by Dana Stahl, The Old Schoolhouse
Homeschooling children with learning disabilities presents its own set of challenges. However, these challenges can lead to teachable moments that develop into lifetime solutions. For example, computational accuracy, making connections between mathematical concepts, and applying these math skills to real life situations are all essential.
As an educator and parent, you can use experiential opportunities to foster moments in which abstract concepts can become solidified and children increase their understanding. For example, when filling up at the gas station, parents can ask their children to figure out how many miles to the gallon of gas the car used. Or at the grocery store, ask how many ounces is equivalent to two pounds of potatoes. Combining mathematical concepts, computational accuracy, and real life situations leads to valuable teaching moments.
By understanding more about their children’s learning issues, parents can better support their learning. Below are ways to incorporate a multi-modality approach when presenting new concepts and tasks, as well as suggestions for implementing compensatory strategies for reading, writing, and math.
Each of us has a preferred way of learning a concept or a task. Some people learn best by watching (visual), some by listening (auditory), and others by actively participating in specific tasks (kinesthetic). If your child experiences difficulty in reading, writing, or math, it is beneficial to utilize a multi-modality approach when teaching new concepts.
Using a multi-modality approach helps engage children in the learning process and helps them to comprehend the material being presented. One example of using a multi-modality approach would be when making a batch of brownies. First, read the recipe together for a visual point of reference. Then, listen to instructions for auditory reinforcement. And finally, measure the ingredients and mix the batter for use of the kinesthetic modality.
Most children will struggle with reading, writing, and math at some point along their educational journey. Children with specific learning issues benefit from compensatory strategies to help bridge the gap in their development. Below are strategies parents can incorporate at home to help their children succeed.
- Listen to books on tape or audiobooks while simultaneously reading the assigned tasks.
- Read with your child, and ask for clarification about plot, development, themes, character analysis, and making predictions.
- Highlight quotes and important passages in another color so that when you refer back to the book, the important sections are easy to identify.
- Create a story map with characters, plots, and quotes to foster and facilitate comprehension.
Written Language Skills
- Preplan all writing assignments.
- Create graphic organizers that contain a thesis statement, three topics for the body of the paper, and a concluding sentence. A structured outline fosters a logical sequence of events.
- Provide word banks for assigned topics enhancing the use and inclusion of age and subject-appropriate vocabulary.
- Act as a scribe for your child, allowing for the flow of ideas to be easily transferred to paper.
- Incorporate the use of a Voice to Text or Speech to Text program. This allows children with written language difficulties to convey their thoughts verbally while speech recognition software simultaneously transcribes their words into written format.
- Provide calculators, rulers, measuring cups, and conversion charts to assist in calculating answers.
- Practice addition and multiplication facts.
- Practice percentages, decimals, fractions, and metric conversions.
- For two-digit numbers or larger, use graph paper to help your children align numbers correctly.
Supporting children with learning issues using both multi-modality experiences and effective teaching strategies will help them better understand the information and concepts presented.
Dana Stahl, MEd, grew up with learning disabilities and became a learning specialist to help children with learning issues reach their social-emotional and academic potential. Stahl’s practice, Educational Alternatives, LLC, focuses on educational advice, advocacy, and school placements. Dana’s book, The ABCs of Learning Issues, is available in English and Spanish on Amazon. Have questions about your children’s learning issues? Submit your confidential questions to Dana at educationalalternativesllc.com/educational-advice/.
Copyright 2019, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Fall 2019 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms. Read The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com, or download the free reader apps at www.TOSApps.com for mobile devices. Read the STORY of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and how it came to be.