Building Up the Confidence of a Slow Learner

A homeschool student can have a number of reasons to be a slow learner. Most homeschool parents may miss learning disabilities in their children if they do not have older children to compare them to. Meeting milestones is a good way to keep a check of your primary schooler’s learning abilities.

Identify the Learner’s Block

Pay attention to what the grade average is like and compare it with your child’s performance. You can discuss these issues on online homeschooling forums and in your local support group to get a decent idea of what your child should be able to do at a certain age. Should you feel there is a problem pick out the block. The easiest way to identify the block is to get your child professionally tested.

Remove or Remedy the Block

Once the problem has been identified, ensure that you work with your child to remove the block. There may be requirement of professional help if the disability is seen to be extreme, but most often it is the primary caregiver’s responsibility to help the child overcome the problem. Getting into a support group will allow you to gain a better perscpective of how your actions can help your homeschool student.

Reduce the Stress During Learning

If the homeschool parent is stressed, they will pass it on to the child. Please learn to deal with your stress in a productive manner and let the child be. Making them nervous about speaking up in the homeschool classroom is not going to help anyone. There is great requirement for patience and fortitude. Keep the ambience stress free and let the child have fun with learning.

Use Suitable Teaching Strategies

The regular teacher student equation needs to be shifted around to accommodate the needs of a special learner. Based on the type of learning block that afflicts your homeschool student, you will need to customize the way you teach them. There may be a requirement to go through many different teaching strategies before you can find out what works best with your special learner.

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When to use Right Brain Teaching in the Homeschool Classroom

The majority of our school curriculum is based on typical Left Brain learning techniques. There is an emphasis on doing things in an ordered structure. Read the text book, do the exercises and then follow it up with a review of what has been taught. While this organized learning may work well for majority of the students at times you may need to use Right Brain Teaching methods in your homeschool classroom.

To Develop Memory Skills

Memorizing a large number of facts and data can become quite difficult for the child by rote method. By using the memory palace technique or other visualization methods of improving recollection, you encourage the homeschool student to use their right brain to get the job done.

To Help Focus Better

A whole lot of things need to be paid attention to during the homeschool classroom’s day schedule. At times children can find it difficult to switch attention to the next thing they have to do. By making it a game or a fun activity, you can ensure that the right brain teaching technique helps your child focus better in the class.

To Improve Sensory Processing

We depend on our senses to make order out of the world. By ensuring that the senses are sending us information that is processed correctly we avoid distortions. Sometimes children may find it difficult to process all the senses information. Here you can use right brain techniques such as being still and paying attention to what comes, as it comes to help your child deal with the overwhelm and manage better.

To Reduce Boredom

Studying in the homeschool classroom day in and day out is a painful process for the child at times. You can use right brain teaching techniques to ensure that the attention of the child is held better during lessons. This ensures that children who have a tendency to dislike school work, look forward to the hour or day you assign to such teaching techniques.

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Is Your Homeschool Student a Left Brain or Right Brain Learner?

Studies have shown that the left brain is used for organization and structure while the right brain is used for creativity and flow. Some people have a natural tendency to prefer going sequentially and learning while others like to go with whatever interests them at that instant. Your homeschool student also would have a definite preference when it comes to learning styles. If you cater to his learning style, you will see that he is able to pick up many things faster. Here is how you can expect to identify which learning type your homeschool student would prefer.

Left Brain Learner

He requires a formal schedule for what all you intend to cover in the homeschool classroom each day. He thrives on structure. In fact if you let him know exactly what is expected of him each day for the rest of the month, he would love it. When he needs to learn something he uses the repetition technique, either orally or by writing it down repeatedly till he remembers it.

He would prefer to work on his own rather than with his siblings. In fact, once he knows what all he needs to do he will usually make a check list of all that he needs to accomplish before he begins work. He likes to read text books and do the exercises at the back. He thinks logically and takes all evidence into consideration before coming to a conclusion. Usually enjoys maths and science subjects which are nice and structured.

Right Brain Learner

This child gets easily bored with predictable situations. He thrives on change and different challenges each day. He needs color in his studies, in fact he much more likely to remember facts when they are presented as an interesting story rather than as a lesson in a text book. He associates unfamiliar things with familiar ones and links them with commonalities that are not very obvious to start with.

He loves to work with a bunch of people and get their opinions. He would rather have a project to tackle than do book based exercises for practice. He also constantly needs contact with the homeschool teacher. He wants to check in with them very often. He leaps from what he knows to what he thinks may be possible without much evidence. He is very creative and loves art and craft.

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Checklist for Homeschool Teachers with Struggling Learners

Teaching your child at home is tough enough without adding a learning disability to the mix. No one wants to think about their child having problems with learning. However when your homeschool student is struggling more often than not, you may want to take a closer look and see where the true problem lies. Here is a small checklist which you can use to hone in on the issue plaguing your little one.

Visual Processing

Can the homeschool student process what he sees with ease. This can be seen in terms of describing a picture, reading the words of a text, and even reading out flash cards loud. Check if the problem lies with the eyesight, or with processing the material that is being seen. Should you find a simple eye sight problem, glasses should make a world of a difference. There will be more work involved in correcting a visual processing problem.

Motor Skills

Is the child able to use a pencil or a crayon easily? What is the hand to eye coordination of the child like? If the child is repeatedly having to correct or compensate for what action he wishes to complete, there may be a deeper issue at hand. Please remember not to make flash judgments, as each child takes his own time to achieve certain skill levels. Just because your first born was able to do a certain action by a certain age, it isn’t compulsory that your second one will also develop skills at the same pace.

Auditory Processing

There are two parts to check for here. First off does the child hear you when you give him instructions. Secondly is he able to follow those instructions and get the result that you wanted to achieve? Try checking for hearing in both ears to check for a physical problem with the ears. Then try giving simple to more complex instructions to the child to follow to check how well he can process the instructions given. Do remember to keep the instructions aligned with the age and the grade level of the child.

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Finding Projects for Homeschool Students

Keeping homeschool students busy with projects that they can make is a difficult task. From arts and craft projects to science projects, there is a lot that is required in the homeschool classroom. Not everyone is creative enough to come up with so many new project ideas each week. You can get a number of ideas off these websites to keep your homeschool students in projects for months.

Pinterest

There are so many boards related to actual do it yourself projects that you should be able to find all kinds of interesting projects, as well as instructions on this website. You can even open a free account and keep track of what you want your homeschool students to do each month on a set of private boards. Of course you get to share the results of what you did experiment with as well on Pinterest.

Instructables

From homesteading to 3D printing this site has got instructions on all kinds of projects. Where else can you learn to make a potato battery clock as well as a chicken bucket feeder on the same website. You may have to scout through for child friendly projects as some use laser cutters and other fancy gadgets that you may not be comfortable letting your child handle. You may not even have some of these tools at home, like a 3D printer. Still it’s a great site with tons of projects readily available. Plus the videos are worth a look even if you don’t want to do the projects yourself.

Life Hack

This is a website rich with information that any homeschooling family could benefit from. Not only do they have a number of do it yourself projects, they have a number of other hacks that the homeschool parent would love to use. From making yogurt cheese to an upside down tomato planter, there are a number of interesting projects available under a fair number of headings on this website. Personally I’m really looking forward to doing the yarn wrapped painted lamps as a project for all my empty jam jars.

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Tips for Test Taking

The standard homeschool classroom does not pay much attention to formal tests. However your state regulations may require your homeschool student to undergo standardized testing. In order for them to handle the tests with ease it is a good idea to give them a bit of practice on the stressful situation so that they can be mentally prepared for what’s to come.

Deep Breathing Exercise

Think about how relaxed you feel when doing the deep breathing exercise during yoga session? Well that works just as well to remove stress from a test. Have your homeschool student learn the technique and practice it beforehand so that when they are in an actual stressful situation they can use this tool to get back on track.

Don’t Study on the Day of the Test

As long as your homeschool student has studied consistently through the days leading up to the exam, he will not require to study on the actual morning of the test. Whatever has been stored in the child’s memory is what he will be able to recall during the test. Opening the book and studying the material on the morning of the test is not really going to help.

Good Worry and Bad Worry

Let your homeschool student understand the difference between them. Good worry makes them focus on what needs to be done and motivates them to do it. Bad worry on the other hand, simply makes them panic. It wastes energy and provides them with no value. Make your homeschool student discard the bad worry and pick up on what needs to be done from the good worry.

Shift Attention and Double Check Your Answers

Sometimes the brain gets so focused on whatever question you are solving at the time, that it doesn’t pick up errors. In order to get more questions right, you should encourage your homeschool student to finish answering the question paper then start double checking them starting from the beginning. This gives the brain fresh focus on those answers to catch errors previously made.

The most important thing you can tell your child before a test is to simply give it their best shot and then let it go.

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What to Teach First in the Homeschool Classroom: Easy or Tough Stuff

Every homeschool student is different and their interests will also vary. Depending on their aptitude they will find some stuff easy and other stuff tough to learn. As a homeschool teacher what should you make them focus on first? A couple of factors need to be considered before you make this decision.

Larks and Owls

If you homeschool student is an owl who is usually rather bleary eyed in the morning, you may be better off trying to teach the easy stuff first. When he finally does wake up and catch momentum you can switch to the tough stuff. If your homeschool student happens to be a lark who is bright eyed and clear in the mornings you may want to begin with the difficult stuff right off the bat and get it over with. The homeschool parent’s level of attention may also play a role in determining which topics get handled in the morning and which are left till afternoon.

New Material or Practice

When your are teaching something new to your homeschool student it would make sense to do it in small, easy to understand increments. Then gradually you can move on to more complex examples and problems. However if the child already knows the concept and need to practice the material it may be a better idea to give him some tough problems to solve. This will clarify any doubts left in the mind of the student and allow him to have a good understanding of the topic.

Tests and Revisions

When your homeschool child is preparing for a test, the revisions should focus on the difficult stuff. Yes, make sure that the child goes through the easy stuff, but during revision give extra time and attention to the difficult material he needs to study. When the homeschool student is actually tackling the test he should first read the full question paper. Now he should mentally solve the steps involved in the tough questions and then begin with actually answering the easy questions if he runs into a problem.

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Reinforcing Material in Home School Students Using Testing

Learning new study material by reading it is not the best way to reinforce it in your long term memory. When you try to test your homeschool students after teaching them something new, they will retain that knowledge for much longer. Here are some tips that you can use to reinforce their learning.

Have them actually pay attention to the text

Ever so often when a lesson is being read out loud, the focus of the homeschool student is not really on the words he is reading, but on what he needs to do next. Being attentive while reading can reinforce the material being studied and make it easier to recall.

 Attempt solving problems based on the topic

There may be a few problems at the end of the chapter, but if you can find give your homeschool students more problems to solve it will help them clear their concepts better. Once a concept is well understood it is better remembered. They don’t even have to follow through with all the calculations, just pinpoint the solution steps.

Encourage them to discuss the topic

The more they talk about what they have read, with you and with other people, the more they will reinforce their knowledge of the topic. It would be a good idea to ask them questions about what they have understood. Let them explain the topic to you or a younger sibling. It will enhance their understanding of the nuances of the topic.\

Help with clearing their doubts

As they begin a more in-depth study of the topic, they will have some doubts. Give them a safe ambiance to ask about their doubts. Make sure that you help them understand exactly what requires to be done to solve the problems. Some supervised practice is a great way to do this.

Study guide with extra material

A text book is a good place to start, but it is seldom enough when learning about a new topic. Put together a study guide with reference books, videos and websites they can visit to learn more about the topic. This repetition is a great way to enhance learning.

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Homeschoolers and Group Study

There may not be a great many students in your homeschool classroom but getting them to study together may not be the easiest task. First off you have homeschool students who are not in the same grade. Secondly sibling rivalry may rear it’s head when the children are all given a single task to perform.

Yet, it you as a homeschool teacher can get your bunch of kids to study together as a group, you would have managed to teach them a lesson in teamwork that they will use all their lives. Here are some tips to make this happen.

Give them all a project to complete 

The actual project itself can be different things for different grade levels. For instance the elementary kid could do a show and tell. The middle school kid could do a written report. Scale down the size of the project based on grade levels so that each child has an age appropriate difficulty level for the project.

They all have one broad topic to study

Your homeschool students will be a lot more inclined to do research together when they realize that they are all essentially trying to find out more about the same topic. They will then be more likely to share what they know as well as pool in their resources to gain more knowledge about the topic.

Give them fixed time for research and deadlines

It’s not enough to tell them that they need to do a project. You have to give them a clear deadline as well as clearly assigned time to conduct their research. The homeschool students work much better when they know exactly what is expected of them. Ensure that they know the consequences of not doing the project on time as well as the reward of completing it properly.

It may just surprise you to see that your bunch of hooligans can actually come together to work on a project and learn more than the topic that they were supposed to be researching. Make sure that you applaud all the effort and hard work that they have put in to get the job done.

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Different Record Keeping Methods for Homeschool

Any time saved for a Homeschool Teacher is time gained to focus on other activities. If you can organize your record keeping, it will free up a great deal of time for you to redirect elsewhere. The three ways to keep records mentioned here can be used by homeschool parents with ease.

Online Services

There are both paid and free services available online which allow you to keep track of the course you are following, the lesson plans you will use, the grades your homeschool students are getting, and more. Services such as Applecore, Homeschool Reporting Online, Homeschool Skedtrack, Homeschool Tracker, and My School Year are some good online services which can aid your record keeping.

Printable Forms

If you are more comfortable with actual physical copies of records, you may like to save time by getting printable forms off the internet. It makes your job a whole lot easier to get blank forms and fill them out rather than wasting time designing those forms to start with. There are sites where forms for homeschool record keeping are offered for free such as at 123 Homeschooling or Donna Young’s website. About dot com’s homeschooling section also has forms that you can use as does the Family Schoolhouse.

Tracking Software

Think it would be nice if you had a calendar that would keep track of your lesson plans, activities and field trips? How about a software that could print report cards, transcripts, and skill assessments? There are different types of tracking software available in the market that make the life of a homeschool teacher much more comfortable once they have been set up. Popular ones include Edu Track Homeschool and Homeschool Minder.

Using any of these methods to maintain your records can work. You could even use a combination of a couple of these ways to keep track of all that you need to note down and work with. Take a look at what you are most comfortable using and employ these record keeping shortcuts to ensure that you are able to stay organised with your records with the minimum amount of fuss.

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