Posted by: fatherof11 | January 12, 2006

Language the key to learning.

Continuing on in our discussion of why homeschooling is best for newly adopted foreign children

If we give just a moments thought to it, we will recognize that education cannot happen without some method for the teacher to communicate truth to the student. If the teacher and student cannot communicate, no transfer of knowledge can take place. Now take the example of the foreign child who is adopted and immediately placed in a traditional school. The child may be bright, she may even have had a good education in her native country, yet suddenly she is placed in a situation where she is asked to learn without knowing the language well. As you would suspect, such a child will typically have great difficulty keeping up with her peers in the classroom.

One of our daughters who was adopted from a disruption was placed in this very situation by her first adoptive parents. She was a top student in her native country. However, she was placed at the eighth grade level with a less than first grade mastery of English. Armed with an electronic dictionary and not much else, she tried desperately to keep up. However, most of her time was spent merely looking up words to see what the mean. But knowing what all the words mean does not imply you can make sense of the sentence or paragraph. Some classes such as mathematics do rely as much on language and were easier than others such as history which required larger amounts. Not surprisingly, she floundered in many of her classes. This was very frustrating to a girl accustomed to being the top in her class.

In the end the frustration contributed to many of her behaviors that eventually produced the disruption. Though there were other problems involved, this unnecessary burden placed on her did not make things easier.

The solution for children like this is to forgo those subjects which require a great deal of language until their language skills are up to the task. This means creating a individually tailored curriculum that focus on language acquisition. Other subjects can then be introduced as the language permits. Clearly, such an individualized curriculum does not fit well into a standard classroom situation. It can really only be done in a one on one situation between teacher and student. While these could be handled through tutors or special classes, if they are available, there are other things going on in the newly adopted child’s life that make homeschooling the better solution. We will discuss them in subsequent posts.

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