• Deirdre Brandner

Homeschooling with children who may experience learning difficulties.

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

Does your child struggle with learning already? Some suggestions to support them when Home Schooling

I’m hearing parents express concern that their child is already behind with their learning and will fall further behind in the home learning setting. This does not need to be the case. In fact many schools are taking this time to reinforce and revise concepts instead of charging forward with an overload of new content. Now could be an ideal opportunity for your child to work at their own pace and consolidate their skills.

To make the most of home schooling we need to be aware of the challenges and identity strategies to manage these.

  • Your child might learn differently from the method that is currently available

  • There is no doubt that your household and your child’s routine has been disrupted

  • Accessing remote learning may mean your child needs to be tech savy

  • Visual overload and different modes of curriculum delivery and communication styles may confuse your child

  • Your child cannot access their usual supports. In a classroom they have access to the teacher, opportunity to ask questions, observe others’ responses, use visual models, and work with peers, but not now.

  • Your child will not necessarily want you to see or know how difficult they find the tasks, alternatively they will want you to do it for them

What can help

  • If possible, have access to your child’s curriculum the day before. This way you will know what is the expectation for the class.

  • If your child’s work is usually modified it may not appear on this schedule. Ensure that you have access to a modified schedule for you child. If this is not available then review what is expected and create your own task list for your child.

  • Remember your child is not going to fall behind if they don’t complete all the work set.

  • This is about engaging them in learning so they can feel successful. When a child feels they can do it, there is a greater chance they will take a risk next time.

  • Have list of tasks to be completed…..make sure you include lots of breaks and rewards. If your child baulks at too many tasks then discuss at the beginning of the day what is going to be reasonable. For example you have to do 3 maths problems and then you’ll get a break, but if you have a go at 5 maths problems then you can earn Ipad time.

  • Ensure your child gets to tick off the tasks completed

  • Stress impacts the ability of anyone to learn. If the situation becomes overwhelming at any time….take a break..that goes for both parent and child.

  • Reduce unnecessary distractions, where possible. Try and have a work space free of fun stuff

  • Have links already set up on their device, have a print out of activities and tasks and make sure resources are close by

  • Try and have a visual, sample or model of what the end product might look like.

  • Break things down for them. Focus on one step or one part at a time.

  • Use assistive technologies, talk to text,

  • Have in writing/email a message from your child’s teacher that states that you as the parent can make changes. Children can get stressed if they think they are not doing it right or like everyone else.

  • For those who really don’t want to engage, have a note/message from your child’s teacher stating the minimum that they are expected to complete. Make sure that your child could achieve this easily before considering whether the expectation is reasonable

Remember that we need to be organised, calm, realistic and flexible to survive home learning.

We do not need to compare our child’s experience with others, this is only one part of their educational journey.

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