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Homeschooling is hard, y’all. It’s hard to know if you have the right tools in place. It’s hard to get it all done (you don’t). It’s hard to meet the needs of kids who are at many different levels.
It’s also hard to let go of your own personal way of learning or preferred teaching style. I’m a write-it-down and read-about-it learner. I LIKE to study. Yet, I have three very different learners in my homeschool. Today, I’m going to share some helps for an older out-of-the-box learner.
My Big Girl (10) really struggles with writing and spelling, but she loves to present and build things. She’s also one of those kids who will do as little as possible unless you stand over her. I thought she was ready for more independence, but she needs help paying attention. She also needs some workarounds on the writing front. So, here’s what’s working for us right now.
Technology can make a huge difference.
I know many parents fear what technology can do to our kids. I’ve had my struggles with handing it over to my children, but let me tell you a little secret. It’s here.
Technology is going to be part of their lives. I’d rather teach my kids how to use it responsibly than have them not know how to set limits and be prepared for a career that requires it.
We decided to let Big Girl move to a more tech-based learning style this year because all the experts say that she can overcome her writing issue with typing. Ok then, let’s try it.
I felt way more guilt than I should have over this because I believe there’s value in writing things down. I’ve thought she just needed a different approach or more practice for three years.
Nope, she really does have a big burden. She draws her letters. I could spend a lot of money on therapies for it (that don’t have a guarantee) or I can help her learn a different skill that will serve her for the rest of her life – typing.
I’m a writer and I haven’t written much of anything on paper in a very long time (except taking notes). I don’t know why I didn’t try this sooner.
We began Typing Without Tears last spring and she wasn’t making it a priority. I bought her a fifth grade license and voila, she is much more agreeable and making a good deal of progress.
If you’re worried about a struggling learner, consistent and incremental practice really pays off. Maturity also helps immensely.
Graphic novel style online math is a winner.
I almost always look for a graphic novel for any kind of project or reading assignment for the Big Girl. She doesn’t love to read, but she adores graphic novels. So, when I came across Beast Academy Online, I swooned. It’s graphic novels and an online learning system. This means NO WRITING and NO MILLIONS of manipulatives (not that I dislike manipulatives).
Beast Academy has a unique scope and sequence and presents math in challenges. We’re almost finished with Level 3A (which we’re doing as a review of multiplication and some other concepts). Some of the puzzles even get me stumped, but the idea is to get the kids thinking about how to use the concepts. For instance, they do a lot of work with the 100 chart when learning the multiplication tables. I’ve seen a great improvement in Big Girl’s retention of the multiplication facts. She’s also learning a lot of geometry.
Big kids still need foundational skills – like spelling.
The big girl has also struggled with spelling for quite some time, so I decided that we need to go back to fundamentals. All About Spelling Level 2 is a recent addition to our homeschool.
We’re working on memorizing those rules that are so foundational to spelling. I remember pasting these in a notebook and getting my parents to sign off on them once I memorized them in elementary school.
I love that we know WHY we spell words the way we do. Knowing why she’s doing something is especially important to this child. She thinks things she may never use are a big waste of her time.
I also love that there’s an app for this program now. It makes the on-the-road schooling we do much simpler. Tiles are cool, but the app is super helpful because we can use the iPad to knock out a lesson when we’re waiting at an appointment.
Embrace YOUR child.
I hope you find these curriculum reviews helpful. Teaching my kids is a great joy and I truly believe we’re meant to be students of the people we’re raising. That’s where I recommend starting – what makes your child tick? Don’t fight it! Just embrace who they are. It makes a huge difference.
What’s working in your homeschool right now? Tell us about it in the comments below.