Little Jimmy is bouncing up and down in his chair. He starts tapping his pencil on the table and humming. Soon his humming escalates to a song he is singing aloud as he works. His sister is concentrating on her assignment and nudges him to be quiet. Jimmy yells back at her. And in his excitement he stands up from the chair and it clatters to the floor. Mom comes to his side and sits the chair up. She tells Jimmy to go back to his writing assignment. Jimmy is upset and frustrated. It takes mom a few moments to calm him down. After sitting down he refocuses on his homework. Soon his foot is tapping the floor loudly. His mouth is making the noise of a car as he pretends his pencil is a truck. His sister is growing angry that her own concentration is being disturbed. Mom has to seperate the children and put her daughter in another area of the room or another room to focus. Mom is losing her patience with Jimmy. He has worked on the paper far longer than she had planned for this to take. As Jimmy begins to get rowdier, mom begins to get more frustrated.
Jimmy has ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Somedays every activity one tries with Jimmy is a challenge. He can not control his erratic, noisy behavior. He can not control his attention span. His playing while working is not a sign of how much he cares about his work. It’s a sign of a problem beyond his control. His sibling’s distress at his behavior is indicative of a classmate or friend who has to share a learning environment with Jimmy. Not only is it challenging to teach Jimmy but it is a challenge to keep other children from being distracted by his behavior. But there are solutions to this problem and the others that learning disabled children face.
Homeschooling reminds one a lot of parenting – a tough job with infinite rewards. Finding out your child may or does possess a learning disability remind yourself of why you have chosen homeschooling. Remind yourself the great many rewards that comes from being successful in the endeavor. Once you have positively reinforced yourself, take the time to research the disability. Learn exactly what it is, the negative influences it can raise while in school, and common advice on the issue. Disabilities can present themselves in various ways. Parents that are raising disabled children of any form do the best job when they keep themselves well informed of the issues.
During your research, you may also encounter methods of teaching the child with these difficulties. Try the various ideas and strategies and find a method that works best for you and the child. Homeschooling has a big advantage over public schools in experimenting with various strategies until one works and sticks. It is much harder for a teacher in a classroom to completely reverse the learning process to cater to one student’s needs. Teachers also face hardships with superiors and school districts when changing traditional ways of learning. Parents in homeschool do not face these issues. It is much easier to reverse a traditional way of thinking and break the mold with a new concept. Do not be afraid of facing change and taking steps to insure your child recieves the best quality of education possible. The following link is just one example of a website that may be useful in your research. There are many more than one out there. It’s easy to research and find the program that works for you.
Another obstacle with the parent teaching a learning disabled child is the frustration. If the child has a short attention span and can’t focus on a topic as long as needed in a given time frame, the parent might find themselves feeling very frustrated. Make sure that you plan for some independant activity in these cases so that you can take a step away from the situation. Release a few breaths, squeeze a stress relieving object, or just take a few moments to get your teacher face on again. When dealing with our own children it is so easy to lose sight of our role in the classroom. We forget we are the teacher and we want to be the upset mom and get upset with the child. Remind yourself what you are doing is important and why. Ask yourself how you would be handling these frustrations if it were someone else’s child not your own. And then realize your child isn’t doing this on purpose to frustrate you. In a true learning disability case, the child can not control their behavior. Once you have found your center again, evaluate the independant work your child has done and get the classes rolling again.
It is very important to realize that as frustrating as this for the teacher or parent, it is as much a problem to the student. They do not always enjoy being the center of attention or being punished for things they can not control. The dyslexic reader hates to be embarrassed by being called upon to read aloud in front of siblings and other children. Sometimes these children develop low self esteem and fall in the trap of negative behavior because of negative thinking. When teaching them, it is very important to stay positive. Not to blame the child for things beyond their control. Find an area they excel in and spend time developing that as well. Encourage them when they show efforts. Praise them when they have good quiz scores or do well with an assignment. Try to avoid negative enforcements like pointing out how difficult they behave or how hard they struggled.
When the teacher and student can work together to overcome the obstacles, both will feel better in the long run about the success. This is perhaps, even more important for the parent and child in the homeschool environment. Once you work together to get to the positive end of the road, both are more appreciative and loving for the understanding and compassion that went into the journey.