Homeschool parents tend to be very independent people. We like to take matters into our own hands, and we like to think outside of the box.
Homeschooling involves lots of preparation and planning. Most of this, if not all, is tackled by the parent. We plan the curriculum, choose the resources, and outline the year. But there comes a time when we need to begin encouraging our children to take some responsibility of managing their own schedule and time.
This is not merely to get something off of mom’s plate. It’s to help nurture skills in your child that they need to develop. And for mom, this may even put more on her plate because at the beginning you will need to oversee what they are doing.
It takes time for them to become stronger in these skills, so at first mom may need to help quite a bit. Here is how to nudge your children towards more independence.
Determine if they are ready
Kids develop differently. Some kids are naturally independent; others need some encouragement. There are some children who need lots of hand-holding along the way. Age is also a huge factor. You can’t expect your first grader to manage her schedule like a ninth grader would.
Share your experience
When I started working with my eldest and helping her to develop a plan, I shared with her how I planned out my schedule and our homeschool schedule. But I also encouraged her to do what works for her.
Begin by letting them plan out their morning schedules even if it has nothing to with school. Sit down with them (make it a fun project) and ask them if they know what their morning routine is? My 6 year old knows that when she wakes, up she brushes her teeth, gets dressed, and makes her bed. She then combs her hair. Most mornings I have to repeat these steps to her, even though we do them every day.
We are working on helping her become more confident in herself and encouraging her to take responsibility for these things. Is it a huge thing? No. But to her it will help her develop confidence to manage her own day.
Encourage them, even if they mess up
It’s important to never discourage them if they stumble. This will only make them insecure and doubt their capabilities. If they plan something out and it just doesn’t work, praise them for trying! Then help them work out a new plan.
I remember the first time my eldest asked if she could plan how to tackle her school work that week. I let her know what I expected her to complete, but left the planning up to her. She tried to pile it all up in just a few days, only to realize that time was not on her side.
Nevertheless I applauded her for her creative approach and helped her create a new plan. It stretched out longer than she had hoped (four days versus three) but she wasn’t as stressed and was complete her assignments. She didn’t feel defeated; instead she realized that when plan A doesn’t work – there is always a plan B.
Do you encourage your children to manage their time and homeschool schedules? What are some tips you have to offer?