I have a child that is struggling to learn.  She has a hard time remembering things from day-to-day.  Her english is not where it should be for her age.  This is a new area for me – most of my children have learned with relative ease.  Some struggle with certain subjects, but when they buckle down, they can learn the subject matter and recall it – at least for the test!

But when one struggles to learn and every subjects seems overwhelming, school is not fun.  We are extending Giovanna’s 4th grade year.  She is not repeating information that was taught last year.  Instead we are tackling this year totally different.  I have looked for things that use the call back method to teach children different topics.  So I read a definition 3 times and then she is to repeat it back to me.  We started school this week and it has been a tough week – for all of us.

I have only been doing one subject – language.  We have been on lesson 1 all week.  The first lesson is learning the definition of a nous – a noun is the name of a person, place, thing or idea.    However today was the first time I have seen some progress.  Here is today’s school discussion.

Me; “Giovanna, let’s do some review.  Can you tell me the definition of a noun?”

GiGi;  “What?”

Me:  “Do you remember what a noun names?”

GiGi:  “We did this yesterday!”

Me (with some excitement because she actually remembered talking about this): “Yes we did.  Can you tell me the definition?”

GiGi:  “No”

Then we started with the repetitions.  During the course of this she says, “Why are we doing this?”  Really what that means is why do I have to do this again, we did this yesterday.

Me:  This year school is all about mastering the subjects. The only way I know that you are really learning is when you can tell back to me what you have studied.  Then it becomes a part of you and you can use it in all kinds of ways.”

She seemed to be ok with this idea and went back to work on the definition.  She made it through about 1/3 of the definition without needing help.  This is a huge improvement over the past.  However we are still on lesson 1 and it is day  4 of school.

In the past I have always been driven by completing a book on whatever subject we are studying.  This year I am going to drive the curriculum and not leave a lesson until we have some mastery over it.  Repetition and review are built into the curriculum that I am using for language which will help with retention over the whole year.  This will be a challenge for all of us.

Praying that this year will be different and we will make significant headway in really learning the material.  It will be a patience building year for me.

Back to teaching the definition of a noun.  Repeat with me – A noun is. . . .