As the summer draws to a close and we prepare our children to once more resume formal learning we must remember to prepare them to be successful beyond the classroom. World changers seldom limit their learning to a set curriculum. So when you are shopping for supplies this year , please remember to give your child these three intangibles:
1: The confidence to acquire almost any academic skill.
We should prepare them to be self-learners. Most homeschooling families, out of necessity or approach, tend to raise young people to take the initiative in their education. You can hasten this goal by getting your children a learning journal. Collegiate Learning has both elementary age journals and middle-school age journals that help young people take charge of the learning process.
More than a planner, the journal forces the child to focus on acquired skills, such tenth place grouping or algebraic equations. Defining what you are learning helps a student solidify their learning. In my homeschool, learners have to keep journals of subjects they might be struggling with so they can stay on top of a subject. Of course, journaling topics that interest students also has obvious advantages and this should also be encouraged. Many young explorers have science journals.
2: The security to say no when they need to do so.
We should make sure our family’s schedule is not so stringent that it leads to burnout or overwhelm. So many new programs sprouting up, especially after COVID, may mean that many families needlessly become a part of too many activities, sports and enrichment programs. We should put margin in our children’s scholastic and extracurricular activities. They should know they are valued human beings because of who they inherently are and not what they do. Charlotte Mason was one of many educators that wrote about the value of a child’s imagination. Nurture that imagination by giving them free time to have creative thoughts. Take it from me--allowing students the unstructured space to be creative is one of the ways I create master writers.
3: The assurance to honor their innate gifts beyond academics and grades.
Our young people should be given the time, space and resources needed to explore their interests. As a writing coach, I meet young writers all the time who are immensely gifted but due to an overwhelming academic schedule have little time to explore their creativity. Our young artists, scientists and mathematicians should have ample opportunity to explore their innate gifts. Ancillary classes with others who have the same interest are important. These days, many of those opportunities are being found online.
These are gifts we must continuously give to our children. Yes, our children must honor their abilities, recognize their limitations and operate in their gifts if they are to have a fulfilling school year and, ultimately a ratifying life. As stewards of our young children’s time it is essential we remind ourselves and them of these important truths.
Worried about grading your students writing this year as you get back-to-school? Check out my guide to creating a rubric.
Cheryl Carter is a homeschooling mom who has to remind herself every school year to continue to encourage her children that they are much more than their academic achievement. Her Outschool classes are for young learners, but especially those who want to be inspired to learn in different ways. Her writing classes inspire young people to express themselves in the most creative ways.