A classical education curriculum can often be adapted for use with students who have learning challenges. Start with visually clean, uncluttered books with a clear, step-by-step progression and built-in review designed to help you teach for mastery. Then make any or all of the following modifications:
1. Reduce the amount of material presented in each lesson.
2. Offer additional practice before moving to the next lesson.
3. Increase the student’s understanding through more frequent questioning and requiring the student to paraphrase.
4. Give more review of the content through recitations, chants, orations, or contests.
5. Provide instruction year-round with light summer sessions to prevent regression.
6. Teach material more frequently one-on-one or in a smaller group.
7. Provide literature and history selections on audio book so the student can listen multiple times, if needed.
8. Eliminate some of the required writing and allow oral answers in history and science.
9. Do not require reading aloud in areas such as history and science if this compromises understanding.
10. Teach typing to older students and allow typed assignments where appropriate.
11. Plan to extend graduation a year to provide additional academic support.
12. Consider supplementing with an online course or consider dual enrollment for a subject or two.
13. If needed, consider an alternative curriculum. The Simply Classical Curriculum was created for those students who require modification in order to learn. With slower pacing, more incremental practice, greater repetition, and multisensory input, challenged students have responded well to these full-year programs designed specifically for them. Find readiness assessments online at ClassicalSpecialNeeds.com to select suitable placement.
14. Remember these words from Mrs. Cheryl Lowe, founder of Memoria Press: “A classical education is like climbing a mountain, each child benefiting from whatever vistas he or she attains in that upward journey.”
Find many more suggestions with encouragement and stories of successful adaptation from infancy through high school graduation in Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child.
Originally published in Simply Classical Journal Winter 2018 edition