My Child Hates to Write! 7 Homeschool Writing Tips

My Child Hates to Write! 7 Homeschool Writing Tips

My Child HATES to Write

Help!  My child hates to write!!!

As a homeschool coach, moms are constantly asking me to help them figure out how to help their kids write.  Or at least not hate it.

There is so much pressure out there to get our kids on target and writing sooner rather than later.  Homeschool moms are no exception to this academic pressure.

The problem is when we mommas react from a place of fear when our kids don’t meet academic expectations.   I’m no exception and have fallen into this trap way too many times.

But when it comes to helping our children learn to write, let me encourage you.  It’s all going to be ok.  

Don’t Panic

First, don’t panic.  Second, don’t push your kid out of fear.  It doesn’t work.

Trying to shove our square pegs into round holes does NOT create round pegs.  It creates broken squares.  Stop fighting against your child’s wiring and work with it.

In this post, I’ll share some of the major reasons why children hate writing.  And I’ll offer my best strategies to help your child become a more confident writer.  

My Child Hates To Write - Homeschool Tips

What’s The Ultimate Goal?

Goals for Our Children

Before we get into the writing, let’s ask ourselves the most important question when it comes to our kids.  

What’s our end goal?

Specifically, what is your goal for your unique child?  Who do you want your child to be as an adult? 

I’m convinced that on some level, we all will land along similar lines.  We all long for our kids to develop into confident, healthy and well-functioning adults.   

So if we agree on that point, let’s address this whole writing debacle through that lens.

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The Goal of Writing 

What is the objective of teaching our kids to write?  Really think about the ultimate goal of a writing assignment.

  • Is the end goal of writing handwritten letter symbols on a page?

If the answer is yes, then we are talking about the physical act of handwriting or penmanship.  That is definitely a worthwhile skill.  No doubt.

But I’m pretty sure the objective of a writing assignment is

  • To learn to communicate ideas and thoughts to the world.  

Assuming this is the case, we need to keep that goal in mind if we want our kids to become confident writers.

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Behavior is Information- Why does my child hate to write?

As I’ve mentioned a million times before this (and will likely do so at least another billion), when our kids resist learning, there is a reason. 

And while our culture tends to favor the belief that our kids are just lazy, there is often much more to it.

Friend, our kids hate writing for a reason.   It’s our job to help them find the reason.  Then we can help them fill in the gap so that they can move forward. 

As an example, let’s take a peek at the one writing assignment most Americans kids (and adults) have had to face.

Creative Writing 

Let’s talk about the dreaded creative writing assignment.  

Open your writing journals and write about what you did last summer.

For some kids, this is the kiss of death. 

  • Some kids are not as naturally imaginative and creative.
  • Many children struggle with working memory (the ability to hold information in their head long enough to process it).
  • Tons of children struggle with oral language gaps that make it difficult to process and organize their thoughts.

These kids may stare at that sheet of paper in horror.   

What kills me is that they are often fully capable of writing.  When given the chance, they can totally summarize their latest book, create a story and communicate a powerful message.

If we want our kids to write, we’ve got to make writing as accessible as possible.  For your child who hates to write, this means we have to remove the barriers.

Auditory Processing Disorder: 10 Ways to Help Your Child

#1 Give Them A Purpose

First and foremost, I don’t care what anyone has told you about your kid.  Your child is a blessing to this world.

As a Christ follower, I believe wholeheartedly that God has created each of our kids with gifts, passions and purpose.  Every.Single.Child.

We must instill in our kids a vision for themselves that they cannot see yet.  An effective teacher inspires greatness in her students. 

In the case of a child who hates writing, that may look like this. 

You, my friend, have a valuable message that needs to be communicated to the world.   We may not know what that message is right now, but I know God has a plan to use you to change the world.  

The power of intrinsic motivation cannot be forced.  But we mommas can create a spark that may develop into an all-consuming fire for our kids to see themselves as communicators.

We must make writing (communicating) an inherently valuable activity for children who hate to write.  And we can do this by giving them a purpose.  

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#2 Reframe Our Adult Thinking

When our children hate to write, calling them lazy doesn’t solve the problem.

He’s just being lazy.  He can hold a pencil just fine.

When was the last time you struggled with a new skill?  How would it have felt for someone to call you lazy?

Think about it.  How long has your child been printing or writing letters?

A year?  2?  4?  10 years?   Relatively speaking, the physical act of writing is a new skill for kids. 

If a child has eye tracking or fine motor weaknesses (even without a diagnosis), the physical act of writing can be the nail in the writing coffin.

When we are teaching a new skill to anyone who is not internally motivated to learn it, the last thing we want to do is combine multiple skills at once.  Or push them beyond their capacity to achieve success.

Solving Letter Reversals

Lifting Weights in the Gym?

When a grown adult decides to get in shape, they often need support through coaches or trainers.  

During their first session, a good trainer doesn’t walk up to an obviously out-of-shape client and tell them to lift the 100-lb barbell. 

The objective of the trainer is to support and push just far enough so that his client sees the possibility of success.   

He does not look around to see what weight everyone else is lifting.  He looks at the client in front of him and determines their ability and needs.  Only then does he choose the appropriate weight for his client.

This is referred to as the zone of proximal development.

The Zone of Proximal Development

When it comes to teaching, we must look at the unique child in front of us.  Then we determine the zone of proximal development for this unique learner. 

How far can we push THIS child based on what we know of THIS child?   If we want THIS child to take the next step in writing, we must shift our thinking and stop looking at all the kids around them.

My Kid Hates To Write | Homeschool Tips

Writing as Communication: A Complex Process

Writing by hand is a complex process that requires our brain to:

  • Manufacture thoughts and sentences that make sense, 
  • Search it’s memory bank to retrieve the proper sounds that make up those words and ideas, 
  • Associate the letter sounds to images of letter symbols,  
  • Transpose those letter symbols onto paper by coordinating the tiny muscles in the eyes, hands and fingers

Language development and handwriting are not always automatic in our kids when we begin to insist on writing activities. 

This is why it is essential that we reframe our thinking to look behind the behaviors to see the unique needs of our own children.  

#3 Provide Concrete Baby Steps

Let’s circle back to our summer creative writing assignment.  In order to help our kids move forward, we can offer simple supports. 

As long as the act of handwriting isn’t the main barrier, we can provide them with concrete baby steps. 

Start with one or two specific questions to answer. 

  • Tell me one thing you did this summer that made you smile. 
  • Who were you with when you did this?  
  • If you could enjoy that activity again, would you want to change it in some way?  In what way?

By offering just a few concrete questions, anxiety is reduced because the child doesn’t have to wonder what to write about. 

Accept What They Write

And the next step is KEY.  We must accept what our child offers.  This is critical for our children who hate to write.

Use what they’ve written to ask questions and show genuine interest.  This stimulates dialogue, deeper thinking and promotes crucial language development that will only serve our kids in other academic areas.

Homeschool Narration Supports the Child Who Hates to Write

This is why so many homeschoolers utilize the art of narration.

Narration is not simply a way to make things easier for our “lazy” kids.  It’s a strategy that starts with communication through oral language and conversation.

This helps develop crucial language skills that are foundational to every area of life and academics.

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#4 Scribe For Your Child

If your child is struggling with pencil and paper, move on to this step.

Get your child communicating through oral language first.   Momma Friend, if your kid hates to write, scribe for your child in freedom.  No one is cheating!

Oral communication is the precursor skill to writing and reading.

Listen to your child and write down what they say.  

You are equipping your child with the support he or she needs to grow as a communicator.  

A Note About Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia, a brain-based learning disability, may be the culprit. 

It may not, but with or without a dysgraphia diagnosis, kids often need to work on new writing skills in isolation.   Remove pen and paper if it will help your child become a communicator.

Solving Letter Reversals

But What About Penmanship?

Look.  These suggestions do not negate the importance of the physical act of writing.  Our kids need to work on handwriting skills and other fine motor skills for a variety of reasons.  

Using pencil to paper supports the connection of the left and right hemispheres of the brain, increases retention of new information, and is an immediate form of written communication.  

Work on penmanship in isolation for awhile until it becomes more fluent.

If the physical act of writing is a brick wall, remove it.  Find the starting point.  Most often, that will be through oral communication first.

#5 Model The Writing Process One Step at a Time

So if you are scribing for your child, you may want to walk through the process of writing in this way.

You may be able to get your child to sit next to you right away while they share their ideas aloud.  You may not.  If your child needs to move while articulating their thoughts, take notes first while they process aloud their “rough draft.” 

The next day, have them sit next to you while they read their own words aloud.  

Prompt them for more details or any other information they may want to add.  Have them watch as you model proper sentence structure and spelling.

Once this becomes a more fluent skill, have your child choose one sentence to copy on to a sheet of paper as handwriting practice or copywork.  

Devotional Christian Special Needs Mom

#6 Slowly Hand Over the Reigns

When this becomes easier, slowly transition responsibilities over to your child at his or her pace.  

  1. Have your child narrate their story or summary into an Iphone.
  2. Then have your child take on the role of the scribe by writing (or typing) a few sentences. (You pick up where they leave off.)  
  3. Continue with these scaffolding supports and slowly build upon your child’s capacity.

Work this way over a couple of months.  This sets up your student to be calm, confident and motivated.   

Ultimately, the goal is to watch your child slowly take more ownership of communicating through the written word.

And I promise you that this will yield far greater results than trying to force your child to do that which they are not ready to do.

True learning for the longhaul is often served well by “Less is More.”

Tip #7 Remember The Power of You

You have an incredible ability to influence your child.  The words we choose with our kids can make or break their spirits. 

When our kids have the undivided attention of a supportive adult, confidence builds.  Internal motivation to communicate through words grows.  

As the process of articulating and communicating orally becomes automatic, so does the likelihood that our kids will move to the next stage.

I’ve seen this happen with my own daughter, my students and with my homeschool coaching families.

Equip The Child Who Hates to Write

Remember penmanship is not the goal of the writing assignment.  Practice penmanship separately from new concepts and skills.  Your child who hates writing will pick up a pen when intrinsically motivated.  

By God’s grace, we live in a day and age where technology affords us with a ton of alternative ways to communicate our ideas through words.

When the gatekeeper of written communication is the physical act of writing, we doom many kids to fail as writers.  We hold them back from communicating their messages to the world.

Just imagine if Annie Sullivan decided the only way for Helen Keller to communicate had to be through oral language or handwritten words?  

Give your child the keys that will unlock the writing door.  Friend, it’s ok to parent and educate the child that God gave you.

Even when it looks differently from everyone else.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

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7 Empowering Tips for Homeschool Beginners

7 Empowering Tips for Homeschool Beginners

7 Homeschool Tips for Beginners

Looking for homeschool tips for beginners?  You’re not alone.

Moms everywhere are contemplating homeschooling for the very first time.   

Sadly, many are hesitant because they mistakenly believe they aren’t qualified to teach their children.  

If this is you, let me reassure you.   As an educator myself, I am confident that you can do this. 

Here are 7 tips to encourage any mom considering homeschooling this fall.

Crazy, Uncertain but Totally Doable Times

No doubt.  We’re living in interesting and somewhat crazy times.

Once quarantine hit, ladies everywhere were strangled by the unrealistic demands of pandemic schooling.  

It’s no wonder why so many moms are freaking out.  

Guess what?  Can I let you in on a little secret?

Pandemic schooling is not even close to homeschooling.  

And this is such good news!

What are you going to do?

So if you’re considering homeschooling, but you’ve been up at night asking yourself,

Can I do this?

Am I crazy?

Deep breaths.   We’re all just people doing our very best with what we know at any given time. 

You can make a decision that is different than your neighbor and that is OK.  There is no right or wrong answer.

Homeschool Tips For Beginners

Your Kid is Not Everyone Else’s Kid

As homeschool coach, I support moms so they can provide their kids with a stellar education at home.  We work together to create homeschool plans based on each child’s individual needs.  Homeschooling at it’s finest is not based on a one-size-fits-all approach.  

I’ve done this long enough to know that any mom who has the desire can do this.

What You Need to Know

So what do you need to know as you contemplate the big homeschool decision?   Here are my top tips for the homeschool beginner.  Information, My Friend, is power.  

1. Children thrive when an invested adult offers one-on-one support in a safe environment.

Let’s think about this logically.

Parent support with homework and reading is one of the strongest indicators of student academic success.  

Why? Because one-on-one teaching time is extremely effective and efficient. When a supportive adult is there to offer insight, check for understanding and ultimately to encourage, children thrive.

2. You Don’t Have to Be An Expert

But I am not a teacher.  How can I teach math and science?

Shift your thinking and co-learn alongside your child.  Can you read?  Then you can learn and facilitate learning.

There is an abundance of homeschool curricula out there.  And this is good stuff.  Homeschool curriculum is made with the parent-teacher in mind.  

Don’t start off purchasing homeschool curriculum made made for the traditional school system.  Look for programs that are made for homeschool parent teachers.  (More on choosing the best materials later.)  

Why You Can Homeschool

3. Co-Learn & The Power of Conversation

Partner with your child.  Dig in to topics of interest.  Read books.  Engage in discussion and ask questions.   Dialogue is key.

Processing aloud with your child yields incredible fruit.  Conversation activates areas of the brain that are not employed through passive listening (think lecture).

When we stop to ask our kids their thoughts and really listen, we model respect for them as thinkers.  And, more importantly, that we value their ideas.

That increses motivation, child engagement, and ultimately, leads to the highly effective discovery-based learning.

Go on nature walks and explore creation together.  Be intentional about using our ability to “be still and observe.”  The fall is an excellent time to use nature study units in your homeschool.  Check out these easy fall nature studies by Cindy at Our Journey Westward.   

Our Journey Westward

4. No Wasted Time

There is no way I can do this!  I don’t have time.

Let me remind you that homeschooling is NOT school at home.  Homeschooling is time efficient.  Public schools are a system.  The traditional school day is filled with time-intensive extras that have nothing to do with learning. 

  • Lining up,
  • Roll call, 
  • Moving from one class to the next,
  • Reviewing problems that only meet the needs of a few in the class,
  • Fire drills, etc. 

These are systematic time-suckers that aren’t applicable to homeschooling.  

Solving Letter Reversals

5. Learning Is Always Happening in Homeschool

Think about it.  

How much one-on-one teaching time does a child typically receive on a school day?

Maybe 5 minutes if they’re lucky, right?

Just a few minutes of focused one-on-one teaching at home can equal an entire class period.  Circle back to homeschool tip #1.  When an adult is there to catch mistakes or confusion, issues are addressed on-the-spot.  

What takes 6 hours in an institutionalized system can often be accomplished in just a couple of hours at home.  (Of course, this all depends on your child’s capacity, age and needs.)

There are no rules about when and where learning takes place.  In homeschool, everyone is aware of what is being learned.  As such, natural conversations and connections are made even on a Saturday.

Confidence Boosting Homeschool Tips For Beginners

6. Freedom to Choose Makes All The Difference

A major issue with crisis schooling was that moms were told what, when and how to do it.

I’d lose my mind if someone tried to tell me what curricula, timeline, and plan to use with my kids.  Literally, with no insight into:

  • My child’s wiring, strengths & interests,
  • Time capacity,
  • Parent-child dynamics,
  • Needs of siblings,
  • My teaching and learning style, etc…

I could go on and on.  Moms, teachers, and kids were set up for failure.  When homeschooling, you create the plan.

Effective Teaching For Homeschooling

7. If You Want This, You Can Do This!

If you want this for your child, you can do this.  You don’t need a fancy diploma on your wall to give your child an incredible education as a homeschool beginner.

In fact, those of us with education backgrounds often struggle those first few years trying to replicate school at home.  Don’t fall into the trap.  It’s not worth it.

Always think:  What’s the goal of education?  True Learning.

Read good books, take your kids outdoor and explore with intention, and follow your child’s interests.   You can do this!

Our Journey Westward

8 Favorite Language Arts Programs According to Veteran Moms

So how to you choose the best homeschool curriculum for your unique child?  Recently, I surveyed veteran homeschool moms and asked them to share their favorite language arts programs.  They were eager to share!   So what homeschool programs did these moms love the most?

The number choice one surprised and intrigued me.  So what was number one?

1. Master Books

Melissa Cochran, M.Ed., is a former principal, reading specialist, and kindergarten teacher.  She homeschools 2 teens with ASD, ADHD, PTSD, Anxiety, SPD, and PDD (Persistent Depressive Disorder).

She describes her homeschool as “it’s like alphabet soup around here”!  With so many nuances to how her kids learn, Master Books has been a hit in her home!

Master Books curriculum is open-and-go. The curriculum is written to the student and is easy for new homeschoolers to jump into without feeling overwhelmed.  Bonus! They have materials for Social Studies and Science, too.

To continue to the #2 recommended homeschool language arts curriculum, continue reading here.  

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Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

Best Homeschool Math For Struggling Students

Best Homeschool Math For Struggling Students

Best homeschool math curriculum for struggling students

This is part two of a two part series answering the question,

“How to choose the best homeschool math curriculum for struggling students?”

If you have not read part one, definitely check it out.

In it we discuss the 5 Tips every mom needs to know before purchasing homeschool math curriculum.  Save yourself money, stress and time and read that here.

In today’s post, some veteran homeschool moms share their opinions on the best homeschool math curriculum for struggling students.  For all intents and purposes, we are using the term “struggling students” to describe:

  1. ADHD
  2. Autism
  3. Dyscalculia
  4. Dyslexia
  5. Any other learning difference
  6. Kids who just hate math

If your child tends to struggle with math, regardless of the reason, this post is for you.

Homeschool Math curriculum struggling students

Mastery Vs Spiral Based Homeschool Math

There are two different approaches to math curricula out there: spiral-based and mastery-based.    I discuss these in more detail in Part One.  

  • Mastery-based 
  • Spiral-based 

Here is a brief explanation of the two and important factors to consider when deciding which will be best for your student.

Mastery-based curriculum focuses on one concept at a time.  The goal is for the student to master the concept before moving on to the next math skill.

Spiral-based homeschool math curriculum reviews previously learned material while learning new concepts.  Both mastery and spiral approaches have their pros and cons.  Again, check out this post for more info.  

Mastery-Based Homeschool Math Curricula

1. Learn Math Fast

Beckye Barnes, of Beckye Barnes Consulting, recommends Learn Math Fast.  

We have enjoyed Learn Math Fast. It works for all ages and it starts with the basics.  You only move forward once you master the concepts. It is mastery-based and teachers the concepts without busy work.  An excellent choice for those who need a refresher course.

Beckye points to the importance of solidifying foundational math skills.

They also focus on foundational skills in a real world way. Basic addition and subtraction is taught using pennies. I think fractions is explained using a dollar then four quarters. It also focuses on learning the concept without endless worksheets.

Beckye Barnes, homeschool mom, Autism, PTSD, ADHD, dyslexia & dysgraphia.  She just graduated a student with a 4.868 GPA who is entering college as a freshman with 30 college credits.

Learn Math Fast was a game changer for my daughter with dysgraphia.  LMF breaks the lessons down to make it easier to understand, and they keep it simple.

Colleen Webster, homeschool mom of 4, also loves Learn Math Fast.  Her daugheter has dyscalculia, and has tried several math curriculum options. LMF was the first that explained certain concepts in a way she understands.

My daughter felt like she could follow along better with the shorter explanations they gave. She benefited from the break down of each equation into bite size pieces.

Colleen Webster, homeschool mom of 4, dyslexia and ADHD, dyscalcula and dysgraphia

2. Life of Fred 

Life of Fred is a mastery-based math curriculum that is completely unconventional, but is extremely effective for our right-brained kids.  

The Life of Fred series is a literature-based math curriculum that follows the narrative of the main character, Fred.  Fred is a child genius living life as a 5 year-old child on a college campus.  Told you it was unconventional.  Ha!

Each book focuses on one math concept and, through story, teaches the concepts in a way that is highly engaging and clever.  Like Learn Math Fast and other mastery-based programs, this series is meant to be read in order regardless of your child’s age.  The storyline and concepts build upon one another to provide the student with a solid understanding of math.

This series is an excellent series to supplement your child’s understanding of math or some use it as the basis of their entire math program.

I highly recommend it if you have a child who HATES math but loves story.  This program goes all the way up through college-level math including Calculus

2. Math U See

What math does a math professor use in her homeschool?  Melanie Fulton of, The Math Profs, 

For math we do Math-U-See, but we add a lot of supplemental math with it. When you have two math parents in the house EVERYTHING can become a math problem.

Melanie, received her PhD in math from Virginia Tech University, she explains more about the benefits of Math U See.

MUS works for us.  The lessons aren’t too long–and sometimes we don’t even do a whole lesson in 1 day.  

She also points out the clutter-free layout of the pages which is helpful for kids who struggle with visual discrimination.

The books and worksheets are plain–not tons of pictures or stories to distract.  There is a video included so that my children don’t have to have mom or dad teach it.  And there are manipulatives to see what is going on. 

Melanie Fulton, Math-loving mama who homeschools her 4 children and often employs the aid of chicken, dairy goat, cat, and dog math tutors.  (www.themathprofs.com)    

The Love Just Keeps Pouring Out: Math U See for Struggling Students 

Katherine, homeschool mom of 4 different learners, tells us that despite a whole host of learning differences,

Math U See works for us because it is very sequential.  This is essential for struggling learners.  The program helps with retaining math skills by focusing on one math concept at a time.

We have always used MUS, because my bookends definitely need the mastery-based curriculum.

My middle 2 could probably handle spiral, but they are doing great, so there hasn’t been a need to change.

Katherine Fain, homeschooling for 7 years, Autism, Auditory processing disorder, Dysgraphia and probably more

Homeschool Math Planning

Spiral-based Homeschool Math Curricula

1. The Good and The Beautiful

Melanie loves The Good and the Beautiful for math.

I have loved The Good and the Beautiful Math for my ADHD-kiddo.  Each math lesson is a different activity.  I thought I didn’t like it at first because it’s a spiral approach, but now I LOVE it because it’s a spiral approach! Ha!  

Like me, Melanie understands the importance of shorter lessons to allow her kids push through an entire lesson.  She also raves about the shorter lessons.  

Lessons take 15-20 min max.  We are still learning our basic facts, but we are also learning time and money while playing games. My kids really LOVE it!  

special needs homeschool math

Spiral-Based Homeschool Math For Struggling Learners

2. Teaching Textbooks

We love Teaching Textbooks.  We’ve been homeschooling for about 8 years. One kid who just doesn’t like math, one with special needs, and one who finds math easy. Teaching Textbooks has worked well for all of them.

Krista, 10 years homeschooling, 3 kids, Girl 17, ADHD, Boy, 15 ASD, G 12 Diva

Magda Miller has been homeschooling her two kids for going on 8 years.

I second Teaching Textbooks. I have a very self-motivated, math-minded older child who started TT when he was 5.  It just clicked.  I thought his less math inclined younger sister might not do as well with the system, but I was pleasantly proved wrong. 

Like so many homeschool moms, she points out how nicely Teaching Textbooks supports moms.

Teaching Textbooks does the teaching and the grading.  I am more involved with my younger child’s movement through the program, but it still allows for her to be very independent in her learning and it sticks.  She is learning and retaining.

 Ma Miller, homeschool mom of 2 rockstar kids, suspected ADHD, ASD 

homeschool math for struggling students

What Spiral-Based Math Worked in My Own Homeschool?

3. Christian Light

Within my own homeschool, we have used a variety of math materials for our ADHD and math-minded family.  One of our favorite spiral-based math curricula is Christian Light Math.   I like Christian Light for several reasons.  

1. Christian Light is broken up into ten worktexts for each grade level.  

This, in and of itself, is highly motivating to our kids who like to check things off their lists.  Every finished worktext feels like an accomplishment. 

2. It thorough and on the advanced side.  This is great for your math-minded kids.  

3. The program is student-led.   All of Christian Light materials are designed to be student-led.  As such are visually appealing and broken up into smaller chunks.  Each workbook is easy to follow without being overwhelming. 

4. The price!  Christian Light materials are very affordable.  

Pivoting Between Mastery & Spiral When Needed

Despite loving this math curriculum, eventually we hit a wall with it.  We moved away from Christian Light as math concepts increased in complexity.  

As we neared Algebra, my oldest needed to focus on one concept at a time in order to best process, retain and develop mastery.  We shifted to a mastery, topic based curriculum, Developmental Math, in order to solidify very specific math concepts to prep her for Algebra.  Being willing to temporarily pivot when we hit that wall, made all the difference in the world for her as she entered Algebra.

Another Homeschool Math Resource I Love

When the traditional approach doesn’t work, whether it be for an entire subject or a particular math concept, I am always open to pivot.  

Having a number of homeschool math tools in your tool box is always a good idea.  I’ve found this math program to be super helpful.

Math Minutes

Math Minutes is a simple math workbook designed to hit the most important math concepts.  The workbook series is very concise and is extremely manageable for our kids who dislike math.  There are only 10 math problems each day which is a huge plus for kids with ADHD.  However, the math problems are intentionally chosen to support foundational math skills.

Each workbook is focused on a general grade level.  I believe these were originally created as a supplement for traditional grade-level math.  However, when used as math spine, this can be an excellent tool.  A math spine refers to a framework of sorts to guide your teaching.

Please note that there is no teaching in this workbook.  However, this is a great tool that can help you easily assess where your child may need additional support.

When my daughter used Math Minutes, any problems she struggled with were the concepts that we could go over together.  This preserved her limited capacity for math to be used on the concepts that she needed to focus on.

Math Minutes is a great tool to support math in a non-threatening way.  Don’t buy into the hype that your child has to do endless amounts of math problems in order to learn.  This is simply not the case.  When teaching the struggling student, work with the grain and think “less is more.”

Homeschool Math Curriculum For Your Struggling Student

Ultimately, what homeschool math curriculum is best for your child will be based on a number of factors.  Understanding who your child is, how your child is wired and your own capacity, will guide you to make the best decision. 

As you make curriculum buying decisions, grab a copy of the homeschool 101 planning guide that I’ve created for you.  It includes prompts to help you identify the most important information that’ll help you choose the best math curriculum.  The best choice for your uniquely-wired student in this specific season. 

Ready For Homeschool Language Arts?

If you are looking for help choosing the right homeschool language arts curriculum, you’re in luck.

Before ever looking at curriculum options with my homeschool clients, I walk them through a series of questions.  I’m always looking to identify their child’s wiring and learning style in order to best support learning.  Continue reading to find out the best language arts curriculum for your child.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

Orton Gillingham Method For Struggling Readers

Orton Gillingham Method For Struggling Readers

Orton Gillingham Method & Struggling Readers

Have you heard of the Orton Gillingham method?  What about the All About Reading program?

Do you have a struggling reader in your home?

Sadly, as of 2016, roughly 36 million adults struggled with basic reading and writing skills.

This alone is tragic.  And can have devastating impacts on lifestyle, emotional well-being, access to decent-paying jobs… to name just a few.

Whether you are a homeschool educator or a teacher in a traditional classroom, we all agree that we want our kids to read.

Ultimately, child who can confidently read is on their way to a lifestyle of learning, knowledge and a brighter future.

So what happens when your own child struggles to read? 

What do we do when our kids resist reading or “hate” reading?

When a child has dyslexia, a learning difference or simply struggles to catch on, how we approach our kids’ reading challenges has vast implications.

This is why it is crucial for parents to be armed with information and resources to support their struggling student.

Orton Gillingham Method

One alternative reading teaching method is the Orton-Gillingham (OG) method.   

Orton Gillingham is a teaching approach that explicitly teaches the relationships between letters, combinations of letters and their sounds.

It is multi-sensory which means it uses multiple parts of the brain in order to solidify reading component skills.  

Multi-Sensory: The 5 Senses?

When speaking of the term multi-sensory, this simply refers to the various sensory systems within the body.

And while we now know that the body contains dozens of sensory systems, for the sake of this post, we will focus on the basic 5 senses.

Think of the senses that you learned about in grade school.

  • Sight
  • Taste
  • Hearing
  • Touch
  • Smell

Basically, each sensory system is designed to allow the brain to receive and process information from the outside world.

This is what many parents of uniquely-wired kids know as sensory input.

We know that a child with ADHD or autism may need specific sensory input in order to function well in day-to-day activities.

This same concept applies to learning in general.  The brain often needs multiple forms of sensory input specific to what is being learned.

An OG Example

Using the Orton Gillingham method of teaching reading, let’s look at an example.

When engaged in reading lessons, the teacher may have a child learn basic phonics sounds in the following way:

  • the child sees a letter symbol on a card (visual), 
  • builds the letter with clay (kinesthetic or touch), 
  • hears an adult modeling the sounds aloud (auditory), 
  • the child would then repeat back the sound (oral output) aloud (auditory )

Again, this multi-sensory learning approach is often highly effective.

All About Reading

All About Learning Press

All About Learning is a homeschool curriculum company that uses the Orton-Gillingham method.  

They have two programs lines to support literacy with each complementing one another.

  1. All About Spelling 
  2. All About Reading

This homeschool reading curriculum is highly effective, engaging and visually appealing for both parent-teacher and student alike.  

All About Reading

Orton Gillingham Method: Outside-the-Box

Both All About Spelling and All About Reading work well for our outside-the-box thinkers.  

The curriculum materials include:

  • Hands-on letter tiles, 
  • A systematic flash card system (unlike any I have ever used) that provides explicit and incremental instruction, 
  • Leveled readers that are engaging, fun, and well-illustrated, 
  • and easy to follow step-by-step teaching guides for parent teachers.

No stress on momma!!  Can I get an amen?!!

Letter Tiles & Systematic Flash Card System

Speaking to the intentional design of All About Reading and All About Spelling, the sequential flash card system is brilliant.

Children learn all the letter sounds for each letter and combination of letters. 

Rather than teaching our children that the English language doesn’t make sense or follow rules, it specifically teaches the patterns within our language.  For example,

  • c says “s” before i, e & y
  • a says “a” (cat), “A” (skate) and “ahh” (all)- this is laid out right away before official spelling or reading instruction begins
  • syllable division rules are explicitly taught
    • Open Syllables (represented by an open door image) have a long vowel sound (We)
    • Closed Syllables (represented by a closed door image) have a short vowel sound (hat)

Instead of waiting until kids are “older” to teach these ideas, these are assumed foundational skills that are taught at the lower levels.  

Homeschool Reading Dyslexia

All About Learning Press in My Home

Personally, some of the sweetest homeschool memories that we have had in my home involved our time using All About Spelling.

I actually taught my girls to read using a completely different reading instruction approach called the DISTAR method.  We used the book Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons.

Ultimately, my girls learned to read fairly easily using this resource.

However, once we had “mastered” reading, I wanted to give them a solid teaching in spelling and further strengthen their reading skills.

All About Spelling was an incredible blessing to us in a surprising way.  All About Spelling is chock full of literacy support that came from more deeply understanding the English language through spelling rules.

Both my girls loved physically manipulating the letter tiles.  The tiles’ color-coding of vowels, consanonts, vowel teams, etc. were highly effective.

All About Learning: Teaching the Teacher

Honestly, each lesson seemed to be an “aha” moment for me as the teacher.

Finally reading and spelling rules were no longer ambigous and without meaning.  The program provided me the key to put the puzzle pieces together.

Homeschooling and using All About Learning press’s materials have ultimately helped me become a better teacher.

Honestly, I have learned more about reading instruction through their curriculum than I ever did in graduate school.  And I earned my MA in Teaching!

 

Solving Letter Reversals

Starting Over With All About Reading

This year, I will be starting at the beginning again.  While my oldest is going into high school, my middle is going into middle school, I will be starting kindergarten with my boy.

My son has cognitive differences including a severe speech and language delay.  Because of this, I have to be very intentional with my reading curriculum choice.

I’ve decided that in order to best equip him with what he needs to thrive as a reader, we will be using All About Reading this year.

I will post an update about his progress soon.  Can’t wait!

all about reading, all about spelling

Reading aloud TO your child as a reading strategy

In addition to seeking out alternative reading curriculum, I highly recommend reading aloud to your struggling reader.  Reading aloud to your child will yield incredible fruit including:

  • Language development 
  • Reading comprehension skills
  • Exposure to rich vocabulary
  • Deepened family connection and so much more…

For more on reading together as a family.

Solving Letter Reversals

Neurodiversity With The Orton-Gillingham Method

Kids are unique in so many ways.  This diversity includes neurodiversity. 

Our children (and all people) learn in different ways and develop at different times. 

I am convinced that every student can excel when equipped to learn based on who they are and their own wiring.  

Therefore, teachers and parents need to be equipped with appropriate strategies for struggling readers. 

If our goal is to equip our children to become literate learners, we must be willing to think outside-the-box.  

And how cool is it that we can homeschool our children in this country? 

Not only that, but we can provide them with superior instruction using programs such as All About Reading.

So, Friend, what strategies and programs have you used with your struggling or resistant reader?  Do tell!

Comment below.  We are all in this together.

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Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

Strategies For Struggling Readers

Strategies For Struggling Readers

Strategies For Struggling Readers

Are you looking for effective teaching strategies for your struggling reader? 

Are you fearful that your child will become one of the tens of millions of US adults who don’t have basic literacy skills?

Reading and writing open doors to a better quality of life on so many levels.  

For many children, traditional reading instruction strategies are effective. 

Unfortunately, however, those same strategies are also just as ineffective for others.   This is when parents and educators need to take notice.

Same lessons and methods 

When we insist on using the same teaching methods for all kids due to convenience, we set them up for a lifetime of failure. 

Often kids who learn differently can easily be led to believe that they are inherently bad students and readers. 

Understandably, they mentally give up due to frustration.    

Think about it.  Who wants to repetitively engage in an activity that causes tears, anxiety and frustration?

I know, I don’t.

Of course, the last thing we want is for kids to struggle with and hate reading. 

We know the value and importance of reading, but often hit a wall when we run out of strategies for our struggling reader.

The Value of Reading

Fortunately, as a society we espouse the importance of literacy for all children. 

That statement is definitely true on the surface.

However, when we dig deeper into how we equip children to read, many begin to think differently.

It is not uncommon in our educational culture to determine that a child is “behind” in reading at ages as early as 6 or 7.

This message is communicated to Mom or Dad with an urgency that reading needs to improve quickly in order to be “ready for the next grade level.”

Arguably, we are standing on a dangerous precipice when we make these judgement calls based upon one modality of reading instruction and age alone.

We must begin to view effective reading instruction with the child’s “wiring” in mind.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you which allows me to continue offering as much free content as possible. I appreciate your support.

reading help, dyslexia, adhd, homeschool

Adults Who Hate To Read

How many children do you know who think they “hate reading”?  

Now think about the many adults that won’t even think of picking up a book. 

Read a book as a form of entertainment?  Heck no. 

When we dig deeper, it is often because they think they hate reading.

Many adults explain that they were never good at reading when they were in school. 

I argue that these adults were likely not equipped in a way that they could process and understand.  

If we want to prevent the next generation from falling into the reading is the enemy trap, then we must be willing to explore alternative teaching strategies for struggling readers. 

Unrealistic expectations of our children

One of the side-effects of educational and developmental benchmarks is the inherent message that all kids should fit into this box.

When kids don’t respond to the traditional teaching approach and on the benchmark timelines, trouble ensues. 

Parents are under so much pressure to make their child read just like everyone else

When mom or dad aren’t informed about optional teaching approaches and learning styles, they lean in harder.  

Children struggle even more when pushed to read using strategies that inherently conflict with the way they learn.

Additionally, parents often make themselves crazy in the process in a desperate attempt to keep up with the student Joneses

  • Running their kiddos to various academic interventions  
  • Engaging in fights with their struggling reader as they push for them to read more

Unfortunately, when this occurs early in a child’s education or becomes the pattern, our kids learn the wrong thing. 

These kids learn to hate learning and worse, they begin to believe that they are dumb.  

Consequently, the idea of picking up a book causes tears, anxiety and frustration for the child (and mom or dad).

Very few adults have the capacity to fight an uphill battle every day. 

So why do we force kids to learn such a crucial life skill in a way that often times conflicts with the way they learn?  

homeschool reading, adhd, anxious child, dyslexia

Think Long-Term

Life is a gift given to us by God Himself and it is a journey. 

No two people are exactly the same.

Ultimately, a child who grows up feeling “behind” can easily believe himself incapable of learning.   

Forcing children to push through reading material based on grade level benchmarks is not good.  It can often lead them on an unintended detour of a lifetime of reading aversion.  

By taking this detour, kids miss the basic foundational skills of reading in the name of “keeping on grade level.”    

Sadly, Learned helplessness is a real force that creates its own set of mental health issues. 

This ultimately costs far more than whether a child reads on grade-level at age 7 or 8 or even 10.

Neurodiversity: Strategies for struggling readers 

Our brains, like our bodies, develop differently and at varying times.

  • Would we ever shame a young 14 year-old girl because her body isn’t as developed as other girls her age?  
  • Would we tell a young man that he is not achieving his potential if his voice was still an octave higher than his peers?

Of course not.

Why then do this to our children when it comes to brain development and its impact on their reading skills?

reading, family, read aloud, children's books, homeschool

Strategies For Struggling Readers- The One That Works

There are many variables at play in the effectiveness of any one teaching strategy. 

And we know that reading can be the gatekeeper to a life of success.

This is why it is critical that adults seek out alternative approaches for the struggling readers in their lives.   

Check out Part 2 of this post where we explore an alternative reading methodology.  The Orton-Gillingham method of reading instruction is a systematic approach to reading instruction.

It has been shown to be a very effective teaching method for kids with dyslexia and many other learning differences.

I also share one of my favorite homeschool reading programs that is based on this awesome reading method.

Could it be the right approach for your child?

Read on and let’s find out if this alternative reading instructional strategy can support your unique thinker.  

Do you have a struggling or resistant reader in your home?

Did you grow up thinking you were a bad reader?  

What has worked and what hasn’t?  Comment below and share.

We are in this together, Friend!

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Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

Homeschool Writing Instruction with IEW

Homeschool Writing Instruction with IEW

Homeschool Writing Curriculum That Works

Homeschool writing instruction does not have to be painful for the student or the homeschool mom.  So many homeschool moms worry when their child hates to write because she often hears…

I can’t do this.

My hand hurts.

I hate this!

Please.  No!!

Don’t fear, Sweet Momma.  Today I offer up some stress-free writing strategies to help reluctant or resistant writers build confidence in writing.   No more tears and stress!  Check out the podcast episode and find relief from the homeschool battles.

While you can use the strategies I provide without purchasing a curriculum, I do share my absolute favorite homeschool writing program.

Hint… Andrew Pudewa… Institute for Excellence in Writing.   Can I say amazing??!!!

When in doubt, remember your goal.    Think outside-the-box with me and let’s equip our kids to thrive!

Also, for a more in-depth explantation and guide to remove writing barriers for our kids, listen to Episode #20.  Or, if you prefer to read it, check out the blog post My Child Hates to Write! 7 Homeschool Writing Tips

homeschool writing tips, reluctant writer

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

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