As homeschool moms, we all want the perfect curriculum that our kids will love and will guarantee their success. We spend countless hours researching and evaluating different options to find the best fit for our families. However, no matter how much time we spend, sometimes the curriculum doesn’t work out the way we hoped it would. Our child struggles to understand the material, and we feel like we’re failing as homeschoolers.
But don’t despair! Here are some practical tips for salvaging a homeschool curriculum that’s not working for your child. With a few adjustments and a positive attitude, you can help your child make progress and enjoy learning again.
Break Down Overwhelming Material into Smaller Chunks
One of the main reasons a curriculum may not work for your child is that the material is overwhelming. Some children may feel intimidated and shut down before they even begin, whether it’s a long video lesson, a complicated math concept, or a dense reading assignment.
If you’re dealing with a curriculum your child is struggling with, try breaking the material into smaller, more manageable chunks. For example, if the curriculum provider suggests watching a long video lesson in one sitting, consider breaking it up over two or three days. Or, if a reading assignment is too dense, break it into smaller sections and tackle them one at a time.
By breaking the material into smaller chunks, your child can absorb it at their own pace without feeling overwhelmed. It’s a simple but effective strategy that can make a big difference in your child’s learning experience.
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Use Real-Life Examples to Help Children Understand Difficult Concepts
Another way to help your child understand complex concepts is to use real-life examples. For example, if your child is struggling with the idea of perimeter and area, you can use the example of building a garden box in your backyard. Show your child how the perimeter of the box is the measurement of wood needed to outline the edges and how the area of the box is the amount of black weed-barrier fabric required to cover the bottom.
Real-life examples can help children see the practical application of their learning and make it more relevant and exciting. It’s also a great way to bond with your child and make learning a fun and engaging experience.
Switch Up Teaching Methods to Keep Children Engaged
Sometimes, children may struggle with a particular subject or curriculum simply because the teaching method doesn’t suit their learning style. If your child struggles to understand a specific concept, try switching the teaching method. For example, if your child prefers visual learning, try using manipulatives or visual aids to help them understand. If they prefer audio, try using podcasts or videos to supplement the material.
By switching up the teaching method, you’re giving your child a chance to learn in a way that suits their learning style and keeping them engaged and interested in the material.
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Take Breaks in Both Daily and Long-Term Learning
Another strategy for salvaging a curriculum that’s not working is to take breaks. Not only do you want to avoid burnout by not pushing your child to learn for hours on end, but you also want to handle gaps in long-term learning. If your child struggles to learn a particular concept, sometimes all they need is a little time to catch up.
For example, if your child struggles to learn to read, take a break from the complex material and spend a few weeks reading easy books with concepts they already know. This can help build their confidence and allow them to practice their reading skills in a low-pressure environment.
Similarly, if your child is struggling with multiplication and division, take a few weeks to review their math facts. This can help reinforce their foundational skills to tackle more complex math concepts.
Incorporate Positive Reinforcement to Boost Confidence
Learning can be challenging, and it’s important to celebrate your child’s successes, no matter how small. Incorporating positive reinforcement can help boost your child’s confidence and motivation. Praise your child for their efforts and celebrate their accomplishments, even completing a minor assignment or understanding a single concept.
Remember, learning is a journey, not a race. Your child’s best learning is what matters, not how quickly they’re moving through the curriculum. Positive reinforcement can help keep your child motivated and engaged and make learning a more positive experience.
Don’t Be Afraid to Modify Assignments to Meet Your Child’s Needs
Finally, don’t be afraid to modify assignments to meet your child’s needs. If the curriculum is too complicated or overwhelming, it’s okay to back off and give your child a more manageable assignment. For example, if the curriculum calls for a three-paragraph essay and your child struggles to write even one paragraph, give them a one-paragraph selection until they’re ready to tackle more.
Remember, you are in charge of your child’s education, not the curriculum. Your goal is to help your child progress and succeed; sometimes, that means modifying the curriculum to meet their needs.
Salvaging a homeschool curriculum that’s not working for your child can be challenging. Still, you can help your child progress and enjoy learning again with a positive attitude and a few practical strategies. By breaking down overwhelming material into smaller chunks, using real-life examples to help children understand complex concepts, switching up teaching methods to keep children engaged, taking breaks in both daily and long-term learning, incorporating positive reinforcement to boost confidence, and modifying assignments to meet your child’s needs, you can help your child succeed and thrive in their homeschool journey.
Remember, learning is a journey, not a race, and your child’s best learning is what matters most. Don’t be afraid to try new approaches, adapt the curriculum to meet your child’s needs, and celebrate your child’s successes. Happy homeschooling!
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