When I first started homeschooling, I worried about how I would meet the needs of my oldest son. He loves to learn and is very smart, but he cannot be still. If I literally try to hold him still, something continues to move (usually his hands or feet). He also doesn’t like to write. And did I mention that his attention span is virtually non-existent?
For awhile I thought that if I could just find the perfect homeschool philosophy or curriculum that all of our problems would be solved. I spent a lot of money on different things. My son struggled and cried. I cried and occasionally threw a book across the room (not at my child). I finally realized that I simply needed to find a way to make the curriculum work for my son.
Are you wondering how you can take something that is already put together and tweak it to make it work better for your child?
I have a few ideas to help you get started as you are adapting homeschool curriculum.
Incorporate Movement Into Your Lessons
Instead of trying to force my son to sit completely still during lessons, I have learned to embrace the fidgets and wiggles as much as I can. We play catch with small balls or bean bags while he recites math facts. When I ask him to skip count I have him do jumping jacks at the same time. When we are learning new words I write them on the sidewalk and have him hop from word to word as I call them out. He shoots math answers with water guns or water balloons.
Read Aloud Whenever Possible
My son is a pretty good reader, but his comprehension is much better when I read to him. So while I still give him shorter reading assignments that he completes on his own, I spend a lot of time reading aloud to him. I give him something to do with his hands (playdough, puzzles, LEGOS, etc.) and I read from a history or science book. He is able to focus on my words and narrate back what I’ve read easily most days.
Don’t Write If You Don’t Have To
My son has some sensory issues that make writing a challenge for him at times. We have some fine motor exercises that help with this, but I have found that just not overwhelming him with writing assignments is what helps the most. Some of the curriculum that I use comes with tests and worksheets. We don’t use them. If I feel the need to go over the material on those pages we do it orally. He is still reviewing the material and answering the questions. If it’s something that needs to be recorded and he isn’t up to writing, I write what he tells me.
For copywork and handwriting practice I have found that combining it with other subjects works really well. When we are working on science for the day I will often ask my son for a narration, copy it on a white board, and then give it to him to copy on his own paper.
LaToya Edwards is a certified biblical life coach, writer and speaker with a passion for encouraging and equipping women to find their passion and purpose. You can find LaToya blogging about finding joy in motherhood and God’s purpose and plan in broken circumstances at www.LaToyaEdwards.net.