My Child Just Doesn't Get It
by Bart Buskey
School has been in session for a little over two months. Teachers have to stay on a schedule with their curriculum. But, what about the child that is having problems understanding a particular part of math or any other subject? What happens to them? Do they just keep failing until they get to a part that they understand or does the teacher keep him or her back and work one-on-one with them? Or, does she just say to the entire class we can't move forward until so and so understands this?
The class is going to move forward whether one or two students understands it or not. The teacher, if she has time, may stay after school to help them. However, usually the class moves on and a note is sent home to the parents saying that their child is falling behind. The parents are now working at night with their child to help them understand the subject or they hire a tutor.
Now there is nothing wrong with parents helping their child understand the subject that they are having problems with. But a lot of the time there are two parents working and when they come home from work they just want to relax. They don't want to sit down and do one or two hours of work. I have seen this time and time again. This is why I take a great stance on one parent staying home. It is the most important thing a parent can give their child.
There is nothing wrong with hiring a tutor. You can hire a college student to come to your house to help your child or you can hire an ex-teacher. I have used a tutor on a couple of occasions.
So here you are a home school parent, and you have this curriculum that states that this is what needs to be done before year-end. Thus you are working extremely hard to get this done and your child is having a hard time with multiplication. He just can't get it. He is frustrated and you are frustrated. What do you do?
The nice thing about home schooling is you get to make your own schedule. It is important to me that my child understands what we are talking about in each subject and that we don't just keep going. If my boys don't understand a subject we are discussing, they will fall behind and so will yours. This is what I am dealing with right now.
When this happens with one of my boys, I stop teaching new things until I have helped my sons to understand. I don't go forward. I make up worksheets on my computer. An example would be that if my son were having problems with adding two digit numbers than I make up twenty-five problems or so that have two digit numbers.
There are workbooks, which I stated in my last article, that can be used. I also use the internet. I go to Yahoo and find where it says "Kids". They have some good web pages like Allmath.com, on different subjects that a parent can use to help their children. I have down loaded addition facts and multiplication tables. They have language, reading, science, and history sites that I have also used. Some of these web pages are interactive. That means that if you have the right software downloaded, your child can use these web pages for their benefit. If you decide to use the internet please carefully watch where your child is going. It is so easy for them to end up on a web site that you wouldn't even go to.
Now you ask "How long do I stay on the same subject?" My answer is you take as long as necessary. I have spent over a week on one subject. Hopefully your curriculum will spend more than one day on that particular section of that subject.
Let me give you an example. Math is one of the hardest things for my fourth grader. Sometimes it clicks and we don't have to put that much time into it. But lately he has been struggling with rounding numbers up or down. I just couldn't get it into his head. Than one day we went to Toys-R-Us.
I like Toys-R-Us just because it is a good forty minutes to an hour of cheap entertainment for my boys. On top of that it gives me ideas of what they want for Christmas or birthdays. Not that they get them all, but some of the cheaper items are good possibilities. We were walking around the store and we came to the Lego section. I found a cool Lego set. The price was $39.99. So, I came up with this brilliant idea. I showed my son the Lego set and he thought it was really cool as well. I stated that since it was forty dollars he wouldn't get it. My son said, "But, papa it is only $39.99 not forty dollars." I asked him what I did to get forty dollars? He stated he didn't understand. I said remember what we have been studying? That if the tens place has a number 1 to 4 you round down to the smaller dollar but if it is 5 to 9 you round to the highest dollar. Right there and than he understood. My son was going around to all the other items saying this one was nineteen dollars or thirty-seven dollars.
It took that small trip to Toys-R-Us for him to understand, but he finally does. This is the great thing about home schooling.
Don't rush your children into a new section of the subject if they don't understand the current one. Take extra time if it is needed. Even though it may be a little frustrating to you, it will benefit you and most importantly your child. We don't want "Any child left behind".
Make sure you give your child a hug and tell them that you love them.
Bart Buskey, Meridian, Idaho - Fatherville Contributer
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