Seeking Insight… Right Brained Child


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  • 2Corin57

    Ultimately, I feel like a homeschool failure. It’s dawning on me I have spent years teaching my son in the wrong manner.  My son finished up grade 4. He’s learned a lot. But he hates learning. Over the years, as I have switched him from style to style, program to program, I have always fallen back on the good ol’ traditional workbook approach, where we all sit around the table and work for 2 hours with an assortment of workbooks. They were easy to use for our hectic lives. As a result, however, he has fallen out of love with learning. If you even mention the word “school” or “lessons”, he groans. “Mom, it’s just not fun anymore, it’s not interesting, it takes too long, it makes me feel so tired,”  are all some of the comments I’ve heard from him.

    Now, this child loves to learn outside of “school”. He has taught himself to identify more species of birds than I can even count. Not only that he can tell you their habitats, whether they’re predators, scavengers, who their enemies are etc… He has taught himself about countless other animals around the world. He devours books like there is no tomorrow. He loves to draw what he has read about. He has taught himself countless other things – more things than I am even aware of, I’m sure. He reads, he learns. He watches documentaries, he learns. This same child who “hates” math lessons, and who if he even thinks for one second that you’re trying to turn a “life moment” into a “teaching moment”, will groan and say, “Mom, seriously, I don’t want to do math!”,  loves to play math games on the computer, or math board games or even Math War!, and is currently devouring the book Mathemagic. He is my extremely right brained, artistic, creative child who loves to sing, and act and draw and read and build Lego creations, who has an imagination unlike any other I’ve seen, and who can memorize the lines for his drama script in a single day, who instantly grasps visual math concepts such as fractions, geometry, angles and yet struggles to memorize his math facts, and whose concept of time (including calendar) is atrocious.

    I can’t stress enough – my son is EXTREMELY right brained, lol. He matches every single criteria there is.

    So… I have spent years teaching him the wrong way, because being a product of the public system, it is the only way I know how to teach, and he now is “done” with school related learning. I have done exactly what I did not want to do.

    And so – we have to start over, and I don’t know where to start, or what to do. I will admit, I’m toying with the idea of
    un (de-) schooling for a year, and keep it delight/interest led for him. Let him just play math games and read what he wants to read and draw what he reads about etc…   Has anyone ever tried this?

    I think it would be really good for him, but I’ll admit it’s terrifying for me. Because it’s so not “school”, it’s not what I’m used to, what 99% of the homeschoolers I know do, and there’s all that stupid pressure of, “What if he falls behind?” But ultimately, he’s going to be “behind” if I keep trying to teach him in a way that doesn’t work. I can see that. A child that hates learning, is not going to learn.

    Is there a happy medium? Is there a way to combine CM with a more interest/delight led approach? Giving him the break that he needs, but still giving me the feeling of “doing something?”

    And, the big thing: what are your suggestions for math? Is there some sort of magical right-brained math program? The only thing (besides the aforementioned games) that piqued his interest was a math unit project we did called Zoo Math, because he loves animals. It was basically the exact same concept as “Your Business Math” books I think, where he was given x-amount of dollars and had to set up and run a zoo. Each week he had scenario cards where he had to keep track of his income and expenditures etc… He really enjoyed that, because it was about animals, which are his passion. I have wondered if the YBM books could work as his main math this year? Just taking it nice and light?

    This is random and rambling, but mostly I’m just seeking input/advice from those who have been there with a unique, right-brained learner.


    I’m going to have to think for awhile to come up with answers to your specific questions. But I just want to say this: You haven’t failed. YOU HAVEN’T FAILED!

    Do you know why?

    Because by homeschooling, you’ve given him the time and space to do the things he loves, many of which you have listed in your post. Traditional school would not have done so. I know, because I WAS this learner.

    I know you’ll get lots of great answers and I’ll try to chime back in, but I just wanted to say that little thing. Take heart; you’ve succeeded more than you know.

    Participant is one idea.
    <p style=”text-align: left;”> has a new right brained time and calendar book.</p>
    I will add more later if I think of more.


    Hang in there, and you are not a failure!


    Check out Diane Craft’s website. She even has a DVD on teaching math to right brained learners.


    These are things that have turned our school into something we all enjoy.

    Michael Clay Thompson’s language Arts program – grammar reads like a story. Then once that book is finished, like in 2 months, then they just have to tackle one sentence a day for the rest of the year. He loves loves loves this part the most. Little does he know that they daily repetition has solidified the concepts in his right brain. I wanted to follow CM style, but he just couldn’t handle dictation or copy work at all with his dyslexia… it was pure torture for him.

    Life of Fred Math!! It is so funny. We love him and kids have insisted they want to complete the series no matter what. WE will see…..

    As for times tables with no flashcards or tears or hour of memorization….. I used Times Tales DVD. Worth every penny!! HE learned them all in about 2 weeks and we have never looked back.

    Anytime I read, he build with legos or doodles what I am reading about.  He now thinks he can’t build without a story going because he isn’t entertained enough just building. So now I have several Jim Weiss Audios, Lamplighter audios (sounds like a play with sound effects), and Beautiful Feet’s Science and History biography CD’s for him to listen too.

    If he agrees to narrate anytime I ask during my reading, I have also been known to allow him to play minecraft and build what we are reading about.

    Just a few ideas to make your school NOT resemble public school, but still get some things covered if you really can’t do the unschooling.


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