I like routine. With all of life’s responsibilities, good planning removes a lot of the stress and headache of trying to get everything done. The danger in too much control is that our children can sometimes feel boxed in, forced to follow a pattern which they had no say in making. As our children get older, it helps to include their input and loosen the reigns.
When our children were really little, they required a lot more guidance in their learning. They needed me to walk them through a daily and weekly routine. They thrived on knowing what to expect next, what each day brought to them. As my littles have grown, however, I’ve come to realize they are wanting a little more control over their learning routine.
We started out our learning year just as we have the previous few. We had our routine in place and our electives chosen. Our ‘rotation’ spots were all picked out and mommy had the perfect plan in mind. Somewhere around the beginning of second quarter, my kids started to voice new-found opinions. Would it really be that life altering if they got to choose when they did electives?
It seems instead of doing their electives all at the same time, rotating between one station and another in tandem every half hour, they wanted the freedom to work on these learning areas at will. If they chose to rise earlier than everyone else, they could practice their Spanish then. Free time between learning subjects might be the perfect opportunity to sit at the piano. It wasn’t a matter of avoiding these topics, they simply wanted the freedom to choose the appropriate time themselves. In other words, they wanted a little control.
This didn’t seem like such a far-fetched request. They are getting older and have solid reasons for wanting the bulk of their afternoons free; it’s not like they are pushing off electives only to sit around doing nothing. They still plan to get things done, but in their own time. Afternoons could now be free to bake, sew, play together, and even just rest.
Part of me had doubts, but I wanted to give them a chance. So, we compromised. I would allow them the freedom to choose when they did their electives as long as they checked off their work (on a handy-dandy new sheet mommy created just for this), letting me know they were being faithful in their tasks. If they couldn’t stick with it and I was having to remind them too often, we would return to our normal routine.
So far, this new plan is working well! My girls are cruising through their lessons with me and finishing their electives in good time. Awesome! What about my little man? While he needs my input and assistance a little more than his sisters do, he too is doing very well. Unless the kids are learning a new piano piece or my son needs a reading partner, they are handling electives entirely on their own.
Loosing the reigns and allowing them ‘monitored’ freedom was a great decision for all of us. The kids are learning to structure their own time wisely and mommy has less to worry about. It’s been a win-win change.
Now, if only I could convince them that 25 minutes if not a half an hour. Cutting corners doesn’t count! (laughing )
Time to Chime In: How closely do you monitor your children’s electives? Is this something you work on together or allow them to manage on their own? Share your ideas with us!