Today, I sit in our old school room (a spare bedroom that we converted twelve years ago) which is now my office. Office? Do offices have old rock collections, all levels of textbooks, and NASA pictures all around? Okay, I'm in the process of changing it.
Meanwhile, I reach into the depths of the closet to retrieve my day-planner from our first year homeschooling − 2001. I open it and see Friday 3/8
I absolutely loved our eleven years of homeschooling (Please see Fact #1 About Homeschooling), learned so many valuable life lessons, and now hope to encourage you younger moms to take and enjoy this incredible homeschooling journey. Although I've embraced my new season of life — today I definitely miss teaching.
As I look through that spiral book, I notice that on many occasions, we planned something special — and next to the plans, I wrote, "Reward for hard work and a job well done"...
Looking through this planner reminds me that young children (and older ones, too!) need a lot of encouragement, incentives and praise for their work. I think back to the stickers and smiley faces on worksheets, or the remarks lovingly written with colored Flair markers. We reserved those gold star stickers for work that was outstanding. Otherwise, I used blue, silver or green stars. That gave the twins something to shoot for — a "gold-star" paper.
As your child progresses, I encourage you to simply notice his or her improvement. Words go a long way! When kids see that you acknowledge their progress − it spurs them on.
It helped me when the twins were young to say, "Let's finish this work (math or whatever subject), and then we'll pack up and have lunch at the park," or "After you do your best and finish, I'll let you go shoot some baskets. Does that sound good?" You know your own child − whatever's an incentive for them will work fine. The promise of physical activity can be a great motivator!
The point is to verbally encourage your kids, and, when possible, give some kind of reward for hard work. Be very liberal with your comments, and very gentle in your guidance.
Let your kids occasionally hear you say:
- Wow! I really see improvement!
- Nice work. Nice job!
- Well done.
So, it's all about noticing the little things, the small improvements and progression.
...Back to my day planner back in the twin's 2nd grade year..
Recite Bible Verses, Math worksheets, Spelling/Half-day today! Go ice-skating* − Reward for hard work and a job well-done. *Bring ice-skates
As I recall, it was a wonderful afternoon!
Keep on teaching. You're doing a great job. Stay faithful!