Case Study: Homeschool High Schooler Who Hates Reading
Have fun with the silly and delightful poems that influenced the Broadway play, Cats. Get the Study Guide for T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Guide to Practical Cats for 50% off today only. Check below for the Coupon Code.
I have served my homeschool community as an academic advisor (a guidance counselor, of sorts, for the high schoolers) for the past 17 years. The 7 Sisters were thinking maybe some of my advising stories might be encouraging to some of our friends. So, here we go (the names and identifying information have been changed).
When Mrs. Smith and George dropped by to discuss the upcoming 9th grade school year, we began as usual to identify George's strengths, interests, and weaknesses. That way we could tailor the curriculum choices to enhance strengths, invest in interests, and compensate for the weaknesses.
George's academic strengths were related to history. He particularly loved to study the World Wars. His interests were in hands-on learning: he loved living history events, loved physical activity, loved making things with his hands. His weakness was reading: he hated to read. Achievement test scores from last year suggested that he might struggle with the inferential and basic comprehension skills that would make reading rewarding.
History curriculum choice was easy. Since George had already had very rich middle school experiences in US and World History, we chose a year of World War studies. He would log 135 hours of hands-on instruction (our umbrella school's Carnegie unit requirement). He would attend re-enactments, go to museums, watch History channel and PBS specials on the Wars. His research papers for Language Arts would cover World War topics. He would incorporate map-making and drawing into his lessons.
For his Language Arts program our umbrella school requires that average high school 9th graders read 17 books. How could we tailor a book program that would help him compensate for his weakness in reading and maybe find something he enjoys? Here's what we came up with:
-5 books of the Bible (allowable by our umbrella school and good for a teen's soul)
-5 Edcon Bring the Classics to Life workbooks (these outstanding workbooks take classic novels and put them in user-friendly format. Each chapter is reworded to fit on one page, preceded by an illustration and question that aids learning reading for meaning, then followed by questions that gradually build in comprehension and inferential skills. We started George out with level 1 because of his struggles. (Sometimes catalogues call this Grade 1 but that is not at all accurate.)
-1 stretch book, All Quiet on the Western Front (Highly readable but would be difficult for him. Good to help him stretch and grow in his skills after the Edcon series.)
-4 audio books (1 each quarter, good for developing listening comprehension- higher levels than he could read on his own)
-1 personal growth book (a devotional completed over the summer and school year)
-1 just for fun book (to teach enjoyment of reading) T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (Btw, 7 Sisters now has a lovely study guide and it is ON SALE 50% OFF today only. That's 1/2 off $3.99! I'd suggest downloading it today...)
When you order T.S. Eliot's Cats Study Guide use the Coupon Code: BritCats
How did the story end? By the end of the year, George had earned a delightful history credit using his strengths and interests. He also developed more solid reading and listening skills, he had more confidence in himself, and had some good personal development through the books he experienced. He also found that he could LOVE to read some things, especially the silly poetry of Practical Cats.
High schoolers aren't the only ones who need work. Here's Sabrina's story about being a Work in Progress: