One of the main reasons I love homeschooling is the fact that you can totally customize school to your child. What is your child good at? What are they not so good at? Homeschooling allows you the ability to hone in on those items and work on them.
This week I found myself thinking outside the box in regards to an area of school that Chloe isn't quite so good at. We use a workbook called Developing the Early Learner and she excels in almost every single skill this book teaches. I have often wondered if the book is a little too easy. All except for one skill. Auditory Memory. I read a string of instructions for a number of items and she must wait a minute and then complete all the tasks. The poor dear struggles so hard with this task and I hate it. I really do. She was literally sitting in tears last week because she simply could not remember all the instructions I gave her. (we are now up to four items per set and she must remember the color for each item and what she is supposed to do for each item. Invariably she gets it backwards every time.)
What am I to do? I don't want Chloe to hate school. I want her to enjoy it but this skill is an important one that I know she will need later on. At first, I thought it was just that she was not paying attention to me. We made it halfway through the school year and I finally realized that she really tries hard to remember. She really does. I allow her to pick up the crayons while I read the colors and place them on top of the correct picture. I tried having her trace with her finger what she was supposed to do to the items as I read it. I even tried having her repeat the instructions after I was finished reading them. All to no avail. When it was time to start, she would do it backwards or wrong.
This is when I decided to think outside the box. How can I teach her this skill and not leave her in tears at the end of our school day?
And then it hit me. Take her back to the beginning and start where it was easier. Work on the easy ones every day until she gets the knack of it. This particular skill moved too fast for her to get it down properly. By the time she was starting to understand it, it got harder and she got more frustrated.
I found clip art with similar images the workbook used and made my own worksheets. I printed off multiples of each page. I also printed out the instructions from the back of the book to coincide with my printed pages. We now work on this particular skill every day, in addition to the other workbook pages she is supposed to work on. She only has two pictures she has to remember things for at this point. After four days of it, she is finally getting it. She can do the entire page and only get one or two wrong. Yesterday she finished the entire page without any mistakes. I hung the picture on the fridge, gave her a candy cane and we danced around the kitchen for a full five minutes in celebration of her achievement.
This is why I love homeschooling. I found a way to teach her the skill that is necessary without frustrating her. We went back to the basics and because she learned that she CAN do it, her self-confidence is rising. We can celebrate these small things which I know makes her feel good. Just to see the look on her face when she got the entire page right...wow...I just was happy to be there. And how many schoolroom teachers do you know of who dance around the room with the children when they get something they struggled with right?
We have quite a ways to go yet, but we will get there. We will. She is a smart little cookie and we will get it.
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