will have confidence that she can do it.
Try teaching another way – this is all on mom and dad. Sometimes this isn’t easy, you have to do research, looking into different ways something can be taught. It can be done, there are great resources online and even checking into homeschool groups in our area. Someone has probably come across your same issue and has come up with a great idea that can help.
They are not you – they may look like you, act like you, but they are not you. Just because you remember that it was easy for you, doesn’t mean it’s easy for them. They are their own person.
Give support/Don’t criticize – when learning something new that is hard (or at least hard to them) the last thing they need is criticism. Support them, you learn better when you feel good about yourself.
Give examples of when they overcame before – what else in their young lives have they had a challenge with? Think back on these things and remind them that they have overcome obstacle before, might take time, but they’ll get there.
Let someone else teach – Some time just having someone else do something is enough to get them going. I know, I have been there. When my daughter was learning to read, she just stumbled when I tried to help her. When my husband took over, she flourished. I don’t know why, that’s just what happened.
If all else fails – put it away – I’m not saying to throw it in the garbage to never to be seen again. Just put it to the side. Try something else, maybe even let them pick. You aren’t stopping, just changing gears. Sometimes doing well in a similar area can give a shot of confidence to get yo back on track.
I don’t know if these will work for everybody. Every child is different and has different needs. What are some things you do to help your child through a difficult patch?