Monday, April 17, 2017

When He Can't Learn: 5 Tips on Homeschooling with Special Learners (5 days of...)



This week I’ve chosen to talk about SIMPLE Homeschooling ideas for when  you are facing complications.

Now I’m not about to throw 422 points and solutions at you. I GOT NO TIME FOR THAT! What I am going to do is give you 5 (Just 5) Tips that have worked for me. They might be oversimplifying things. They might not directly deal with your particular need. HOWEVER, use what you can and stuff the rest in your closet.

Actually. Don’t do that. If your closet is anything like mine….

Today I want to talk about those homeschooling when you have those special kiddos who might learn differently than others. In fact, you might just wonder if they ever learn anything at all.



Or  you might have clicked on the title of this blog post ready to "let me have it."  You understand that no matter how the great the challenge your child is LEARNING.

Amen, sistah...Or brother. Your child IS learning. It might be slower. Your homeschool days might be filled with wailing and gnashing of teeth.

But there is learning going on! But remember how it felt when you didn't know what to do? Or where to turn next?

Now, my son is dyslexic, has dysgraphia and has dyscalculia. He also has ADHD.

I have had just a few years to bang my head on my prettily set table work out a few things. I want to share a few of those things with you.

Tip #1 – Don’t Try and Eat the Elephant All at Once – It Takes TIME

Huh? You’ve heard that age old question. How Do You Eat an Elephant? The answer is: one bite at a time. We are in a marathon here, my friends. Not a sprint. Nobody is coming to evaluate today. You need to set long term goals, but don’t panic if you don’t see results in the short term. Take a deep breath and make a plan. Work that plan. But don’t despair if you don’t see results in YOUR time.

Tip #2 - Label Much? Be Careful.

Using labels can be controversial in the special needs community. On one hand you NEED to know what you are up against. You need to know what path or direction to take. What kinds of helps are available? What do I need to look for? How can I most help my child? AND you need to be armed to try and explain some of these difficulties to family and friends. This is most helpful when you have a overeager relative (who isn't quite a fan of you homeschooling in the first place) ready to drill your child with multiplication tables or obscure historical facts. If you have a child who is on the spectrum you might have to education family members about why your child has certain behaviors. In this regard it is important to have a "label."

On the other hand, we don't want to tie our children down with these labels. "You won't be able to do this because....You can't do this because...." I have found that the label makes it easier for me to find a solution, but it doesn't mean I expect any less than what I believe Josiah is capable off.  Now that Josiah is older he is able to understand some of those issues he has struggled with AND it helps him take greater joy in what he has accomplished. BUT (and this is a big one), it doesn't mean that he gets to be a slacker. If you have teenager YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!

Tip #3 - Pick Your Battles

There are going to be many. Just chose the ones that are worth fighting for. I decided many years ago that my house would be one of peace. I was not going to be the adversary. On a practical matter, I decided that because Josiah was dyslexic that we would leave the reading for reading instruction only. I read aloud history, science…even math. We used (and still use) read alouds for free reading. Some of those things that I imagined in my head would be wonderful to teach my son (like Latin and Basket Weaving) were just not going to make it on the list of important things.

Tip #4 - Don't Expect a "One Size Fits" All Solution
This is so important. Just because the curriculum says it will cure all your woes doesn't mean that "it will cure all your woes." In fact, there isn't a perfect curriculum for any student. We have to make it our own. That being said, there are curriculums and programs that work better for some kids. We have always enjoyed a more eclectic style of homeschooling. Finding out what works best for you is a matter of trail and error.

This is where your Super Powers come in. You will need a whole lot of patience and tenacity. You will need to read and research. You will need to let some expectations go and pick up some new ones. I am a big proponent of using what I have and have access to. Because I am a curriculum reviewer this means I have access to quite a lot of great stuff. It's not always a great fit for us, but I chose to make it so. I might shorten lessons or work through the curriculum at a slower rate. I might even skip certain parts altogether. I have been able to add more independent work as Josiah has gotten older, however, there is still a lot of teaching and instruction he requires. This is what I signed up for. I'm in it for the long haul.


Tip #5 – Live a Life. Focus on the JOY

Take advantage of your daily life to help your kiddo learn. We bought Josiah a watch with an analog face when he had trouble telling time. We have him keep money in his wallet so he is forced to count change when he wants to purchase something. He gets to email his friends and cousins (via a secure email) so that he can learn to express himself with written words without a momma’s interference. He has chores he is responsible for every single day.

When things get hairy and something seems too difficult to learn we bring out the board games, go on a nature walk or find another way to grab a hold of that thing. He gets follow interests like music, swimming and video games. He even contributes to our church by vacuuming every week. My point is that we need to fill our kiddos lives with things that will provide confidence and help them function successfully in the real world. Josiah’s identity is not wrapped up in how he reads or learns math.

Shew. Hopefully, I’ve given you nugget to bite on.




Below you will find a few resources you can check out.  If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.



Growing Hands-On Kids - this blog is a treasure trove of hands activities for any kids. She has a great section for special needs. I LOVE this article on how to help with handwriting difficulties in the elementary-aged child.

Got a Fidgety Bidget? A few years ago I created these Brain Breaks to help me give my own Fidgety Bidget some time to wiggle it out. The link will take you to google drive. Just print them off and laminate. I like to keep ours in a small plastic container. Through the course of your schooling time have your child/children draw one out and do whatever is on the card.

 A Simple Spiral bound notebook. You heard me right. This might be the greatest tool invented in the history of man. Besides contacts. And air-conditioning. And chocolate ice cream with peanut butter chunks. We use spiral bound notebooks for all manner of things. I use them to record Josiah's assignment lists so he can mark them off when he completes them. He has one he can doodle in while we are listening to an audio book. He has one he can take to church and doodle in while the sermon is being preached. Listen. This is not taking away anything from his Daddy's preaching. Josiah can actually pay attention better while he hands are busy. I won't insult your intelligence by linking to one on Amazon. You know where to find them CHEAP.

I am going to talk more about this later on in the series, but you MUST utilize audio products you have a struggling reader. I can't remember when, but I reviewed a science curriculum on astronomy from Apologia and this time around they had sent me an audio CD. It CHANGED. THINGS. This link will take you to some of those products.

Games and More Games! They will teach in ways that you can't. For educational online games we liked Reading Eggs and Read, Write & Type. Most board games have some kind of educational value. Don't discount those for teaching concepts.

Don't miss any of the FANtabulous posts my friends on The Crew have written. You will be blessed!



5 Days of Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017

2 comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...