This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Angela Searcy, author of “Push Past It! A Positive Approach to Challenging Classroom Behaviors” says adapting instruction to the student’s needs work at home just like it does at school. She shared some of her best tips with WGN Morning News.

You can find Angela Searcy online at

Whether you are a parent you have a “challenging” student you need to remember 5 C’s!

First C is connect. If your student or little darling is non-compliant or even defiant you might be relieved to know the Illinois State Board of Education Remote Learning Guidelines put an emphasis for schoolwork to  prioritize connectedness and care for students NOT compliance. All students should have the opportunity to redo, make up, or try again to complete, show progress, or attempt to complete work assigned. You have to connect before you direct. Your child Disrespectful? disobedient? That is just a sign they are disconnected —so a silly dance, tickle them, laugh, do a TicTok, hug them before you direct.

The second C stands for doing school work in Chunks. Here is the recommended times for e-learning

When you are on the computer say things like  “do 2 problems then a snack or  read a chapter then do a dance for 5 minutes.” Take a file folder, cut it up into sections so it is less overwhelming do all evens take a break then do all odds, set an egg timer or use timer on your phone so your child can see time getting closer to a break or give a child a page from a coloring book—they color half if they submitted half their e-learning. Technology tickets can also work –more work they complete more time for tech.

Your child or student might be defiant right now because they feel they have no control over what is happening right now and  may be trying to exert control over the situations they can—I can’t see my friends but I CAN control how many  algebra problems I complete right now.  Or you set an expectation or say “no:  and child instantly thinks “challenge accepted”  and THAT  becomes the new activity for the rest of the day. So giving choice can mitigate a child’s need to control a situation. So the third C is Give CHOICES  if you can get an old board game take out the dice and what they roll is how many pages they have to read before they take a break or how many math problems they have to complete. Complete the worksheet while standing –tape on wall or let them choose between inside or outside —complete work but give choice on how it is completed or how it is divided up.

Here is an example of what I am using with my 14 year old—

Promote compliance –here is an example from our house:

One potential reason a student can become challenging is to cover up confusion—so the next C is check for Clarity –use tools like photomath. It is a free app that utilizes a phone’s camera to recognize mathematical equations and to display the step-by-step solution onscreen. You can download the app on to a laptop if you are using a computer or take a photo of handwritten math problem khan academy is another great site and audio books or reading out loud into a tape recorder can allow a child to listen back themselves and catch mistakes   If your child suddenly is confused about things you KNOW they CAN do that is typical in times of stress —so recalibrate what your child CAN do and give extra support even for things that they could do before this all began

The 5th C is Compassion  For you and your child  Give yourself permission to let go your old expectations of “normal”. Keep working do the best you can and look for connection and  progress not perfection