Are You Suffering From Brick Wall Syndrome?
I know I am not the only homeschool mother out there with this affliction! I am sure every single one of you has suffered or is currently suffering from what I call Brick Wall Syndrome! My case is chronic, although it does go into remission from time to time. It is painful, and sometimes ugly. Symptoms vary from one person to the next. It is brought on by a glazy eyed child with a faraway look possibly in tears, saying, “I don’t get it!” after you have explained ”it” for the umpth-teen time!
Brick wall syndrome has driven many homeschooled children right into public school. This is an option for treatment much like surgery, or pulling the plug. A last resort, if you will. However there are no guarantees it will not return in the form of “homework.” Yes, it is a serious affliction for which there is no cure, but there are some excellent treatment options available.
Talk to other homeschoolers. They won’t bite! Afterall, they have been through their fair share of brick walls, too. They might have some fantabulous tips, tricks, and advice on how to jump all kinds of common hurdles. I know I have a few under my belt, and would love to share. Just ask, you never know how simple the solution may actually be.
Sometimes it is just a matter of knowing the right angle to approach the lesson. One child might not understand it unless they are standing on their head singing it, while another child might get it after there is a quiet environment for them to read alone. One might need to do a craft on the topic, or another might need it explained to them with vivid pictures. Yes, it can feel like the days of old, adjusting that foil adorned antenna with a wire hanger attached to try to get a clear picture on TV.
Can you see it, yet?
There are some wonderful assessment tests out there to determine your child’s learning style, it just might be that you need to tweak the way the information is presented. Here is a link for a free online test.
You could also get this book from the library, Every Child Has a Thinking Style: Natural Gifts and Preferences — to Help Them Learn, Thrive, and Achieve by Lanna Nakone.
Of course, there are many other excellent resources on learning styles out there, as well. It could make a world of difference.
YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!!
Skip It and Move on
Oh, but how do you dare!! This is SO important! She will need to know how to diagram a sentence to perform brain surgery later on in life! I mean, really. Is it life or death that they know it RIGHT NOW!!! Relax, deep breaths, don’t feel defeated, or like a failure. Instead feel liberated from the topic at hand for the moment, and (gasp) dare I say it… skip to a different lesson and move on! Try again in another week, month, next year maybe even. Bottom line is, if they aren’t ready, or willing -guess what? You can’t make them!
Don’t be loyal to a certain curriculum. You may need to supplement with manipulatives, or toss the math and keep the rest, but don’t be opposed to new material. You can sell it, or whatever, just don’t keep it if it’s not working, even if you paid good money, even if you had all your hopes and dreams wrapped up in it, and it was your holy grail of curriculums. Toss it, trade it, sell it, give it away.
Get Jiggy Wit It!
If it feels like perhaps it may be burn-out causing this giant brick wall. By all means take a break! Play hooky, go fishing, meet up with other homeschoolers just itching for a break too. They may have some good tips on what worked for them. It could do you all some good! Bust out in an impromptu music session. Blast it, let them bang on pots and pans. Get jiggy wit it! silliness and humor can erase all mental dark murky clouds hanging around in there. Sometimes just a break in the routine is a huge refresher. I love, love, love me some Download & Go lapbook unit studies (http://www.downloadngo.com) for just this very thing. For those of you whom cannot stand to just take a week off and do nothing, this is a great way for them to learn while having a blast making lapbooks. You can get a wide range of topics to choose from. I highly recommend!
Don’t Take It Personally
Boy is this a hard one for me! My first thought when they just aren’t learning is, ‘What am I doing wrong?’ Self doubt creeps in like a thief robbing me of my joy. ‘All those doubters and Home Educator-haters out there are right after all! Just who do I think I am?’
Nope, that’s not it. Oh, we can be so downright mean with ourselves at times. Just remember this, if they were in a classroom with 20 other kids, this brick wall you are beating yourself up over would be virtually invisible and nobody would even care. (not always) It would possibly get completely overlooked, and they would never learn it. They for sure wouldn’t get the one on one they need, or the care of a teacher willing to do all the things mentioned above in order to help him “get it.” No one is to blame, here. Everyone has their stumbling blocks, their brick walls. It can be scaled!
Take it to the top
Last, but certainly not least, take’er to the Maker. This may be the last piece of advice, but it is step number one, because it really needs to come first. Ask for help from the One who knows our troubles and struggles.
“Jesus wasn’t a homeschooling mother,” you may say? Obviously not, but he IS an expert at overcoming brick walls. Just ponder that one.
He may not deliver you out of them, but he will guide you through them. Also, remember to love that child whose driving you mad! God designed our childrens’ brains the way they are. He created them with the unique and wonderful personalities they posses, and knows exactly what each child needs.
Yes, Brick Wall Syndrome can be real and ugly, but after all those walls have been scaled, one day you will look back and see it was all worth it. God bless your homeschool.
My name is Melanie Antonacci. I am also known around here as Ma ‘Nacci. I am daughter to The Creator, wife to Greg, and homeschooling mother to 5 beautiful children whom I’ve been homeschooling for 10 yrs. I work from home as an Independant Consultant for Usborne Books, and I enjoy teaching American Sign Language at a local Homeschool Co-op. Visit my website at ReadingIsPriceless.blogspot.com.