I love analogies. When someone is struggling to understand either a concept or how something applies, I find that an analogy using something with which they are familiar moves things along much faster.
My son is a literal thinker and I try to explain areas of struggle with tangible substitutes. Recently, I was trying to have a discussion with him about racing through work and expecting immediate answers and results. Unfortunately, it is a frequent conversation. He's a smart kid, he just doesn't always want to use the tools he has. Tools. Hmm. I then explained it to him like this:
After I explained this analogy, I could see the light go on. He's always in a rush and doesn't want to think about whatever task is before him. Instead, he whacks it with the nearest 2x4 in an attempt to just get the job done. In the end it takes much longer, because he has to redo his work. I can't say the analogy has entirely solved the problem. However, all I need to say is, "Are you using your hammer or a 2x4?" and he knows exactly what I mean. It gives a much clearer picture of my previous, "Think, child, think!"
You are a builder constructing a house. You have all the tools you need to do the job properly in your tool bag and all the materials laid in front of you. However, each time you go to pound a nail, rather than searching through your tool bag for the hammer that you own and know how to use, you pick up the closest 2x4 and use that instead.
After putting the nail into position, you whack it over and over with the 2x 4. Yes, the nail is driven in slightly, but it is all crooked and bent. Pulling it out, you start the very same process again, banging and banging away with the 2x 4 You aren't getting the results you want. You get frustrated and whip the 2 x 4 across the yard, saying that you can't drive the nail into the wood. You've worked hard and have sweat and exhaustion to prove it.
However, the job has not been done. Once you settle down, you decide to search your tool bag and see the hammer. Using the hammer, you easily drive the nail into the wood. Had you taken the time to walk to your tool bag to get the hammer in the beginning, you could have driven the nail into the wood correctly the first time. Instead, you grabbed the first thing available to you because that was easier at first, but got frustrated in the process and ended up spending more time on the job. Wouldn't it be easier to just walk over to the tool bag and get the hammer first?
Do you have any analogies you use in your homeschool? If so, I'd love to hear them!