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    Home Education

    Lessons with the Easily Overwhelmed Student

    January 6, 2010 by Brandy Vencel

    I ‘m about to start posting the daily lesson summaries from my time spent with Daughter A. But before I do, I’ll give a little bit of background. A. has always been easily overwhelmed. Though she has grown out of a lot of it (for instance, she doesn’t cry when someone in the neighborhood turns on a lawnmower anymore), I don’t ever expect her to become someone other than who she is. And she is a person who needs life to come in smallish chunks.

    As a result, there are a few things I’m planning to do differently than I did in my lessons with Neighbor M. For instance, I am going to stick to a strict 10-minute time limit. This is going to be tough because A. always thinks that she can handle more, and she enjoys the lessons. However, in just a couple weeks of lessons it has become apparent that I am going to have to find a way to stop at 10 minutes.

    Perhaps I will set a timer, and then let her “play” with the books after that if she doesn’t want to put them down.

    Another example is the “building words” part of my approach. When it comes to building words, we aren’t going to do as much of it. Her brain power fizzles out too quickly to build six or nine words like I did with my other students. I am guessing that I will only build one or two words per lesson.

    This is important: Every child has a point where they are slow at something. What do we do? We take small bites, building knowledge one little piece at a time. It doesn’t matter where the child’s peers are. It doesn’t matter where we thought the child would be by this time. What matters is that we keep on learning. We might try a different approach. We might take a breather (we ditched math for three months once). Or, we might just muddle through and pray a lot.

    What I’m trying to say here is: Slowness does not mean the child is doomed to failure.

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  • Reply Brandy Vencel January 13, 2010 at 12:17 am

    You know…I hadn't thought about it, but this child is the child who learned to count to 15 when she couldn't really say any other words (and without me teaching her; she just picked it up). I wonder if she'll show an aptitude for math as well. That'd be a remarkable similarity! 🙂 I don't usually do math in preschool, so we will have to see in time…

    It does seem like the areas to help them develop the ability to work longer are the areas where they possess a natural aptitude.

  • Reply Wendi January 12, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    I think I have one of these in my home ~ I never really thought about it, I just accepted it as part of her personality…but now that I am teaching her to read, I am seeing it show up in our lessons ~ she is easily overwhelmed and frustrated. Thank you for the reminder to take it slowly 🙂

    Interesting to note, we have to take our reading lessons slowly to avoid overwhelming her, but math seems to come very easily to her ~ the complete opposite of my oldest son.

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