Monday, July 30, 2012

School Work and Responsibility

It's hard to believe it's Back-to-School time for many of us.

My older daughter doing (home)school work. 2007
When we first started homeschooling, which was a year before my oldest was ready for school, I had one goal in mind: school at home. But it hasn't worked that way. Over the years my goal has changed and whether you homeschool your kids or go a more traditional route, you can have a similar goal.

When I'm done schooling my children, I want them to be self-learners. I don't want them dependent on others in order for them to learn.
My goal is to make them realize before they leave home that they are responsible for their own education. 
This also helps them accept and shoulder responsibility gradually, before it is all just dumped on them. Regardless of how children are schooled, this is something that all parents can do.

I'm sure we've all seen kids who are straight A students in high school, but when they hit college, they crumble into a million pieces and bring home Ds. Is it that college is so much harder? Sometimes, but more often than not it's because Mom and Dad are no longer standing over them telling them to do their schoolwork and checking it over before it's handed in. This doesn't build responsible self-learners. It creates kids dependent on an external supports to hold them up straight.

Thankfully, it doesn't have to be this way. It means a little more work at home at the beginning, but the results more than compensate the additional work.

Schoolwork is an excellent way to teach responsibility and create self-learners.


Ease them in. Try to work things so that by the time your child hits their Sophomore year of high school they are assuming many of the fine details of their schooling. I am NOT saying make them responsible for their schooling—just the fine details of it.

How does this look if you're homeschooling? Instead of having complete lesson plans for them, just give them a framework or a timetable to work within. Tell them you want the next section done by a certain date, and make sure you tell them your expectations of the work that's to be done.

My oldest taking a break from math. 2007
Key: Leave it up to them. Check with them occasionally to see if they're working on it, but don't nag them. Some kids will take it and run with it, others will wait until the last possible moment, and others will hang themselves. Whichever they do, it's a chance you have to take and then use as a learning tool for them.

If they don't reach the goal in the time they were given, make sure there are consequences that they feel. For some children, those consequences will have to last until they accomplish the next section on time and correctly. You know your child and you know what works for them.
Being soft on them now will not help them develop into mature adults who can shoulder responsibility without buckling under the pressure.

Those who don't homeschool can do the same thing with assignments and projects the teachers assign. You need to be in the know of what's going on at school and with their school work, but you need to raise them so they aren't dependent on you to get their schoolwork done.

Your job as mom changes from being a taskmaster to an accountability check and balance. 

When you do this, your children learn to accept responsibility for their education and become self-learners.


So tell me, how do you help your kids become self-learners?

1 comment:

  1. EVERY time I look at that girl, I am redumbfounded by how much she looks like her mama. And that's a GOOD thing.

    SUPER post, Peejers. Needed this reminder.

    ReplyDelete

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