Letting the Kids Take Over

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Well, we are on our six-week break one-week break following our second six-week period of school. (Twelve weeks down!!! Yay!!!) I think we were all ready for this one! Overall, I think it was a productive period.

I didn’t get a lot of resistance about school, except in the IEW that I started with H. And that wasn’t really resistance–it was more just that she’s not thrilled about it. We are still just doing the key word outlines. She says it doesn’t make sense to her, so I’m taking it really slow. I’m also trying to find the perfect spelling program for her, as she is not a confident speller and has never liked imaginative spelling. She would rather just not write than try to guess how a word is spelled.

The assignment books have been great at giving the girls a visual of what needs to be done. And in the few instances where we decided to move something to a different day, it was nice to not have to copy it over again. However, I did find myself wanting to tweak the organization just a tad.

Last week, I was blessed to have been able to attend a meeting where Joanne Calderwood was the guest speaker. She talked about how she prepares her children to be independent students as soon as they are ready. She sits down with them at the beginning of the school year with a stack of books. She guides them through the process of figuring out how many lessons have to be done before the end of the year, then by the halfway point, then by quarter. She allows them to come up with a schedule that will help them achieve their goals. They are given planners, which they use to keep track of what they have completed. (She also requires mastery of all school work, but that’s not what my current focus is! There may be another post about that.)

While my students are not quite there yet, I do see the many benefits of passing the proverbial reins to them. Through much prayer, thought, and discussion with the girls, we have come up with what I think will be the first step in being able to make that happen. Instead of handing them their assignment books on a daily basis, on Monday I’m going to provide them with something (probably a file folder) containing all of their assignments for the week. We will still use the Post-It notes and the assignment book, as that system is working extremely well, but they will just move the assignment from the file folder to the assignment book after they complete it.

Not only will they be able to say, “I’m in a math mood today, I’m going to do three lessons,” but they will also begin working on valuable time management skills and taking some ownership over their schedule and their school work.

H already sees one of the perks of this system: She wants to get all of the stuff she doesn’t like done first, so that she can do the fun stuff for the rest of the week.

I think it might be a little difficult for me not to micromanage at first, but isn’t the goal of homeschooling to raise independent learners?

What are your thoughts on letting your children take more control over their learning? Do you let them have a say in how things are done?

5 thoughts on “Letting the Kids Take Over”
  1. I think it's a great idea to let children take more control over their learning! I also think it depends upon each child's abilities, and we need to be very careful to not set them up for failure. My eldest cannot handle that amount of freedom, whereas my second child will go look up what she can do on her own when she's waiting for me to get to her. It's great practice for adult life, and I heartily commend you for doing what you can to help your children move along that path.

    It'll be nice when my own are able to handle it as well…not that I'm jealous or anything…nope, not one bit. 🙂

  2. I have Joanne Calderwood's book, and really like her ideas. I'm hoping as the kids get older (they're only four and six now), independence will be something for us to work towards. I love the idea of them taking charge of their learning. I've been giving a lot of thought lately to how I can begin giving M more responsibility in regards to her school work next year. Good luck!

  3. I'm also looking for curriculum that would enable my daughter to be more independent. While I don't think I'll be giving up Writing With Ease, I would be willing to give up First Language Lessons for something like Growing With Grammar. Many people on TWTM forums have talked about their kids not retaining with GWG; but it seems you haven't had this issue? I'm interested because GWG looks so simple (in a good way), it would allow more independence than FLL does, and it's slightly cheaper than FLL.

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