This one is one of my favourite lessons in this series, as its an opportunity to show up for our children in some really awesome ways. It was not an easy lesson for me, but once I got it, I wondered why it took me so long to embrace this reframing of home education.
#2 – Let Go of the Reins
So yes, you’re the parent, the adult and you’re in charge! And with that responsibility we tend to take control by default. What I have learned is giving my children autonomy in planning their learning is a gift that keeps on giving. Much like in the workplace how delegating can be such a powerful developmental tool not just for the employee but also the manager. Here’s how…
“Let them set their schedule”
First off this not only gets them involved but it creates “buy in”. At the start of each week I ask my boys what do they want a typical day of learning to look like this week. I hand them a blank daily schedule and let them fill it out and then I go with it. Does that sound scary to you? My experience has been that every time the boys continue to amaze and impress me with their approach to how their time should be spent, what feels comfortable for them and also the balance that they create for their day.
“Gift them your Trust”
Then I get the opportunity to gift them with my trust and confidence in their ability to make appropriate choices for themselves. Oh thats a hard one for those of us who need to control things, even when we can clearly see that some of the choices aren’t practical. But consistently showing them that they can’t “mess up” their own schedule sends a valuable message that their choices are valid. One time my youngest allocated 4 hours a day for math, because he felt he should get more time in with that. As much as I knew it was impractical, I told him ok sure lets go with it. On day 2 he came and let me know he thought he should adjust his allocation for math because its way too much, and reduced it to an hour and to that I also said ok sure, and commended him for being flexible and knowing what works for him.
“More than the academics”
I found that because they were setting their own schedule and “the adults” were accepting their decisions on learning, that the boys’ approach to homeschool was one filled with enthusiasm, it was their learning and it felt right and customised just for them.
What does it do for a child’s confidence and self esteem that their parents value and validate their choices, capabilities and intuition? It’s an immeasurable lesson, one that I believe is far more important on the home education “curriculum” than any other academic lesson. To know that by our actions we can nurture a growth mindset in our children, develop their confidence, and reframe their self talk is ultimate parenting goals! That’s the good stuff, the winning feeling we strive for with our children, that at night when you reflect on your day you can high five yourself. (what am I the only one who does this?).
The nitty gritty…
Ok so you may be wondering yeah well how will they know what to schedule into their day and this sounds great but what if they just decide to play video games all day. (they won’t though) Here’s the thing we do provide them with the options for learning. You may have received lessons from your school or have set times with teachers online. You may also have your own trusted resources (online videos, workbooks, activities, worksheets). We lay all these out, the different subjects and also throw in physical activity (of their choice), reading time, “productive time” on gadgets (where they use search engines and explore topics), rest time, hobbies (in our case the boys each play an instrument so they have music time)
Can you already see how a day can be filled. By giving them a blank schedule (apart from pre arranged slots with teachers/schools) they can then choose where these other learning activities can be fit in. It still gets done but its self directed. It also takes the pressure off of you to plan their days and be a timekeeper (as if you don’t already have enough to handle). – the gift that keeps on giving.
Thank you for letting me share this homeschooling lesson learned with you, what I love about this is that its applicable not just for homeschooling, what a wonderful approach to have in our parenting in general.
I hope that this is helpful to you today and that something in here resonates with you.
Look out for lesson #3 in next week’s post and remember to like or comment below so I will know if this article reached you. If you are interested in getting samples of the schedule that I use and /or any of the resources we use at home, please feel free to contact me.