Sometimes even the most cooperative child can be hard to work with. Just like adults, kids have good days and bad days. Other times our children just don’t like a particular subject. Families with more than one home study student might have an easier time teaching one child than the other(s). These scenarios can be frustrating for everyone involved.
As an example, when I homeschooled my kids, two of them caught on to math really quickly. One of them — who was normally very sweet and easy going — struggled and would be very stubborn and uncooperative when doing her math lessons. She even went so far as to hide her homework to avoid trying to deal with it. With the help of my Horizon Supervising Teacher, I discovered she was a kinesthetic learner, which was something I’d never dealt with before. Unlike her siblings, she couldn’t work out math problems without being able to visualize them through the use of manipulatives. Once we figured this out, math was no longer a challenge for her. In fact, she would often ask to work with the learning aides just for fun!
There were times when my kids just weren’t into learning for no particular identifiable reason. One of the many benefits of homeschool is that the whole family can take a break from schooling or just a particular subject and come back to it later. Occasionally it’s in everyone’s best interest to stop and try again another time.
Whether you have occasional issues with home teaching your child, or systemic problems working with a particular student, here are some tips from Horizon Charter Schools’ Parent Educator, Kathleen Waffle, that might help:
If your child is getting frustrated or agitated:
- Stop the activity
- Take a break
Determine if s/he is having challenges with:
- A particular subject or activity
- A certain time of day
- Being hungry or thirsty
- Not feeling well
Try keeping a log of when your child exhibits challenging behaviors:
- Identify patterns
- Make adjustments
Determine your child’s primary learning style. Be sure your teaching strategy aligns with his/her learning style:
- Hands-on vs auditory
- Visual vs verbal
- Logical vs social
If the challenging behavior is due to attitude:
- Try an incentive approach
- Offer a trip to the park or a length of time on favorite video game after a certain task is completed
- Sticker charts may work for young children
- If the child is old enough, suggest that s/he plan a family outing once a designated assignment is complete
- Try bouncing a ball or jumping rope as s/he recites memorization facts
- Give praise often
Gauge your assistance:
- Do you need to help more or less?
- Once you get one of the children started and you walk away to assist another child, is the first child overwhelmed?
- Set up a learning area focused on study
- Make sure there is no music playing or TV s/he can hear
- Face him/her away from windows or keep curtains drawn
- Keep pets away from the learning area during “school” times
Here are some other sources that might help you cope with a difficult home study experience:
For more tips like these, be sure to attend one of Kathleen’s fun and informative workshops. During the workshops, Kathleen provides hands-on tools to help parents and students with their homeschool journey. You also have the opportunity to meet other Horizon Charter School parents to exchange ideas, or just talk with someone who understands. Watch Horizon’s Parent SKIMM for topics, dates, times and locations.