Well, I did it again.
We’re at the beach having a fun and wonderful couple of days with lots of sun, surf, good food and family, and I left my brain at home.
I stayed up late Tuesday night working on my 4 Moms post so that I could be ahead of the game and have Wednesday free to play, and guess what I did: I did the wrong 4 Moms topic. So now I’m really ahead of the game because next week’s post is ready, but I can’t go play with my friends until this week’s chores are done.
We’re going to tell you a little about homeschooling the “different” or challenging child. We don’t have any diagnosed disabilities in our household, though I have to admit I wonder every now and then. Is it really that hard to keep your bedroom clean? Maybe they do have a problem. Is there a name for a disorder that prevents one from seeing a mess and cleaning it up, like the opposite of OCD? Cleaning Preventative Syndrome? Oblivious Disorder? I think we have that.
But while we don’t have any official learning disorders, I do suspect that at least one of our children is mildly dyslexic, and some have simply been ready later than others. We have dealt with this mainly by relaxing. There is no need for them to learn on a schedule, so long as their minds are active and growing. If a child is struggling with a concept, we put it aside and work on something else for a time. That “something else” may or may not be related to the struggle, but when we are ready to revisit the struggle, we often find that it goes much differently.
This has been the case with reading for several of our children. None have read before the age of 6 1/2, and some have not read fluently until 9 or 10, but all so far are voracious readers. It’s important in these cases to read aloud with and to the child so that learning can continue and his/her vocabulary can continue to grow – audio books are wonderful too – but in our experience no damage has been done by waiting a bit until she’s ready to fly when it comes to reading.
Another thing I have learned over the years is to work with a child’s learning style rather than forcing her to conform to my own. The Way They Learn by Cynthia Tobias was very helpful to me back in those early years, and now I am constantly analyzing my children in terms of learning style.
When a child learns very differently from her teacher, I think this can sometimes be perceived as a disability rather than just a difference. My mom, who homeschooled 14 children, thinks this has a lot to do with why so many boys are diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. They are simply more active and have a different learning style than girls, which makes them harder for a female teacher to deal with.
As one small example, Mom found that a particularly high-energy brother of mine did much better on his school if she allowed him stand next to the table rather than making him sit.
With one of my more active girls, I found that her memory work came much more easily if I allowed her to fidget or even stand on one foot as she recited. After initially trying to make her stand still like a proper young lady, I asked myself why I was making it harder for her. She knew how to stand still when it was necessary; why not let her work the way that her brain preferred? She no longer does this, but remembers those times as fun rather than frustrating. I like that.
My most talkative children learn best if they are allowed and encouraged to use their superpower (talking), and I don’t fight that. We try not to let them be disruptive to those around them, but we allow them to talk about what they are learning, realizing that they process new concepts better while they are chatting away.
Math is another area where learning style has a huge impact on how they learn. Some children need to understand how and why a process works before they can effectively use it, while others just want to know what to do next. Once they have the steps down, then they can begin to understand what is happening and why. It took me years to admit that both approaches are valid and stop forcing my own learning style on my students. Some of us are born speaking math, while others struggle long and hard to learn the language.
And now, I’m off to the beach. Over and out.
The other moms are talking about it too:
- June 9 – 4 Moms Naptime linky
- June 2 – 4 Moms talk about church
- May 26 – 4 Moms Q&A: toothbrushes, internet filters, taming the stuff monster
- May 19 – 4 Moms try to lose the baby weight
- May 12 – 4 Moms practice hospitality, and YOU are invited!
- May 5 – 4 Moms talk about you-know-what
- April 28 – 4 Moms Q&A: sleep, exercise, and making do with one bathroom
- April 21 – Large families & church, part 2: keeping them quiet
- April 14 – Eating inexpensively on the road
- April 7 – 4 Moms teach history
- March 24 – Large families & church, part 1: getting there on time
- March 17 – Bread baking linky
- March 10 – Spring cleaning
- March 3 – Books for early readers
- February 24 – 4 Moms Q&A: my first audio blog on potty training and more
- February 17 – Individual time with children: scary stuff here. Just kidding. Let go of the guilt.
- February 10 – Cooking with little ones without losing your sanity
- February 3 –Teaching reading, because it’s so much easier than teaching them to use the toilet. Do not request a 4 Moms post about potty training, do you hear me?
- January 27 – Q&A: Must-have baby equipment and other nitty gritty stuff
- January 20 – Top 10 Books for Preschoolers
- January 13 – Soups and Stews
- January 6 – Teaching Bible