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Home > Academics and Advising > ⁠Overcoming Roadblocks
⁠Overcoming Roadblocks
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Here are a few ideas on how to help your family school at home, especially if one of your children is experiencing roadblocks in their courses. 


Be Patient Through Transitions

Whether this is your first, fifth, or twelfth year homeschooling, please know that schooling at home provides its own challenges and yields its own fruits. Consider what sort of transitions your family has undergone recently - transitioned a student to homeschooling, added an online course or more, moved a student from elementary to middle school or middle school to high school, added on extracurricular activities, moved to a new home, loss in the family, medical issue, new job, or schedule change. All of these transitions are a part of life and can disrupt your desired or normal homeschooling routine. Give yourself, your family, and your children some grace. Homeschooling is a worthwhile endeavor, but it can take time to get into a rhythm and routine that works for your family.


Start each homeschooling day in prayer, asking for St. Maximilian Kolbe's intercession for you and your family. 


Schedule One-On-One Time With Your Child

Make this time fun! Ice cream or a nice dinner are great to start with. An active activity, dependent upon the age of your child, such as mini golf or something that isn't too loud (like bowling) that allows for conversation would also work well. A simple walk works just as well. For elementary students, enjoy this shared time together. Praise them for their successes and growth in virtue that you have witnessed. For middle school and high school students, continue to praise the ways they meet and rise above challenges and show growth in virtue and ask them to articulate what their hopes and dreams are. What excites them? What are their goals? How can they achieve them? If they are having trouble articulating what they enjoy or how they can turn their interests into a career, they can also complete an interest inventory. We suggest the interest inventory for older students, but anyone can benefit from it. We have help articles regarding career guidance & discernment so please click here to be taken to them. If your child has certain colleges or trade schools in mind, begin looking into admission and grade requirements. Consider including college visits during upcoming vacations to assist in the college discernment process. We also have a multitude of help articles that focus on the college planning process so please click here to be taken to them.


Help your child plan activities and courses around their strengths and interests that bring joy. If your child enjoys science, plan a trip to a museum or a STEM camp. If they like to teach, see if they can volunteer at your local co-op or parish's religious education class, or shadow a teacher. If they enjoy writing, research creative writing contests. If they love to read and discuss books, they could volunteer at a library or start a book club with their siblings and peers. If they are drawn to art, visit galleries. These activities will help your child picture themselves in these fields and make it more real. It can be a good chance for them to realize their current actions will either help them achieve this future or prevent it.


Try to uncover fears inhibiting your child’s growth. Are they afraid of failing or earning a grade less than 100%? Perfectionism is a common stumbling block for students. It can prevent students from submitting assignments on time and, as a result, they receive a reduced grade. Reassure your child to reach out to you or their online instructor if they are struggling with understanding what they are learning or with completing an assignment. It can be hard for students to ask for help. Reminding them that you're there as a resource and want to be here for them can help them become more comfortable with asking for help. 


Once you have met with your child, use all of the information you have learned about your child to assist when speaking with your advisor about their course selection each school year. Depending upon your child's age, you can also work with your child to complete their course of study. This can help them take ownership of their courses and therefore feel excited about the new school year.


Content vs. Pacing

For students who are struggling in their courses, it is important to uncover if the struggles relate to content vs. pacing. If it is content, switching to another text within the subject is a good idea. If your student is taking a classical humanities course, switching to non-classical may help. If it's a math or science course, dropping down a level may be a good idea to help lay a firmer foundation. If it is pacing, know that it is very normal. Online courses have fixed due dates and go through material quickly. That is why switching to Digital Homeschool (if this format is offered in the particular course) may be a better fit since your student can cover the same material but submit assignments at his or her own pace. An important factor to keep in mind with this solution is that it essentially turns the course into a homeschooling course. These courses require more parental involvement and support since they are not in a classroom each week with a teacher who is keeping them accountable with submitting assignments. Students must be very driven to ensure this class doesn't fall by the wayside if they are focused on their other, online course due dates. As your family is discerning these options, please make an appointment with your advisor to discuss everything in more detail.

For families who are taking traditional homeschool and Digital Homeschool Kolbe Academy hosted a Parent Partnership Meeting called Curriculum is Your Tool, Not Your Master that will be especially beneficial. It went over various ways to tailor our K-12 curriculum to your family's needs. If you are a registered family with Kolbe, please contact your advisor for a link to the recording. One important note is regarding high school students who are reporting either the K or H designation on their courses. Those designations mean that the course plan has been followed faithfully so there isn't flexibility with changing the curriculum's content like there is with no designation courses. In this case, focusing on making your child's schedule tailored to them is a good solution. They might prefer a block schedule, where they can focus on each subject for longer periods. Or they can check out audio books for the reading assignments.


Discover Learning Styles

Kolbe Academy hosted a High School Learning Style webinar that went into detail about the various learning styles and how to discover which ones your child has. This can help you discover how your child learns and responds to curriculum. If you are a registered family with Kolbe, please contact your advisor for a link to the recording. 



Knowing what sparks joy for your child will help you know how to encourage them submitting homework on time, breaking down an assignment and completing one of the steps, or earning a certain grade. Some examples of incentives are spending time with friends, video games, sports, crafting, etc. Creating a positive result when the targeted action is completed can help students look forward to finishing assignments.


Make Goals Attainable

This is a very important point. If your child struggles with submitting assignments on time, let that be the first goal. Once it's been attained, work up to the goal of earning a certain grade. Schedule in break times too. If they've genuinely worked hard for 45 min, take a small break and have them do something physical like play outside or a quick card/video/board game with a sibling. It's easier for students to focus when they know that they'll have a break. And it helps to get energy out too if they have adequate time to move around. The most important aspect of this is to be flexible. Let's say your child has been highly focused and is almost done with an assignment but their 45 min work timer has gone off. Let them decide if they want to power through for 10 more minutes and complete their assignment or take a break and come back to it. Sometimes it's easier to stay in the flow and complete the last bit of something versus stopping and trying to come back to your thoughts later on. Speak with your child to see what works best in each instance.


In addition, if a student is having trouble starting assignments, especially time-intensive and heavily weighted ones, it is a good idea to break them down into manageable steps. It can be very overwhelming when they don't know how to do this so work as a team to break assignments down- each section should be small enough so that your student can complete it in a few hours. Do they have a multi-page essay due in a month? That means that every few days they should be doing a small action to complete the assignment. First, they should be doing research and brainstorming, then writing a thesis statement, an outline, the intro paragraph, info for the body paragraphs, etc. Many Kolbe assignments are already built into this broken-down model.


Use A Planner

If your child is registered in homeschool, Digital Homeschool, or Asynchronous Online courses, we suggest utilizing a paper planner to write down their weekly assignments. Make it fun! Use stickers, colorful markers, anything to personalize it and make it both enjoyable and easy to use. If it is bland or difficult to understand, students are less likely to utilize it.


If your child is registered in online courses, click on the calendar view in Schoology to view due dates for upcoming assignments. Please note you will need to be in the student view of Schoology to best view the calendar. While there, students can color code each subject so that they can organize their assignments better (religion can be blue, literature green, math red, etc.). To further benefit from this calendar, we suggest printing it out and hanging it up near the student's workspace. Once an assignment is completed and uploaded, cross it off. It can be difficult when students are in school, completing their homework electronically, and then submitting their work electronically. There can be little physical representation of work being completed so having a concrete planner where they can see an ongoing list of what they have completed can give them a confidence boost. In addition, it helps to plan for the future if they see that a certain day has a lot of due dates so they can tackle some assignments early and cross them off.


Daily/Weekly Meetings

Use your child's weekly schedule to discuss their work with them. At first, it might be best to meet daily with your child to go over assignments and allow them to open up if they are stressed about a certain assignment and need to ask for help. Sometimes, if parents don't make time to sit down with their child, look through their work, and ask how they are doing, students might not have the initiative to come ask for help. Be their biggest supporter and encourager so they know you all are on the same team. Alternatively, if your child is excited about a project or interested in a certain topic their schoolwork is focusing on, this is a great way to have a conversation about it and learn more about what gives your child joy.  As your child becomes more comfortable with being accountable, you can have quick daily chats and then meet every other day or once a week for more thorough discussions.


Talk With Teachers

Students in our online courses are given the advantage of a teacher trained in the subject. These teachers have firsthand experience with their students and know based on grades and participation in class what exact concepts your child may been struggling with. Have your child take advantage of office hours to gain insight into what their teachers are noticing.  In addition, reaching out to the teachers with questions about the course and your child's progress shows opens the lines of communication.  All Kolbe teachers are eager to partner with parents to create the best learning environment for the students.


Speak with Your Advisor

Share the information you have learned about your child with your advisor. Advisors are here to help and are happy to develop a plan to help your student succeed. Book an appointment with your advisor here.


Student Support Services

Kolbe Academy offers additional supports like Accountability, Tutoring, Online Labs, and Special Education Support Services. If you are interested in more information, please click here.


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