Over the years of teaching and working with homeschool students, I have had an increased burden for students who struggle with academics. I didn’t always feel that way — school came easy for me as a teen and college student, so I expected all students to be able to succeed. Lack of progress must be due to lack of effort or motivation or just a bad attitude, I thought. The Lord has used a number of experiences, students, and resources to change my thinking. Now I accept teaching as a challenge to find what methods and curriculum will work with the different kinds of minds and help each one of them to learn and succeed!
Some of the best resources that have influenced me are:
1. “Frustration, Anxiety, Tension: How Difficult Can This Be?” – a video lecture of Rick LaVoie helping parents and teachers understand what it feels like to be a “learning disabled” student and how to change our techniques to help them succeed. I get teary-eyed every time I watch it (over a dozen times so far!) See me if you’d like to borrow this video.
2. “Right Brained Children in a Left-Brained World” (by Jeffrey Freed) – a book explaining how the two sides of the brain work differently. Left brain dominant people like the structure and step-by-step learning that is typical in school, and often become teachers. Right brained children process life totally differently and benefit from being taught with different techniques. Definitely an eye-opener!
3. “A Mind at a Time” by Dr. Mel Levine. I love the philosophy and approach taken by Dr. Levine about children. His view is that there are different kinds of minds — some don’t function as well in the typical school setting, but are highly valued in the “real world.” We should not make children feel like failures and inferior just because school is not their comfort zone, but find techniques to help them succeed and find ways to celebrate the type of mind they have been given. Definitely fits my Christian World-View that “God don’t make junk!” Every child is a special creation of God!
4. “The Way They Learn” by Cynthia Tobias is a humorous book explaining a few different ways students view their world and how that may be in conflict with how we as parents/teachers view our world. You’ll walk away from reading this book with a new understanding and appreciation of your children’s learning styles — and your own!
5. “Strategies for Struggling Learners” by Dr. Joe Sutton is full of specific techniques for helping students in an academic setting who struggle in one way or another. His chapter on modification suggestions for curriculum and testing is worth reading and highlighting.
Any other great resources you have used and recommend for helping students who struggle?