Raising Motivated Learners: Please Contribute

Raising Motivated Learners SeriesOur goal as parents and educators is to work ourselves out of a job; to raise our children to become responsible adults.

Join us as we share tips on how to raise motivated learners and equip them with the skills to pursue the path the Lord lays before them.

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We have a lot of responsibility on our plates, don’t we? There are dishes to be done, houses to clean, learning to be imparted, and mouths to feed. As adults, we contribute significantly to the lives around us.

We tend to think of learning as book work, but that is merely one facet of increasing in knowledge. One way we can help our children become motivated learners, is to include them in our daily lives. Through assisting us with meaningful household responsibilities and personal projects, our children learn even more. Just like us, our children need to learn how to positively contribute.

Worthwhile Tasks – Our children need to feel they are contributing members of our household. Instead of just floating through adolescence, why not include them in our daily routine? Each of our kids has a job in our home; they have assigned tasks for each day of the week and know what is expected of them. Their jobs are not menial and pointless; they are important and appreciated by all.

While at first these responsibilities seemed a drudgery for them and perhaps were not done as efficiently as mom would have liked, our children quickly learned how to keep pace with everyone else. Through practice and experimentation, they discovered faster and better ways to clean the areas assigned to them. The kids learned responsibility, organization, and the importance of routine.

They desired to be done quickly and, therefore, became motivated to work well together. They learned they didn’t like doing the job twice (when mommy didn’t think they’d done an efficient job), so they worked better. Our children learned to take pride in their accomplishments, motivated by a desire to entertain guests and family in comfort.

Personal Projects – Cleaning and organizing are wonderful ways our children can contribute, but so are personal projects. Our children help sew pillows, hang curtains, make table runners, craft toys, create Christmas cards, bake cakes, and more! Each of these projects taught them new skills and encouraged them to contribute to the family.

The process of working on personal projects teaches our children life skills and character; the desire to benefit others and see their finished work, motivates them to do more. When we, as parents, encourage our children in their personal projects, we are motivating them to be lifelong learners; fostering a creative, positive environment.

When our children see they are making an impact on the environment around them, they will actively find ways to contribute to the household. They will eagerly look for opportunities to clean, cook, and craft. When we provide our children with the skills and means to do so, we are teaching them to be motivated learners; learning how to be responsible adults and gracious hosts.

Time to Chime In: I am so grateful to no longer be responsible for cleaning my children’s bathroom (shudder… laughing). Which task have you passed off, that you couldn’t wait to get rid of?

“Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
– Proverbs 22:6

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15 thoughts on “Raising Motivated Learners: Please Contribute

  1. I was glad to hand over the responsibility of picking up her toys. She has finally grasped that if her toys are not picked up when told to, she will be without those toys. Unfortunately, we had to teach her the hard way and threatened to throw away any toy left on floor, after two times of being asked to pick them up. A favorite toy microphone was one toy that really went out with the trash. She has not lost anymore toys to this rule, though, so the lesson was learned, although I did feel like a “monster Mommy” for a few weeks. 😦 And hated seeing her tears….I do know it was a lesson that she needed to learn and everything else was not working, so we do what we must and carry on.

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  2. Here are a few for a couple of bright boys in an unschooling environment.

    The Dog – we have a fluffy, huge, golden doodle. He needs to be fed, walked, watered, played with and groomed. Each of the boys has a general responsibility for their dog. Which means if there is ten minutes available a quick walk or a careful combing of a leg fills the time. Teaches lots of things including compassion and gratitude.

    Computers – we have a nine, or is it ten, computer household. Many of the computers were scrap but our 14 year old has fixed them. He is very much the household chief technical officer. He trails off into Linux driven incomprehensibility on occasion but our machines work and our network is secure. Besides the obvious learning about computers and, increasingly, coding he is also learning a lot about how to organize systems. Plus, and this is an unexpected bonus, he has independently discovered that a clean computer is a happy computer. Now, if we can just get him to understand the idea of a “tidy workbench”.

    Models – our 11 year old is building his fourth “Spitfire”. He has built other models but we go back to this one because it takes a particular skill set and, if you look at the efforts to date, the improvement is remarkable. Modelling teaches everything from basic painting technique to reading to history. A Spitfire is a lead in to the “Battle of Britain” which opens up the entire Second World War.

    Dinner table current events – Both boys are encouraged to bring what they’ve read online to the dinner table. Admittedly, this leads to rather more discussion of ebola and the Paris atrocity than Susan, my wife, would prefer at dinner; but it gives us an opportunity to discuss real subjects. Along with the events themselves, geography is a huge part of the learning. (I have my smart phone at the ready with a map.) So are economics and politics. But so is learning how to make a point and to listen to another person’s perspective. Things get lively and we are talking about things which actually matter.

    Every day presents lots of learning opportunities. Building a desk you learn about measurement and fractions. Going to the store you can learn everything from simple money questions all the way through to value for money issues like comparing the price per pound of two versus ten pounds of sugar. And, of course, once you start talking about that you can easily get into the time value of money and opportunity costs. Basic economics is no further away than the corner store.

    We’re right with you on cooking and crafting. Sewing is another great place to learn measurement and sequence – plus, from the boys’ perspective, a sewing machine is just another cool power tool.

    The key thing we have learned is that it is just about impossible for children not to learn. It is more a matter of getting out of their way and giving them the tools and information they need.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. One of the gifts I give each of my children on their birthday is the gift of a new responsibility. Doing dishes comes at the age of 12. That was an awesome gift for me, but the best one is laundry. Every child begins to completely do their own laundry at age 14. For that one I did have to tape instructions on the wall and they STILL don’t separate whites from darks, but since they start buying their own clothes at 16, it’s no longer my money going down the drain:)

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  4. My kids oldest is also of age where he is capable enough to clean his own room, the four younger ones share a room and so it can get pretty heinous lol so they need a little assistance still but I can’t wait until they don’t! One thing that I have gladly past the torch to though is cleaning the litter box 🙂 My kids actually like to do it for some strange reason haha. They usually expect a payment of $.50 though and it is worth every cent in my book!

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  5. Dishes. Definitely dishes. I explained to them when I gave them this chore that I sometimes spend an hour cooking the meal, so it is not fair for me to also be the family member who washes everyone’s dishes. You put the reasons for household responsibility so eloquently. When I first insisted on household chores for my boys, some of my extended family members balked at the idea. “You’re home all day, anyway,” they said. “Why not just let them be kids?” Uh, 1) I don’t want them to be lazy adults who don’t know how to take care of themselves and 2) as all stay-at-home moms know, there are never enough hours in the day for one person to clean up after four or more. I’ll be sharing your post with the naysayers. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Life Skills: Helping your kids learn responsibility | HomeschoolHighLife

  7. Laundry and dishes! The kids all have their ‘dish day’ (They are in charge of all kitchen cleaning duties for the whole day.) which is also the day that the laundry room is all theirs. I still have to help my youngest get the machines started, but for the most part these are chores that I no longer have charge of. Bliss!!

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    • My kids all have their laundry days, too! That is such a blessing. This coming year, I’d like to start having my oldest work on dinner one day a week; eventually giving one day a week to each of the kids. One step at a time! 🙂

      Like

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