Help! It’s test time and my child isn’t ready!

Do you have a struggling learner who is not progressing as fast as you’d like? Are you stressing out because it’s near the end of the year and you are not as far along as you’d hoped? I know that feeling. Unfortunately, that feeling can be broad cast to everyone else in your homeschool, too, even if you don’t verbalize it. If you are getting that nervous feeling inside, here are some things you can do:

  • Recognize that it really may be too late for this year to meet the goals you had set. It is not the end of the world. Depending on your state’s requirements, the test may not be as a big a deal as you think. Some states allow other options to show proof of progress, such as portfolios. Look into it before you go into a full panic.
  • A struggling learner requires patience, yet our tendency is to rush at the end of the year. If your child has processing problems, it is best to teach one concept at a time. The good news is that children who struggle to learn usually excel at right-brained methods of learning and when they finally get it, they really get it–sometimes exponentially.
  • You can really advance their learning by incorporating right-brain/visual methods of teaching. If you are unsure how to do that, get your child to help. Tell them what you are trying to teach them, then ask about the best way for him to learn something like that. You might be surprised at how easy it is for the child to come up with the solution instead of you having to agonize over it for days on end. Some children will not be able to articulate this, but if they can, it will relieve a huge burden.
  • If all else fails, let them speak in their native language: the visual language. Most of us probably attended public or traditional schools. We are accustomed to demonstrating mastery of material by rote recitation or filling in answers on a test. For kids who don’t excel in those areas, let them demonstrate their mastery through drawing or a video presentation or an oral explanation. Let them explain the big picture of what they have learned instead of spitting back individual facts. As they work out the big picture for you, you will often see those details that you wanted them to isolate on the test.

In all cases, reset your panic button and focus on teaching the child, not the material. There is still time this year to learn some things, even if you can’t achieve full grade-level mastery.

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