Advice for homeschoolers, teachers and families.
In order for learners to be able to build and reinforce essential skills, like math and spelling, they need confidence. Homeschool parents can help instill confidence in their students with plenty of opportunities for practice, as well as a little empathy.
To help homeschoolers overcome challenges and attain skills for success in school and beyond, we’re sharing some advice to help build math and spelling confidence.
Build Math Confidence
For learners to be successful in math, they must first build math confidence. It has been shown that parental attitudes towards math directly impact the attitudes and beliefs of their children, which can massively affect learners’ ability to build and retain math skills.
Consider these signs and symptoms of math anxiety from Edutopia:
- Avoidance: Learners look for a reason to be excused from math instruction.
- Lack of response: Learners freeze when asked a question involving math.
- Tears or anger: Learners cry or show signs of anger during math instruction.
- Negative self-talk: Learners have negative thoughts about math and their abilities.
- Low-achievement: Learners do poorly on math assignments and assessments (often due to less exposure and avoidance to math).
Creating an environment where students feel safe practicing math, providing supplemental resources and monitoring growth are key to helping learners build skills and confidence. You may need to take on the role of counselors to help learners overcome their fear or disinterest in math.
One way to get students excited about math is through game-based learning, which applies gaming principles to real-life settings. Here are some games, tools and resources to help learners build math confidence:
- Sumdog’s math games and tools
- A2Z Homeschooling’s ‘Overcoming Math Anxiety’ resource list
- Khan Academy’s preK-8 math lessons
- The University of Chicago’s Everyday Mathematics guide
Build Spelling Confidence
Similar to math, spelling can be another pain point for learners. Spelling is a complex activity that requires many skills, but is essential for student success.
It’s also important to recognize the learning and thinking differences that can impact spelling. Here’s a list from Understood:
- Dyslexia: A common condition that makes it hard to read.
- ADHD: A common condition that makes it hard to focus, keep still and think before acting.
- Dysgraphia: Challenges in the skills needed to produce writing, including handwriting, typing and spelling.
- Difficulty processing auditory information: Problems recognizing the sounds in speech.
- Difficulty processing visual information: Makes it hard to make sense of what the eye sees.
Spelling is the foundation of reading and writing. As explained by the Resilient Educator, learning how to spell is no longer about memorization, but rather about helping students progress through a series of stages to help them understand the written word at a deeper level.
To help learners build spelling confidence, it’s important to give plenty of opportunities for practice. Here are some supplemental spelling games and resources to include in your homeschool curriculum:
- A2Z Homeschooling’s spelling for kids resource guide
- Reading Rockets’ spelling instruction guide
- Sumdog’s personalized spelling practice activities
- Understood’s evidence-based literacy strategy
Celebrate Wins, Big And Small
Every child is unique. I encourage any parent, guardian or teacher reading this to meet learners where they are, offer your support and celebrate accomplishments big and small. By doing so, we can create confident students who are ready to take on whatever the future may hold.
“At Sumdog, we want to help every child enjoy math and spelling. Our online learning service is used by millions of children worldwide. It adapts to each individual, using engaging game-based learning to motivate and build confidence.
Sumdog provides engaging learning and practice in numeracy for children K-8, and literacy for children K-6.”