Remember, if you have a question you'd like our opinions on, email me at raleneburke at yahoo dot com, and we'll get you on the list!
Question: How do you deal with a concept that your child is struggling to comprehend?
Sam: We usually only have this trouble with math, which is also my struggle. We slow down, and backtrack if needed. If they still don't get the concept, I usually try a different curriculum. Math U See has been working well for us the last few months, and has produced no tears.
Marla: First, I make sure that she has the prerequisite skills for what I am trying to teach . If she does, I find a new way to present the material. Also, I try to make the learning fun so that she wants to learn. I create lessons using her favorite learning materials and her favorite animals or cartoon/book characters. If I am still unable to teach her the concept, I have somebody else (usually my husband) try. Sometimes, a different teacher is the trick.
Beth: Find a new way to communicate the information to them. For example, if you are teaching a math concept like addition, let them visually see and experience 2 + 2. Give them some manipulatives, (something they can touch), and let them add 2 blue M&M's to 2 more and then eat them for fun! When you make learning fun, their retention will increase!
Heather: When we are struggling with a particular topic and I feel like I've done all I can do (and frustration is setting in), we will usually move on to another subject and revisit the troublesome topic the next day. 9 times out of 10, they get it the next day!
Tracy: I always try to end with success. I don't want any subject or concept to end with a feeling of frustration and failure. Sometimes that means breaking the concept down to the bare bones, sometimes that means offering quite a bit of help, some...times that may mean switching gears and playing a game or pulling out a manipulative. He doesn't have to get it perfectly or even understand it all the way. But I want my son to be ready to try again tomorrow and not be filled with a sense of dread when he sees me pull out a particular lesson. A sense of accomplishment feeds determination.
Nessa: Math is a daily struggle for my oldest daughter. I always try to put it in terms she can understand and us manipulatives whenever possible. As the saying goes 'practice makes perfect'...
Shamberly: Because I'm so new to this homeschooling thing, we haven't hit TOO many rough spots in this area, but when we have, I first try to come up with a different way to explain the subject... If he still can't seem to grasp it, then I start branc...hing out to other homeschooling friends who might have some ideas on better ways to teach/explain it. If I can't seem to do it, then I might ask a friend to try explaining it ~ sometimes, kids do learn better from different people, and if you have someone you trust who is knowledgeable on a subject, and willing to help your child learn it, that friend can be a very valuable resource!
Also, sometimes, when I'm trying to teach a concept that my son is just not getting, if it gets to the point where we are both frustrated and worn out on the subject, then in my opinion, it's just not the right time to be teaching it. YES, there are some things that are more "time sensitive" and you just can't quit on, but not everything is that way. Sometimes, you just need to step back, give it a rest for a while - be it a few days, a few weeks, a few months, etc..., and come back to it at another point in time when your child may be more ready to tackle that particular subject. This can be hard - especially if it is a subject that you see other children around the same age as your's mastering, but we have to keep in mind not to compare, #1, and #2, remember that all kids are different, and while your child might be struggling with long division, Suzy Soccer Mom's child might have trouble with writing. Don't stress over it. Try to keep learning fun and enjoyable and interesting, and eventually, they'll catch on!
That's some excellent advice, ladies! What about the rest of you? Any advice? Opinions?