Oct 20, 2016
I know because I’ve made all of them more than once. The year is still young, but some of these problems may be beginning to show. Take heart. Good teachers always make adjustments.
Adding too much outside fluff.
This one is tricky. If you have more than one child, life is going to get complicated. But just make sure it is a profitable kind of complicated. Evaluate sports, dance, art, music and sewing lessons, clubs, groups and homeschool events in light of your child’s interests. Here is a little test I found that works. If your child is ready before you are to leave, practices without reminders and thinks ahead concerning the activity, then this activity is a keeper. But if you are constantly reminding, dragging them out the door so you won’t be late, axe it.
Tailoring activities to each child’s interest is really the luxury of a private education. I did not say talents because a child may be talented in an area but have no interest in it. He may be interested in something and have no quantifiable talent for it. Here is where we have the opportunity to teach discipline, faith and perseverance. Gideon was not a warrior when God called him.
Also be attuned to when your child is ready to move on. Just because your son loved football when he was young, does not mean he wants to stick with it through his teens. Re-evaluate interest every year, and let your child be involved. Do not think of these activities as checking a box for socialization, exercising or satisfying grandparents and in-laws. There are cheaper means to do that. Your family schedule need not suffer attacks from outside influences and what is good for someone else.
One caution. There are some activities profitable that are not appreciated in youth. For example, I would not budge on the public speaking contests for our local 4-H group. My children had to enter at least one event every year. They are now competent speakers, even if embellishing those experiences at family gatherings makes me sound like Hitler. Pick one area that you know transcends youth and stand your ground. Heil!
Not reviewing enough.
Finishing a curriculum is great. Until you find out your child has forgotten what he has “learned” three months ago. The truth is, he never learned it.
Teaching is at best a sideline sport in a way. You can only encourage learning; you can’t make it happen. That said, it is our duty to provide enough opportunities for it to be taken in and applied. In other areas it is our duty to make sure memorization of facts is gained so higher learning can be built upon memory’s foundation.
Review is not just a repetition of material. It gives the child a chance to grasp it anew and create associations. Re-study part of a lesson. Make a new lesson from an old one by approaching it a different way and asking different questions. Spread this out over time. This helps the mind to hold what it knows, but then add to its knowledge by use or practice and rethinking. Also, new material should only compromise two thirds of a lesson.
The focus must not be finishing chapters, semesters and textbooks. Learning is not like a once and done appointment. It is brought about by repeated visits. Review by reuse and rethinking is the vehicle that causes information to take hold. For this reason, don’t wait until the end of a unit to review, and don’t make reviews dull, machine-like clones of the lesson. Do encourage fresh vision and reuse of material.
Getting sidetracked from your goal(s).
You do have a goal, right? Did you write it down?
I hope that you have more than one. For more on goals click here. But to keep on track, you must re-visit the plan you charted in the beginning. It is possible that it needs to be tweaked, but true success comes through perseverance and consistency. Learning may be the responsibility of your students, but creating and maintaining that atmosphere of learning is up to you. Post your goals where you can be reminded of your duty.
Image by Ezra Jeffrey courtesy of StockSnapi.o
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