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ADVICE & COUNSEL FROM A HOMESCHOOL EXPERT
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What Happens if it Doesn't Work?

>> Thursday, September 10, 2009

I was chatting with a new homeschooler via phone this morning. She's about two weeks into her school year and her son is just whizzing through the math and history products she chose. Her greatest concern was that she had chosen the "wrong" materials ... and what should she do about it?

I suspect this is a perennial question for many homeschoolers ... both new and veteran. And I don't know that there's any "right" answer to the question. But as I shared with this mom today, I do think there are a couple things to consider.

One ... are you concerned about the choice you made because your student doesn't like the material? While I'm always willing to listen to feedback from my kids, and will certainly consider any "legitimate" concerns ... "liking" your math or science curriculum is not a prerequisite for using it. I do agree that products that are boring or not well written are worth re-evaluation ... but I've also come to the conclusion that bells, whistles and making you "feel happy" are not necessary when it comes to learning.

Two ... are you concerned about the choice you made because the material doesn't seem to be a good fit for your student? This is an entirely different issue from your student not liking their school work. Now "not liking" your math or language arts may indeed be a symptom of a "poor fit", but if your student is whizzing through 3 or 4 math lessons each day and is acting bored ... or if you're utilizing a workbook based language arts program and your child is just not "getting it" ... then you may want to consider a different approach. Not all children learn the same ... some do better with hands-on tools, others excel with textbooks and workbooks. Sometimes there is some trial and error involved in figuring out which approach works best for your student. The Way They Learn by Cynthia Tobias is a great resource for discovering your child's learning style (and your teaching style!).

So make a change if a change is needed. Invest a bit of time now figuring out how your child learns best ... and make adjustments to fit that need. This is not a failure of your curriculum choosing abilities, but rather a great opportunity to tailor your homeschooling to your child's strengths. A momentary "glitch" in your school year that will reap years of benefit is not a bad thing!

Blessings ...
~Judy

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