No one likes to do the exact same things every single day – not even kids that thrive on structure. There has to be some flexibility and freedom built in, or boredom and naughtiness can ensue. This can definitely be a delicate balancing act, finding ways to provide freedom within a very necessary structure. Let’s explore some ways that we can bring freedom into the homeschool day.
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Freedom in the Schedule
The first thing I do each day is create myself a “To Do” list. I am sure that many of you do the same. Why do we do this? Well for me, it has everything to do with the fact that without said list, my day can very easily dive into the pools of chaos and added stress. I need my list more than I need my caffeine most days.
For those of you that are list makers, imagine for a moment that someone else (maybe your spouse) created your “To Do” list and you were not allowed to alter it in any way. Would you be very happy? I know that I wouldn’t. But, isn’t this what we do so often to our children?
What if we laid out the items that need to be completed for the day and allowed our kids to make their own “To Do” list? If you are skeptical about trying this, I don’t blame you. What if their list is video games, YouTube movies, and snack time? That is exactly what I thought my kids’ lists would look like. I am happy to report that their lists were actually quite informed.
My son decided that his favorite subjects should be done at the end of the day to keep him motivated, and it worked. He now sets up his entire day, and works through his list pretty much independently. My daughter is not capable at this time to have that same freedom, so I ask her every morning the same question. Does she want reading or math first. Since allowing her even this little bit of freedom, I see way more cooperation.
Freedom to Lead
When my kids had questions on something during their school day, I used to be very quick to answer their questions. What I realized is that I was teaching them to be dependent on me. Since I don’t plan on going with them to college, I decided that maybe they should be a little less dependent on me. I had to gift them to freedom to lead.
So now, when they ask me a question, I help point them in the right direction to find out the answer for themselves. Sometimes it’s the internet and other times I send them to a sibling. I do not, however, just jump right in with the answer or look up the answer for them.
The best part is that I get interrupted way less during my day. Instead, when they actually do interrupt with a question, it is because they exhausted their search and need a fresh direction. This allows me the freedom to get my work done, and them the freedom to lead their own learning.
Sometimes I end up learning something new in the process. Boy, does that make their day when they get the opportunity to teach me. By giving them the chance to lead, they also learn to rely on their own skills and abilities to solve their problems. I really don’t want to be that parent that helicopters them into adulthood.
Freedom to Fail
Why are we so afraid of failure? It’s not like any of us are perfect, right? And yet, I am such a perfectionist. I strive to be the best mom I can be, and I can get really down on myself when I fall short.
The thing is, I do not want this for my kids. I want them to have the freedom to fail. Through my own perfectionism, I have actually created little perfectionists of my own. I did not mean to do this, but none-the-less, I did.
I have since learned that I have to consciously teach my kids that it is okay to fail. In fact, failure is a very important part of life. It is in our failures that we do the most learning.
Have you ever watched a toddler learn a new skill? They could care less about how many times they fail or even how they look as they fail. Toddlers will keep at an activity until they have reached success. We should all be like toddlers. Let’s teach our children to view failure like a toddler.
Blogging Through The Alphabet
Let’s hear what you came up with for the Letter E this week. You can add your post below. And don’t forget to visit the co-hosts and other participants.
- Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
- Kirsten @ DoodleMom Homeschool
- Jennifer @ A Peace of Mind
- Kimberley @ Vintage Blue Suitcase
- Christine @ Lifes’s Special Necessities
- Yvonne Billian @ The Life We Build
- Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag
- Wendy @ Life on Chickadee Lane
- Lori @ At Home: where life happens
- Kristen @ A Mom’s Quest to Teach