Homeschooling 101: Take Action

This series aims to help out parents who have been thrust into homeschooling by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Homeschooling 101
Don’t “wait and see” if your child is struggling, take action.

First, what a learning hangup is not:

  1. Proof your child has some sort of constitutional inability to do this work.
  2. Proof your child has a learning disability. If you take steps to remedy the situation and they don’t improve in a week, AND you see similar difficulty in other subjects, consider requesting a virtual teacher conference.
  3. Proof their teacher, school, or Common Core is at fault.
  4. Proof that you suck. Give yourself a break, you are not all powerful, and that applies a thousand fold to your children’s learning.

That said, now is not the time to stick your head in the sand, if your child is struggling with a concept, it won’t necessarily get better without intervention and the lessons are going to proceed at the assigned pace so your child could be left behind if you sit on your hands. You will need to take steps to help them. Begin by troubleshooting the problem:

  1. Have they been struggling in this subject before? In that case, they may need to strengthen a more foundational concept. Go back over the previous lessons in this area with them (ex.: prior lessons on fractions if they are having trouble with reducing fractions now).
  2. Can they do the work sometimes but they are inconsistent about doing it correctly? Unless there’s some external factor like a failure in their sleep schedule or a missed meal, they probably just need more practice. Common Core has made it much easier to find resources on your own that will help you review and practice skills from school. You can get workbooks such as the DK grade level and subject books to drill the skill, or find numerous websites where you can print your own (I use edhelper.com for this on occasion).
  3. Were they doing fine but now they’re flopping on the first lesson they have to do from home? Ok, this one might be on you since we weren’t raised with Common Core or your skills might be rusty. Go over the lesson on your own and if you aren’t quite getting it, go to a resource like YouTube or Khan Academy (please check your sources to see that they’re trustworthy!) to review and drill the skill, then go over it again with them.

Whatever you do, keep one rule of thumb in mind:

The goal is to instill a love of learning.

We want and need self-motivated learners. Don’t drill them until they cry. Don’t lose your temper. If it’s frustrating, try to look at it as a puzzle you are working out together, let them see your curiosity and problem solving skills in action. This can be a bonding experience like no other if you let it.

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