If you are behind on reading this series on bringing home the rescued child, you may find Part 1 here.
Fifth, measure what he knows. Obtain a progress test or a placement test but do not administer it to him; go over it with him. (It does not have to relate to your curriculum, if you can transfer the results.) As you learn where he needs to begin studying, record what he knows. Then, as his knowledge increases, reward what he knows.
Measure, record, and reward—keep these three processes in mind a lot, in the beginning.
- Learn how he best can learn. If experience has taught him to scorn reading, give him many oral and hands-on lessons. If he dislikes fiddling with props, hand him many glorious books.
- Chart where he is and where he needs to be and graph his progress as it happens.
- Break down any catch-up plans into a schedule with an estimated time of completion.
Then you can say things like, “By Thanksgiving, you will know the times tables!” or, “Doing an extra page weekly will finish this unit before our trip!” or, “When you are fifteen, you will be ready to begin chemistry!” Help him see that the little bites eventually whittle the entire project into an imaginable size.
Sixth, realize one thing you both have in common: You both know that home schooling is better, in spite of any fuss he may be projecting or any fears you may be hiding.
If he has been behind, your child may have tried to save face by pretending pleasure with a poor performance that he could not improve. To succeed in the real world may have seemed impossible to him. The child who has become proud of failure is trying to invent a new social structure in which he can seem “okay”.
If your child is in this sad state, you have two big jobs:
- To help him understand that home school is another reinvented social structure in which having failed is okay, but also in which failure will be replaced with success; and
- To guide him into learning, and showing that success. He knows you are right, but fears to believe it could be possible. Paralyzing fear will melt as soon as progress begins.
Alternately, if he has been stifled in a class that is behind him in achievement level, he may have to learn to overcome laziness with a new love for excellence. He will need your help, no matter where he was or where he needs to be. Yes, he needs you; that is why God made parents. You can inspire him with:
- The idea of beginning college early, or with
- Extracurricular activities for finishing early in the day.
Most importantly, in either case you must help your child see that excellence is its own reward.