This post is part of a 5 day blog series titled “How Do I Teach A Reluctant Learner”, part of a community “How Do I Teach…” event generously hosted by The Enchanted Homeschooling Mom. I love her and you will, too! Please visit EHM’s website to see all of the titles in this amazing 5 day series.
I’ve been a homeschooling mom for thirteen years. Thirteen wonderful, magical, terrific, yet sometimes frustrating years. There have been a few times over the years in which a child has displayed a real reluctance to learn. This reluctance can manifest itself as distraction or annoyance; every now and again it even leads to temper tantrums and tears.
When I hit a roadblock like this I step back and run through my checklist:
1. Is this material too advanced or too easy?
This one is pretty self-explanatory. You know your child best, you know what he or she is capable of and when they need a little push. Is your child frustrated because they need more assistance, they aren’t ready yet, or because they are bored? When in doubt put the assignment away until you & your child have calmed down. THIS WILL BE THE TOPIC OF DAY 2
2. Is something about this assignment making my child physically uncomfortable?
There is not a magical age in which all children are ready to tackle and master a skill. Just like all babies learn to sit, crawl and walk and different ages they will learn how to do everything at different ages. Is your child in pain? As an example, there are some conditions in which it is painful for a person to focus their eyes on very small words or hold a pencil for an extended period of time. Most of the time these conditions are outgrown with age and physical development, but that doesn’t make your child’s pain less real. THIS WILL BE THE TOPIC OF DAY 3
3. Am I teaching to my child’s learning style?
A lot of years passed before I learned this lesson, and when I did all of a sudden everything made sense. If tantrums are a regular thing it’s possible that the way you are teaching may not be the best way for your child to learn. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can change your teaching style to meet each child’s learning style. You may find that you have to step out of your comfort zone & maybe even scrap the curriculum you’re using, but I promise it’s worth it. THIS WILL BE THE TOPIC OF DAY 4
If none of the above apply, or if I’ve made appropriate changes and the behavior is still happening, I ask myself:
4. How can I make this lesson fun for my child?
The answer for us? Games, hands-on activities, field trips & streaming media. When all else fails and we need to do something different, or break out of a rut, these always do the trick. THIS WILL BE THE TOPIC OF DAY 5
Check out all of the posts in this series (all links will be active after 8/23/13):
Day 1 – Is My child a reluctant learner?
Day 2 – Is this Curriculum a Match for my Child?
Day 3 – Is My Child Physically Ready for Homeschooling?
Day 4 – Learning Styles Vs. Teaching Styles
Day 5 – How to Engage Reluctant Learners
Meg Grooms is a decades-long secular homeschooling mother of 6 children, ranging in age from preschool to married with kids of their own. Always a vagabond at heart, Meg and her family have embraced a slow travel lifestyle, currently calling Southern California home. Your guess is as good as hers as to where they’ll end up next.
Meg blogs about secular homeschooling and gameschooling at Homeschool Gameschool.