Time management is an issue with less academic children.
School is harder. Kids prefer running around outside. And life has more important things to offer than sitting down and studying.
So you spend more time working on the basics than you do with other kids. I know. I’ve been there 3 times now. Every step towards fluency in reading is painstakingly made. You struggle. You sweat. And you worry.
Are you going to be able to teach this child? What will happen if you don’t!
Because you’re spending more time working on the basics than you do with other kids, there’s less time for the other subjects.
And that’s not to mention that you only have so much fight in you! After spending 20 minutes wrangling your child through reading, writing, or math, you don’t have much left in you for science, history, or art.
And I’m aware of the philosophy of just let the kids wait. They’ll learn when they’re ready.
- But waiting doesn’t fix dyslexia.
- Waiting doesn’t fix tracking issues.
- Waiting simply postpones the inevitable.
- Waiting leaves the kids even farther behind.
You’ll never hear me advocating waiting…. unless you’re dealing with a 3 or 4-year-old. Then waiting makes sense!
Teaching a Less Academic Child
Let’s look at the situation again. You’re teaching a less academic child. Likely the child has a learning issue that makes everything harder. Reading takes longer. Writing takes longer. Math takes longer.
You find yourself spending more time and energy on the basics than you do with other kids. This means you don’t have as much energy or time for the other subjects.
You’re tempted to skip science, history, and art until high school.
Do not skip those subjects!
Kids need a baseline background in history and science.
- Biology assumes kids know what a cell is and the basic parts.
- Chemistry assumes kids know about atoms, molecules, and chemical reactions.
- History assumes that kids know about Socrates, Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, and George Washington.
Teaching your kids to read is paramount. And you must introduce your kids to the other subjects as well.
You need to look for fun and non-traditional ways to teach the subjects.
A Few Minutes a Day
Use Charlotte Mason’s approach to spending just a few minutes a day on each subject. You may not be able to achieve much depth, but you will cover the basics of science, history, and art. And likely much more!
Think about it for a moment. The 5 minutes here and the 5 minutes there adds up. 5 minutes over a 180 day school year is 900 minutes or 15 hours. That’s 15 hours you would not have spent if you didn’t try for just a few minutes a day!
And the more kids know about a subject, the more interested they become. Those 5 minutes slowly become 10 minutes. Then 15 minutes and then 30.
So never worry about starting too small. Start small and build from there.
Use Read Alouds
Read aloud to your kids as often as you can. Choose history, science, and art books to read. Read through a nature study book and don’t forget about the great children’s classics as well!
All our kids are more than happy to curl up in the living room with a cup of hot chocolate and a plate of cookies. You’ll cover the extra subjects, enjoy time with your family, and make beautiful memories in the process.
Another advantage of reading aloud to your kids is that it allows you to combine them. All your kids can curl up in the living room to listen to the book.
Then supplement with notebook pages to record the children’s narrations when you finish. Older kids can write down their own while you write down your younger children’s narrations.
Nature Study is an awesome way to add science to the elementary years.
Kids love wandering around outside. And if you use a systematic approach to nature study the kids will learn a great deal such as the one laid out in Exploring Nature, your children will learn a great deal about science as well.
Begin inside with a book, activity, and notebook page. Read to the kids, enjoy the activity, and record what you’ve learned.
Next head outside on a nature hike to look for what you studied. Did you study birds, how many birds can you find on the hike? Did you study mushrooms? Stop to look at the mushrooms you run across. Can you locate the different parts?
Use experiments and hands-on activities to involve your less academic children in their studies without a struggle. Create salt or play-dough maps of the world. Encourage your kids to create different continents, mountain ranges, and oceans. How detailed can your kids get?
Do they want to create their own world? Go for it! And see how many different types of geographical features your kids know.
In science create model cells out of jello and candy. Use marshmallows and toothpicks to create molecules. See if your kids can create an atom out of various types of candy.
Pull out a chicken and mummify it. Create a book codex. Build model planes.
Encourage your kids to enjoy hands-on activities as part of their studies.
When all else fails, use documentaries and movies to teach your kids.
One year, we sat down and watched Shakespeare’s plays. I really wanted my kids exposed to Shakespeare and reading a play a week was hard for my less academic children.
So I checked out piles of DVD from the library, popped popcorn, and the family enjoyed watching many of Shakespeare’s plays
You can do the same thing with history and science documentaries as well. Pop up some popcorn and spend an evening or two watching documentaries.
And documentaries give a close-up view and explanation of the world a book simply can’t provide.
I don’t know about you, but I am not going to take my kids to the local volcano and watch it erupt! But it’s a spectacular sight on the screen.
Teaching less academic kids the extra subjects is challenging but doable. Step away from the classic approach of using textbooks and answering questions. Use alternative approaches to education instead.
What are some of your favorite education activities?