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Our Reasons for Home Education:

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Although he was achieving good results, he wasn't reaching his full potential because his love for learning had been destroyed & hence his grades were steadily declining.

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Completely failed by the system, he hated school, was always tired & homework time was a major frustration for both of us. He was severely frustrated & quickly heading to become yet another ADHD statistic.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Home Educating a Struggling Learner

We removed our very active, yet highly intelligent 7-year old from private school in August 2010 because he was struggling with reading & writing due to his gross & fine motor skills foundation not having been addressed properly at a Gr. R level, hence the learning problems. He is also a Right Brain Kinaesthetic as well as Visual Spatial learner & his learning styles are not catered for in most of our schools today.

“A mother’s first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet and growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it for the most part spent out in the fresh air.”

~ Charlotte Mason

And that’s where the “system” failed our little one quite miserably…

The school focused too early & too much on academics & neglected the motor skills as well as visual perception. Midline crossing & skipping, being very important skills for fluent reading were just 2 of many areas that were not addressed properly. Although he could memorise paragraphs, like a parrot, he struggled to read. He Aced his spelling tests but could not spell when writing sentences. These were just a few of the issues we’ve been working on together with his pre-school teacher to get him through Gr. 2. He was able to cope thus far due to his intelligence, but the struggling impacted his self-esteem very negatively & caused him to dislike school with a passion.

Although the school tried to address the problem with remedial (at additional cost to us as parents) & extra lessons, these showed very little success, but instead placed extra workload & repetition rather than addressing the foundation of the problem… hence we’ve took him back to Hettie Hen Playgroup after school twice a week since August 2009 so she could do physical activities & brain gym with him in order to get the brain development going. This showed shown huge improvement, but his backlog was so big that he still got very fidgety in class when he didn’t understand the tasks at hand. The other problem was that he was constantly stressed & tired, thus making the progress slow.

The following are pages where I found some very useful information to help my struggling learner:

We have applied many of the tips contained in these pages & together with the stress release, this has resulted in a huge improvement both in his abilities as well as his confidence.  ~ If you have a struggling learner, be sure to visit these pages & get some help to avoid yourself & your child some stress & frustration.

In Their Own Way ~ Thomas Armstrong (Kindle)“ADD seems like a matter of convenience to many adults who are in charge of “round kids” who don’t fit into the “square holes” of home and school. The label helps a teacher get a troublesome child out of a regular class and into a special education room, helps a parent get a drug prescription to set the problem right (instead of first considering other more fundamental changes, and even helps many students get more time to take tests and complete assignments in class. Unfortunately, though it’s the child who gets saddled with the disability label and has to go through school looked upon as less normal than the other kids. Nowhere in this litany of deficit, disability, and disedase is there the recognition that these children may learn very well IN THEIR OWN WAY.” from In Their Own Way: Discovering and Encouraging Your Child’s Multiple Intelligences by Dr. Thomas Armstrong

We have one of those “round kids” that doesn’t fit into the “square holes”, but refused the ADD label and instead, removed him from the “square hole” environment & today, just over a year later he’s flourishing & growing to become a confident student once again.

The Fine Line Between ADHD and Kinesthetic Learners (Kindle)I’m currently reading this book & am slowly starting to understand why our youngest had such a struggle at school. It seems he’s a right brain kinaesthetic learner. Keeping him interested in schoolwork is quite a challenge & I’m constantly having to change my strategies because he gets bored very easily. Thus far we have used the All-In-One Programme, Switched on Schoolhouse as well as Teaching Textbooksall of which were effective only for a while. I have recently had to change strategy againand now we’re using Time4Learning and loads of interactive educational PC games. Of course I’ve also added an Art tutor, because he enjoyed the few sessions for his art project last term so much.

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I have decided to take next few years one day at a time. We’ll continue with Time4Learning for as long as it works for him. In the interim I still have loads of links and books to work through in my quest to find ways & means to help him through.

I trust that in the near future we will be able to conquer this hatred for schoolwork & be able to restore his love for learning.

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Educating a Reluctant Learner

School in general is quite a mission in our home for both our boys. Although our eldest managed to cope quite well in school, his love for learning has been destroyed by school pressure.

Next year he will be doing 4 subjects with Alpha Omega Academy. As for the rest of the “normal” grade 9 curriculum I’m planning to do “Story of the World” with them and let him continue his technology lessons with his current tutor. I also want to try our some Woodworking lessons for them. Since they both love the Junior Engineering (JEFA) classes so much, I will let them continue those as well.

Here are some books I’ve found for teaching the child who hates school…

The Shut-Down Learner

Helping Your Academically Discouraged Child
Richard Selznick
I Hate School
How to Help Your Child Love Learning
Cynthia Ulrich Tobias

Unfortunately I’ve been so busy helping my struggling learner that I still need to find the time to read through all these books. I’m thus not yet sure whether they contain any tips that will help with my boys.

I know however, during the next few years my greatest challenge will be restoring their love for learning. Yet, I still have no idea exactly how I’m going to achieve that.

Please visit this page frequently as I will be posting regular updates as I find more resources.