The moment I realized that my daughter was an auditory learner was a eureka moment for me. After weeks of teaching her the sight word “the” by asking her to look at it (that’s why it’s called a sight word, after all), we tried making a chant to spell out the word. “T-H-E says the.” It clicked instantly.
I observed her for several more occasions and saw how, during a light show, she was not enthralled by the lights, but was dancing with abandon to the music. She loves books and being read to, but asking her to read independently is a chore. She has a good command of language and uses new vocabulary in daily conversation.
I finally embraced the fact that our learning styles are different and that I should adjust my teaching style to meet hers.
Knowing my daughter has definitely helped keep peace in our homeschool. Still, there are times when the lessons just.won’t.stick! And whether you homeschool or not, I’m sure you agree that it can get frustrating. Like pulling teeth, as they say.
What to do then? Here are some tips and tricks that may help you tutor your children at peace.
1. Take a break
You know how you sometimes struggle with something at work and then suddenly just get it after a quick restroom break? Well, kids need a break too! Sometimes, all it takes is a quick recess, a song or two, or a short fun read-aloud to refresh their minds and get a new perspective on the lesson.
2. Use songs and chants
From handwriting to history, I’ve learned how songs help a lot.
We broke down handwriting steps using the songs from our Handwriting Without Tears CD, which really helped my then four-year-old learn how to write properly – and enjoy it too.
It was also quite amazing to see the Energizer Bunny’s eyes light up when she heard “March 16, 1521” from the audio guide of Ayala Museum months after we talked about the Spanish invasion of the Philippines – thanks to Yoyoy Villame’s “Magellan” song!
Even simple rhymes and songs that teach counting up and down (“Five Little Monkeys”, “Five Little Ducks”, “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe”) have helped make lessons fun and interesting.
3. Spice it up with games
There are a lot of sight word games in Pinterest but what really worked for us is our sight word bath play. What started as three sight words is now a collection of several words that we can form into sentences. Who says learning can only be done on a desk?
My reluctant reader also had so much fun building words using our Spelling Jr letter blocks, asking for it again and again. Never underestimate the power of play.
4. Sneak in practice in daily activities
Lessons stick when they are relevant and are a part of your child’s activities. One-to-one correspondence, for example, can be taught by helping set the table for each member of the family.
The Energizer Bunny’s constant question, “How many days till I see my cousin?” has always been an open invitation to learning about days of the week and the calendar. We also sneak in sight word reading practice during bedtime storytelling.
In a recent Early Childhood Workshop that I attended at the University of the Philippines, the professors emphasized the importance of developmentally appropriate practices in teaching young children. This basically means respecting the developmental stage of the child.
If the lessons won’t stick, then maybe your child is still not ready for it. You are better off enhancing the skills that he already has and waiting for him to naturally progress to the next step when he is ready and interested.
Respecting your child’s developmental stage, on the other hand, also means giving him opportunities to explore and learn about the things that he is interested in. Let us not be limited to what the lesson plan says we should or should not teach.
My daughter, who was not ready for the ordinal number lessons that were in her Kinder Math workbooks was quick to grasp history lessons that I studied in fourth grade. We abandoned our ordinal number lessons (which she now surprisingly knows by heart), and explored history lessons further by going on field trips and learning more about the country’s past.
It was precious igniting that flame of curiosity within my young student – sans the tears and heartaches. And you can be sure that she remembers her history very well. The lesson stuck because she was ready and interested.
As we say here at The Learning Basket, you are your child’s first and best teacher. Whether you homeschool or not, knowing your children, accepting their individuality and adjusting to their needs and interests will guarantee hugs and “I love yous” after every session.’