One of the most common questions I see in homeschool forums is what to do when a young child is stuck and not moving forward in a certain subject. Whether it’s math, reading, writing, or another subject, moms often ask, “What are you using?” They feel that they just haven’t found the right resource or curriculum that will help their particular children.
Finding the right resources can help, and as a homeschool mom, it’s probably what I spend most of my time doing besides planning lessons. I search for curricula that isn’t too hard to use and that my children might like. But sometimes, the answer for a child who is stuck isn’t a new curriculum. The best answer might be time.
Whenever one of my boys hit a plateau and didn’t seem to be progressing — or worse, they hated the subject and didn’t want to do it — I slowly came to realize that what they needed was more time. They weren’t ready to learn it. This was very hard for that part of my brain that knew the kids down the street in the local school had already covered the subject. Then I thought, are all those kids in class “getting it”? Probably not. But I bet they are still being forced to work on it. Maybe they are in learning support, or their parents are instructed to do extra work with them at home.
As homeschoolers, we are granted the gift of time. We are beholden to no one else’s timeline. Isn’t this one of the reasons we wanted to homeschool our children in the first place? Kids benefit so much from a course of study that caters to their individual needs, and sometimes, time is all they need.
I have found that if I wait a year, or, yes, even two, magical things happen:
- My child is older and so much more capable of learning this material.
- My child is more mature and understands why learning this material might be a good idea.
- The little quirks that kept my child from learning are gone. (Such as fidgeting, not focusing, hand hurting, yawning, crying.)
- Almost any curriculum or resource will work at this point. (Well, your child may like some better than others, but you may find it easier to find something that works.)
- Most importantly, my child doesn’t completely hate the subject and hasn’t lost any self-esteem.
Is this foolproof and sure to work for every child? Well, of course not. All kids are different, and as a parent, you have to learn to use your instincts. You know what’s best for your child. Maybe there is a perfect curriculum that you just haven’t found yet. Maybe your child needs some outside help. But it never hurts to take your time. Give yourself and your child some breathing room. Take the pressure off. Remember that you have plenty of time to experiment, explore, play, and try new things.