WHAT TO DO WITH A STUDENT WHO STRUGGLES
USING STUDY GUIDES
All students are working with written courses. Courses are broken into lesson plans, each one to be done in a “period” of study, usually an hour to two hours, depending on the course.
These generally break down daily study into four actions, done by the student, and usually in this sequence:
1) Locations mentioned in the written or filmed materials about to be studied are found on a globe and map.
2) Difficult or important words found in the materials about to be studied are defined, simply and as is relevant.
3) The written materials are read or film is viewed.
4) Exercises are done to allow the student to use and evaluate the information that was just studied.
Study materials are usually broken into small sections, and each section (100-300 words or so, 5-40 minutes of film or recordings) is treated in the manner described above.
If a student “sticks” or struggles on a certain action, the tutor should send the student back to the last action done, to see if it was done thoroughly.
In other words, if a student can’t do exercises (the fourth of the actions done in a lesson plan, in most lessons), send them back to the written or filmed materials (the third of the actions done, in most lesson plans) to re-study.
If the student can’t understand what is being read (or viewed) (the third of the actions done, in most lesson plans), send the student back to the words section (the second of the actions done, in most lesson plans), and the locations section (the first of the actions done, in most lesson plans) as needed, until he can understand the written or filmed study materials.
If needed, send the student back to the last lesson!
If a student has words in studies which are not defined in the course, but which they do not understand, they should get an appropriate definition understood and used in sentences. If a word defined on the course is not fully grasped, the student needs to check the word in a dictionary or two. (Maybe the student does not understand a word in that word’s definition. That may need to be defined and used, as well.)
Remember that students who are doing these courses are working with materials above their normal grade level. If the student does not fully grasp the words read in these often college-level texts, that student will not make it through this curriculum. Assume if a student struggles that this has occurred.
USING TEACHER’S GUIDES
If a student sticks on a given exercise but he does understand the materials, he may have a problem with the ability to actually confront and deal with the concepts being employed, rather than with words or exercises. Some of our courses come with Teacher’s Guides (such as Step 3-4 Creative Writing 1-2, and some Step 3-4 Science and History courses). These offer many antidotes to exercises on which students may stick.
Open the Teacher’s Guide to the exercise that is troubling your student, and do what it suggests, in sequence. The offered solutions are simplified variations of the exercise in the study guide. They deal with some small part of the ideas or objects which the student is being asked to confront. These may be used to “work the student up” to the level of the exercise in the study guide which has temporarily stopped him.
WHAT TO DO WITH A STUDENT WHO SOARS
Validate the student often. Let that student move as quickly through the materials as they are able, so long as they are thorough and not glib. Our tests are structured to reveal glibness.
If a student completes school at an early age, and they are truly educated and capable, so be it.
WHAT TO DO WITH A STUDENT WHO DEMANDS HOMEWORK
As long as it isn’t the student’s state, the parents or a tutor making the demand, so be it. Don’t recommend homework, except in reading, spelling, and line memorization for theatre! But whatever subject the student may wish to spend more time with, well, that's great, isn't it!
WHAT TO DO WITH STUDENTS WHO START THE PROGRAM WITH TOO FEW YEARS TO COMPLETE THE FULL PROGRAM
There are programs for Step 4 students for 1 year, 2 years, and 3 years, available at this site. Please contact us if you have a question regarding reduced schedules.
WHAT TO DO WITH TIRED STUDENTS
Make certain they have a thorough, conceptual understanding of the words they’ve read and/or heard in their recent studies. If they are tired because they have had too little sleep or rest, handle this. DO NOT make a tired student continue studying! They’ll learn nothing. Create a system or policy to make certain this doesn’t happen again.
WHAT TO DO WITH HUNGRY STUDENTS
Feed them. (No sugar). Create a system or policy to make certain this doesn’t happen again.
HOW CAN I IMPROVE OUR ENTIRE HOMESCHOOL EXPERIENCE AND OUR RESULTS
We suggest you consider purchasing The Homeschooler's Handbook, by the author of STEPS, Steven Horwich. It is an invaluable guide to new homeschoolers, and has many tools in it to improve the results of the most experienced homeschoolers. It also contains entire sections on forming homeschool groups, and handling students who are not doing well.