Learn about the concept of adapting learning to meet the needs of the individual student.
- One of the biggest advantages to working at home with our kids is we can give them exactly what they need. Now, of course, classroom teachers do their best to meet the needs of their students but let's face it, with 25 plus kids, limited time, limited resources and unlimited distractions, this is a pretty tough job. Now, at home, we don't have to deal with most of these issues. We can meet our kids where they are now and grow from there. I'll start with Sada. She is a natural night owl and frankly, a tad scary in the morning. Now, this trait is a struggle with the be on the bus by seven structure that many schools adhere to. But in the learn-from-home model, it's not an issue. It doesn't really matter when she gets her work done, just so it gets done. So with a few parameters in place, we've been able to let her find her own optimal schedule. The hassles have greatly diminished and her learning has greatly thrived. Now, this works for her and it might be a total train wreck for your structure-craving child. The point is you have flexibility to meet individual needs. Another great advantage to learning from home is pacing. Now, in a classroom, on the one hand, I always had a few kids who immediately grasped the concept and they were finished in a few minutes. And then on the other, we've got a handful of students who really struggled. They just needed more time and attention, all of which are scheduled to have mastered the concept by the end of the 50-minute period. This is a tough job at best. With the learn-at-home model, we can work at each kid's pace, making on-the-fly accommodations as needed. If it takes three days to master a concept, so be it. If the concept is mastered in 10 minutes, well, there's no need to fill the time block with busy work, we can just dive a little deeper into the topic, move on to the next subject or take a break. We can truly prioritize quality learning over quantity. Another great way to meet your student where they are is to take advantage of teachable moments. These are very powerful learning experiences but you need to be open to the opportunity. For example, one day during a hike break, Zaden became curious about how trees grow and develop. Now, I suppose I could have given him the quick by-the-book answer and headed home for math time but instead, it turned into a two-hour exploration. We studied the roots of felled trees, we looked at the growth cycle using a cross-section from a huge tree that had been cut down. And we even used the Seek app to identify trees. We explored bugs, weather, water cycles, dirt any question that came up, we either answered through observation or by looking it up on my phone. In a classroom, I couldn't have pulled this off even on my best day but in that moment, it was pretty much effortless. I was able to meet Zaden where he was in that moment and shape a curiosity into life-lasting concepts. Now, maybe flexibility isn't what your kid needs. Some kids thrive with more structure in place. And some kids need a loosey goosey approach one day and strong guidance the next. I don't know your kid. But you do. As a learn-from-home parent, you can be open to what they need and meet them where they are in that moment. So my takeaway is this, whether the learning-at-home situation is a temporary thing for you or if you'd like to make it a lasting part of your kid's education, you know your kid best and have a unique opportunity to meet them where they are in their development. And then you can grow from there.