I 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 I 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?