Comments added by Home Education Funding Alberta
#1. Focus learning on your child’s natural interests. “My son with ASD (now 23) always loved dressing up, so we did a lot of re-enacting and costume creating in our homeschool,” Ployhar says, citing one unforgettable history lesson on Russia between the two World Wars. “My son dressed as a Russian soldier and acted out their habit of combing through dead bodies for guns after battles. The country was poor and that’s what they did to survive. Neither of us will ever forget that gruesome chapter of history.”
#2. If your child gets stressed, take a break. “Don’t get into panic mode and push them until they’re frustrated and give up,” Ployhar advises. “It’s easy to see when your child is losing interest and kicking feet under the table, fidgeting, or generally not paying attention. Give them a break. If you see your child becoming stressed and not ‘getting it,’ stop and do something else. You can return to the task at hand later. They’ll get it eventually but not when they’re stressed.”
#3. Make learning a game. Children are motivated to learn when they’re having fun, so if your child is crazy for board and card games, run with it, Ployhar suggests. “Learning can be incorporated into almost any game or favorite activity hiding in your closet.” Connect 4, Chutes and Ladders, puzzles, LEGOS, and Jenga all work well to motivate learners. Tell your child they can add five pieces to a puzzle when they answer five questions. “When the lesson is complete, the puzzle will be finished.”
#4. Add movement to promote learning. Ployhar’s middle son, now 21, has ADHD. “His mind slows down when his body is moving and that’s when he learns best,” she explains. “We did very little learning seated quietly at a desk or table. I got down on the floor with him. We crawled under the table and took lots of breaks that included jumping up and down.” Other families that homeschool students with ADHD report sitting on a beanbag chair, exercise ball, or under a tree to promote learning.
#5. Build focus with busy hands and feet (MUSIC). Allow your child to use Play-Doh or a hula hoop while answering flashcard questions, for example. “Kicking a goal outside or throwing bean bags across the room are other options homeschoolers have tried,” Ployhar says. Note: Music is very beneficial and helps to develop the entire brain as well as body coordination. Researchers have proven that musicians have scored 20% higher grades in school studies than non-musicians. Try listening to music often and enroll your child(ren) in music lessons.
#6. Tap into online tutors or Youtube videos/ Facebook Homeschool groups.
Bad at math? Foreign language not your thing? “Don’t sweat it,” says Ployhar. Reach out to your affiliated school board for assistance or look on youtube for videos that may help or check out Facebook homeschool groups in your area for more support.
#7. Ditch the worksheets. (If they are not helping your child(ren) learn the appropriate material) Use educational videos, phone apps, educational podcasts, or other media to introduce or expand on a subject. (Use search terms such as “educational videos for teens”). Teach math using a neurodevelopmental approach. Rapid recall is a spiraling, multi-sensory input system for learning math facts in less than ten minutes a day. Visit brainsprints.com for videos and downloads.
#8. Take things one day at a time. Celebrate a learning victory, reward progress — even if it’s small— and resist the urge to compare what your child is learning to what others are doing. “And never, ever stop dreaming for your child or yourself,” says Ployhar. Create reward charts and have your child(ren) add stickers to it for everyday that they complete their work so at the end of the year they can earn a trip to a place of their choosing or a special toy they really wanted, etc. Rewards are helpful and work as good incentives for learning because remember, if we went to work everyday and never got paid, would we still go to work? Probably not...
#9. Follow your child’s lead. Every child is unique and you don’t want to squelch that individuality. “My son with ADHD always enjoyed cooking. He eventually learned to make craft beer — it became his passion project,” Ployhar explains. “During his gap year after high school, he learned how to play guitar, worked at a grocery store, and got a bartender’s license. Being exposed to so many different experiences helped him figure out where he shines. He’s happy today working as a bartender but is also exploring working for a brewery.” Every child is unique and has special talents and gifts so ensure to foster them and help them grow towards what they are really interested in doing.
#10. Go on Pinterest and research different ideas for homeschooling
Pinterest is a wonderful website full of many resources for curriculum ideas, craft ideas, homeschool room organization ideas, and much much more. Check out our Pinterest page for some ideas about homeschooling: https://www.pinterest.ca/homeeducationfundingalberta/boards/
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