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My daughter is in sixth grade. She had attended public school since kindergarten and had her grades started falling in fourth and fifth grades. We began homeschooling her this year and were shocked at her lack of comprehension skills. She forgets things as soon as she reads them. Even when I try to read assignments to her in an exciting way, she does not retain the information.

Last week, we did a whole unit on the Scientific Method in Science. This week, the term was reintroduced and she acted as if she had never heard the term. I hate getting frustrated when I know this is not something she is doing intentionally. Is she ADD? She never acts hyperactive. She is very laid back and can concentrate on and remember TV shows and comic book stories. If she is ADD, I have no intention of medicating her. Is there a natural medicine or change in food or curriculum that can help her?

You mentioned that your daughter retains information from TV shows and comic books, so you may want to consider using multimedia to help your daughter learn new material. Multimedia tools should not replace the instruction you give your daughter, but they can be used to enhance and supplement lessons. For example, a wide variety of science documentaries are available online; perhaps you could find a short program that illustrates a point you are trying to teach.

PBS frequently makes specials and short documentaries available on their website, so you could try searching there for relevant material. Hulu , a website where you can watch full episodes of TV shows online, has episodes of NOVA, National Geographic and other educational programming available. Hulu also has programming on current events, politics and other topics that you may find useful. You can also find a number of suggestions for using multimedia to teach different topics in CITEd’s series of articles on Multimedia Technologies .

Another option is to use online tools for visual storytelling. You could have your daughter create a comic to illustrate a concept she’s learning, or use images and photos found online to create a slideshow. ReadWriteThink has a very basic comic creator available that your daughter could use to make simple comic strips.

She could also try using a free animation creation website such as Kerpoof to create her own short animated movies to demonstrate understanding of a topic. You can also find a number of suggestions for visual storytelling in Alan Levine’s wiki post 50+ Web 2.0 Ways to Tell a Story . If you discover that your daughter really enjoys creating her own comics and multimedia, you may consider purchasing software such as HyperStudio .

Note from LD OnLine: Visit Dr. Silver’s Home Schooling section to see a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist’s response to the same question.

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