You have probably never heard of dyscalculia. I hadn’t either when we first started homeschooling back in the 90s. I was working with my three oldest boys and finding the younger one was moving much faster through math than one of his older brothers. He could figure things in his head while older brother struggled. By the time my older son was in the 6th grade, I was aware that there was a problem. He still couldn’t memorize his multiplication facts. I had figured out that he reversed his numbers without realizing it. If we were doing 7×8 he would put down 56 sometimes and 65 other times. He didn’t notice his mistake. He had the same problem with phone numbers at times.
So I did some research and came across some articles about dyscalculia. What I learned is that dyscalculia is generally understood to be a mathematical equivalent to dyslexia. If you have a child who is struggling with math, perhaps you should consider this as a possible cause.
It has been determined that children with ADHD are at higher risk for dyscalculia.
Here are some resources to help you get started in understanding dyscalculia and how to address it.
So we are at the end of the first semester according to some school calendars. Whether you closely adhere to such a calendar or just do your own thing, you have some idea where your child could be struggling by now.
I think homeschoolers are sometimes hesitant to engage a tutor because they feel it reflects poorly on their ability to teach. But the fact is, NO ONE is an expert in every subject at every grade level. It just isn’t possible. There are several other reasons a tutor might be helpful.
Your child may have a learning disability that you are not able to address on your own.
Your child may get easily frustrated and may work better with someone who is not so focused on their success. Not that a tutor doesn’t care about the student’s success, they just don’t have an emotional attachment to the child the way a parent does. Sometimes the stress of the parent wanting them to succeed so badly puts pressure on the student. This can cause a disconnect between the parent and the student. A tutor is a neutral party and can focus just on the subject or subjects she is addressing and leave all the other areas to the parent.
There may be many students for one parent to work with and having a tutor for specific areas eases the load a bit so each child can get the attention they need.
Perhaps a parent is also trying to work outside the home and just doesn’t have the time and energy to address something more challenging right now.
No matter the reason, there is evidence that having a tutor for a season is of great benefit.
What makes tutoring a successful investment?
Consistent sessions – usually an hour long and no less than once per week.
One-on-one rather than group sessions.
Working on processes and skill building rather than “studying” information. In other words, teaching the student how to study effectively, not spending a lot of time helping them study for specific exams.
Not giving up too soon. Learning takes time. Bad habits that have formed need time to be relearned in a more productive way.
There are several ways to set up a tutoring relationship. I personally do much of my tutoring at my home. It sets the mood to learning for the student because it isn’t the comfort of home with all the distractions. I also sometimes work with a student at a library. With the ability to do sessions over the internet, there is also that option and online tutoring can be much easier to schedule. It’s still a one-on-one relationship and can have great benefit to the student in an easier format for the parent. All you need is a quiet room and a computer that will run Skype.
Here is an article to check out as you consider whether tutoring is a good addition to your homeschool.
My latest experience was with an elementary student who was bringing home Ds and Fs on his language arts papers. We began working together and after a couple of months, he brought home these two papers. He was so proud of his improvement!
A tutoring relationship can be a short-term activity. Usually, a student just needs help to get beyond a specific skill challenge. Sometimes a more long-term plan is good, especially in the case of a student with special needs. Working closely with your child’s tutor can help direct you as you make the best decisions for your child.
If you would like to discuss your situation on a personal level please contact me.