I returned to handling the science and English classes for my daughters back in January, and much has changed since the last time I taught them. However, one thing has remained constant. In teaching them, I learn, and relearn, lessons as well.
C.L. and I, with feedback we received from the girls, decided to go a bit more old school with their lessons a couple years ago. Neither girl felt they were absorbing the digital lessons, and we agreed. So aside from math, for which Khan Academy has been amazing for us all, we stick to textbooks and paper these days. This means C.L. and I have to spend considerably more time preparing for each class. However, it also means the girls have us to explain the material in however many ways they need us to explain it for their understanding.
It also removes the responsibility for initiating a “cold” request for assistance from the girls’ shoulders. That seems like a simple thing, but it can be huge for a child with executive functioning and anxiety issues. C.L. and I are there to “read the room,” often noticing one or the other needs a different explanation without the need for them to ask.
However, that doesn’t mean there haven’t been hiccups.
The girls are studying physical science this year, which is a very broad discipline. They are only in sixth and eighth grade, so the textbook merely gives a general overview of all of the more specialized disciplines under the physical science umbrella.
These past couple of weeks, we’ve been studying the physics module. It’s really just a basic primer on the founding principles physics is based upon. But, physics is a science based heavily in mathematical principles, and the terms used to describe concepts differ from their common usage.
This makes it a difficult subject for just about anyone, and both have found it frustrating. Unfortunately, both have a tendency toward negative self-talk when they “fail” at things. How simple or complicated the task doesn’t matter.
Because of this, and the difficulty of the material, I have had the same conversation with both multiple times over the past several days. I decided to share it here today because it is a lesson we humans tend to need refreshers on frequently throughout our lives.
A. B. England is a novelist, all around geek, avid crafter, and the home-schooling mother of two.
She is an autistic creator with a love of mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
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