You found it—the curriculum that seems just right for your child and you! Or almost just right.
Maybe this is a workbook designed especially for struggling learners . . . but your child also has a visual processing disorder, and they quickly become fatigued reading black text on a white page.
You might be using a curriculum package for typical learners. Your student is doing great in all the subjects except the one related to their learning struggle. Is it possible to adapt that subject material to your child’s need?
(Wondering how to even find that “almost right” curriculum? Read Part 1 of this series!)
There are many creative ways to customize curriculum so that your child is able to learn more successfully. As your child’s parent, you are also the administrator and primary instructor in their homeschool program, which gives you the freedom to truly personalize how they learn.
You can try supplemental materials.
Making intentional adjustments to an academic format or environment in order to remove barriers to a student’s learning is called accommodation. One of the ways you can do this is by supplementing your curriculum with materials that accommodate your child’s special need.
Here are just a few examples:
- Graphic novels make it possible for students with reading challenges to access classical literature.
- “High/low books” combine high-interest, age-appropriate content with a lower reading level.
- Manipulatives can help children who struggle in math to grasp (literally!) numeric concepts.
Remember the child we mentioned above whose eyes are sensitive to the high contrast of black text on a white page? A colored overlay is a supplemental tool that may quickly and simply address this challenge.
You can use assistive technology.
Accommodations can also be in the form of assistive technology, which is—you guessed it—when technology is used to assist someone with a disability. Examples of assistive technology include:
- DVD textbooks
- Speech-to-text software
- Mind-mapping apps
If you haven’t tapped into the amazing world of assistive technology yet, you can learn more right here.
You can adjust the curriculum.
It is okay not to follow the pace, order, or intensity of a preplanned curriculum. Instead, you can adjust the curriculum’s expectations or requirements to your child’s needs and abilities.
Just keep in mind that the more severe your student’s needs are, the more significant the adjustments you will need to make.
Some special needs can’t be addressed through curriculum alone. Therapy may be key to helping your child thrive. Possible therapies include occupational, vision, reading, and many more . . . the sky’s the limit! You can start exploring therapy options here.
Want more ideas for adapting curriculum to your child’s specific challenges? Check out this series which offers in-depth parent resource lists organized around types of learning needs.