Loosing the Reins

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.

Piano (1/3)

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!

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9 thoughts on “Loosing the Reins

  1. Grace and I actually do most electives together…mostly because I’m interested in them, too. 😉 Her piano practice comes after the “structured” part of her school day. Then she has what we call “independent study” time…time (usually 1.5 hours) that she can use however she pleases as long as it’s educational. Sometimes she reads (especially if she really likes the novel we’re working on for language arts) or paints or works longer on her piano or writes… So far, this is working out really well for us. She has some control over her own school and always knows she’ll have more time for working on something from earlier in the day if she wants. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this post! As my daughter is getting older she is more independent… it’s sort of a bittersweet moment when you think of it…. your sad because they don’t need you as much and truly are growing up so fast… but on the other hand, I’m like “wow! I am raising such an awesome little lady that likes to explore things on her own, take charge and is enjoying it”…. *hugs* to you mom!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love seeing posts like this! We’re still at that stage of me holding their hand through each moment, so it’s lovely to see the light at the end of the tunnel that looks like the light of independence! haha

    Like

  4. So glad for this post. We are only in the beginning stages but I love reading about the different stages in people’s homeschool journey.

    We also do “stations” and it was nice to see others doing something similar with older children.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. With a new baby, I’ve had to “loosen the reins.” It has been difficult for me. I always enjoyed that time of sitting across from them, keeping an eye out. Assessing progress. Helping with problems. They’re doing fine and doing their work very well; I’m proud of them. But I still miss it. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

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