Why the Daily Checking of Our Children’s Work Is Key

Why the Daily Checking of Our Children's Work is KeyFrustration etched on her face and anger in her voice, a friend realized her children needed to review an entire level of their school work. For weeks they had been plodding along without any help from her, insisting they were just fine. The truth sang a different tune once ‘grading’ day arrived. Several of the kids hadn’t understood a bulk of their studies, while others had gone straight to the answer key and copied. She quickly understood why the daily checking of our children’s work is key.

Please understand, I tell the above story not to ridicule the mother who was doing her best with the daily struggle to get everything done, but as a personal homeschool check and a warning. Waiting too long to check our children’s work could lead to trouble and unnecessary frustration.

Quickly, and without much effort, our days become overly filled with activity and responsibility. It seems easier to put off the multitude of worksheets until the end of the day and check them then. If I’m really in a rush, Friday might work? What’s a few days, more or less.

We’ve come to realize a few days can make a great deal of difference. If I miss one day of checking in on my kids, the next day might be a complete loss. And the day after. And so forth. Each lesson is a block upon which another will be built. If one is crooked or out of alignment, the entire structure is faulty; needing to be rebuilt. Once I finally discover the issue, I then have the frustration of calling in my hard workers and apologizing for having to undo everything they’ve already done and have them start over. You can imagine how popular this makes me.

To save myself a world of hurt and days of deflecting angry muttering, I’ve chosen to check in with lessons on a daily basis. It doesn’t take long; just a moment really. All the children sit together to study, so looking over shoulders to make sure everyone is on track is more easily managed. If they are struggling, we work on it then and there. As we’ve chosen to focus on a mastery approach, this works for us. There is no point in moving forward tomorrow if lessons today are not understood.

How often do you find yourself checking work? We know this works differently for every family. Some find it best to review at the end of each day; others the end of the week. For those whose children are working independently via computer, checking work might not be a concern at all. (Although one might expect a brief overview of children’s progress?)

We know one thing to be true, no matter when we grade, being involved in our children’s learning is key. Having Christ as our center and asking what He wants of our learning and leadership helps us stay on track, no matter what that looks like.

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
~ Ephesians 6:4

Your Turn!: Share with us how the Lord has directed the fun task of checking all those stacks of paperwork!

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7 thoughts on “Why the Daily Checking of Our Children’s Work Is Key

  1. I’ve come to this realization with my son the hard way. This is our second year. We started strong but here it is the middle of the year and things have slowed down. I do think it’s because I haven’t been checking everyday so problems sneak by without notice.

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  2. This is absolutely true and a huge key to the success homeschoolers see.
    When I was a child in public school, we sometimes received our papers back in huge chunks, finally graded by that poor teacher who had a life when she got home, but had fifty students in her classroom who were turning in assignments in every subject. How she did it is beyond me and it was a shame
    Not only did we sometimes not even remember doing the seatwork, but also, sometimes one of us had done it totally wrong and received a horrible grade, which was at that point in our permanent record and unchangeable, while trying to figure out what on earth we did wrong.
    The shock…
    In our home, I had six students ranging from beginner to highschool. I scored the higher grades English, since it was all essay answers, but beyond that, each child who could read scored his own work and then corrected it to 100%. The score keys were kept in the kitchen, which also housed my “teacher” desk. I always knew if they were spending too much time there, or making too many trips to score. Probably every one of them tested the waters with cheating and found Mom wasn’t born yesterday and Dad really, really backed her up. For real. 😉
    Also, if they missed over 20% they were to bring me the paper and explain what went wrong, if they could. If not, I would explain what went wrong.
    We also had a short test, which I graded, every 3 weeks or so, in grade school, which they were required to pass with an 80% or higher, before moving on. Since they worked independently, these checks kept everyone honest and truly working to learn the material.
    Finally, each day’s work was to be deposited into Dad’s recliner, into which he could not recline without noticing what everyone had done for the day. I know they listened from wherever they were, for his, “Wow! Who got this 98% in algebra?! Good job!” or whatever he chose to say. And he would quietly encourage the struggling one with kind remarks about overcoming in the unloved subjects of the day.
    It was not perfect, but it worked for us.
    So glad you posted this very important topic!

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  3. I can say that I always checked my kids’ work mainly because I have one that will be slack if there is any room at all for it. For him, it was critical to provide accountability and now that he’s in 10th grade, all the effort has paid off. He now takes the responsibility seriously, though he certainly did not when he was younger.

    As my kids got older, I no longer did as much up-front teaching as I did reviewing and reteaching if there were concepts that seemed shakily grasped. It was a great system that worked will for us, and kept me accountable to checking work!

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  4. Marking work as often as possible helps. I make it a point to strike up a conversation about what the text says, what it is asking and what they think of it. I want them to know I am as interested in learning something about the subject as they should be, and that I’m watching how they are go about wreslting with the task at hand. When the set task has been completed I have the kids put the work on top of my diary/log, so I can mark it; check it and then pencil it in as completed. We also have a ”board of the week” where I place some of their completed work. My homeschool dad mantra when it comes to making sure every piston is running as well as can be expected: ‘Maintain the high ground’ – Sun Tzu

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