Are We Giving Homeschooling Our Best?

giving_homeschooling_our_bestI have noticed a recent trend developing within our small world of homeschooling. When my children finish their spelling practice or their language arts lesson in a matter of minutes, I seriously have to wonder if they have absorbed anything at all. The necessity to rush through our day and “finish” can sometimes be our motivating factor, instead of taking the time to give it our best.

One of the blessings of homeschooling is that we have a very flexible routine and no time constraints. However, I don’t want to be so focused on getting to the end of our lessons, we miss the point entirely… the love of learning.

Since both my husband and I have noticed this trend we are taking measures to ensure its quick demise. If their work isn’t neat, due to rushing through, they are asked to please erase their work and do it neatly. If they finish a lesson very quickly, we review it together making sure they are truly understanding the material. If they get the work done, but the method could use some improvement, we work out the kinks.

The purpose in forcing our children to slow down isn’t to raise perfectionists – although that could be a danger, if the wrong methods are applied – but rather to teach them the art of a job well done. We want our children to learn that all we do should be done to the best of our ability. If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right! Even something as simple as spelling should be done with our utmost effort. There is no area of our lives this discipline shouldn’t apply.

The danger here could be that set a standard for my children and tell them what their best is. That would be wrong. My children need to be shown what can be done and then allowed to do their best. Their best isn’t going to be what I can do. Their best might not even be what their siblings can do. No, their best is just that, their best.

When their best is done, no judgement is passed and no lecture follows. They did all they could; their best. No one can ask more than that.

I will add… While they did give their best, that doesn’t mean I will not continue to have them practice until their best gets better. I should also mention there is a danger in teaching children that doing their best always brings reward. There is something wrong with giving a child a trophy for 10th place. Yes, do your best, but if you want an award, keep working until you earn it! More on that another day…

Even I, as an adult, have much room for improvement in many areas. I want my children to learn to not only do their best, but push themselves to do better. Their best needs to be self-motivated and continual. Through daily practice and goal setting, we are teaching our children to never stop growing and learning.

Our children still feel the occasional desire to rush through practice work or a chore, but they are getting better. They are coming to realize rushing through does not pay. Mom is only going to make you do it over.

With time, I hope our children will learn that all things worth doing, should be done to the best of their ability. Perhaps this will also teach them to carefully choose what to be involved in and how much work will go into their decisions.

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;”
~ Colossians 3:23

📢 Chime In!: How do you prevent work being poorly done due to hurrying?

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13 thoughts on “Are We Giving Homeschooling Our Best?

  1. I try to teach them quality is always best because that’s what they show others they are worth… so if their writing is sloppy even if everything is correct and great you might not even want to read it. I demonstrated withfood, throwing it haphazardly and untidy on the plate and asked if it looks like something they want to eat. The answer was a resounding NO! So similarly if I’m going to read their work and enjoy it, it has to be presented in a proper manner. I think it’s a life skill over telling them what their best is.

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  2. I love your posts, thank you so much for all your encouragement and wisdom! I agree that we have flexibility with homeschooling, so my question would be, how do you manage to do all you do without it being rushed? I see you and your kids enjoy many outings. At what point do you have time for subjects like math, grammar, spelling, etc.? I love the flexibility we have as well, but we are rushed to make it to co-op then straight to guitar, orchestra a separate day, nature study another day, piano lessons, and so on…aye! I know it’s a matter of activities I’ve chosen for my kids, but I see you’re on the go often also, and just want to know what I’m missing in being able to have a relaxed time for school.😳😊

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    • On my end, it’s all about being organized and having a set routine. We might not start each subject at an exact time, but I DO know how much time I have on each day of the week to tackle book work.

      I make a strong point of not over-booking our lives mornings during the week. This time is specifically set apart for bookwork. Nothing interferes that’s not an emergency or unable to be done another day. (I don’t even answer the phones.)

      It’s Friday – Sunday we allow activities to rule the day. If there should be an activity during the week, it’s usually scheduled after noon; so as not to interfere with book time. When it can’t be avoided, we will plan an in-week activity, but the work will be accounted for on a consecutive day.

      This routine might not work for everyone, especially those who have outside lessons with other instructors. I feel for you. I understand the need to make everything fit. We are blessed in having the bulk of our lessons at home. Piano is taught by me. Guitar by my husband. Art by my husband. And so forth. Our outside activities tend to run towards field trips, co-op, volunteer work, and nature studies; all done on Fridays and the weekend.

      No two routines are going to be the same. But, when we begin with an organized schedule, we are better able to see where have time and where we might need to renegotiate our resources. Keep up the awesome activities, and made the Lord guide you in finding balance.

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  3. I wasn’t popular this week because I made our eldest redo a 750 word essay on part of a book we’re reading on the French Revolution. Sometimes setting our kids up for success means taking pains to point out where they went wrong, assert the importance of “going back and doing it again.” So I’m with you both 100% here. I’m Mr. Miyagi, to their inner your Daniel-san. Wax on. Wax off.

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  4. I agree with you! My son’s personal goal is to complete grade 3 and move on to grade 4 before the end of or school year which is great but also causes him to want to take shortcuts. We have had a few discussions about what we call “advancement by competency”. We will work on a specific concept until I know he understands it before we move on. Some concepts he catches on quickly and others he doesn’t. If he starts to get frustrated we take a break. A few times he’s come back to something he’s struggled with the previous day and asked, “Why was this so hard yesterday?” Somehow overnight his little brain figures it out. We focus a lot on how much effort he puts into his work rather than how much work he’s doing and he does it until he gets it right. We take however long he needs to understand what I want him to learn. If I see he’s putting in the effort I don’t mind taking a few more days to work through it. I know that sometimes he takes less time than I anticipate so it will all get done in the end.

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  5. Rushing is not an issue with my eldest. We are working with him on how slow his pace can be and needing to think quicker and getting it on paper. I could see this being a potential issue with our kindergartener, however. Thank you for the advice and different warnings to watch out for.

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  6. You made great points!

    There is a balance to everything, however. I’ve been shocked at times after my daughter breezed through some work that she retained so much of it. I would try to review over something because I thought she did it too quickly and “could not possibly have gotten anything out of that,” when actually she did. Kids are little knowledge sponges.

    I often have to remind myself, also, that she doesn’t have to learn every possible detail about every subject we encounter. Occasionally, I suppose that “rushing” through less-important work won’t kill her. Sometimes the little bit of free time she gets as a result is more valuable than the lesson I had prepared. 🙂 I’ve understood that idea more this week, as she’s been far too sick to homeschool. Yet, during the few moments she felt better, she has done some very creative artwork and made special hand-crafted Christmas gifts for family and friends.

    As I’m sure I’ve told you before, I’m a “reforming perfectionist” who battles with finishing checklists and doing everything thoroughly and methodically. I can understand where you are coming from with this post. But, I’ve decided that every now and then the world won’t end if we don’t do our utmost best on a less-important project. She will still learn something, and she and I both will be giving ourselves a much-needed break. I remind myself that many people I know never even finished high school; and they grew up, too, and have great lives as adults. 🙂

    (Sorry this is so long. I hope it made sense. I’m quite tired and not very coherent today. That would probably be a great time to NOT be writing comments on blogs, eh? Lol)

    Liked by 1 person

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