Sometimes I wonder how I got to this place. I am writing curriculum and advocating for parents to take charge of their children’s education from home. I encourage “homeschooling” your children whether you attend public, charter or private schools or choose to homeschool exclusively. So many parts of educating a person are learned by example, whether you choose to teach intentionally or not. Maybe parents and family members can try to be more conscious of the teaching they are doing on a daily basis.
Be Human in Front of your Children
Embrace exposing your children to the ways in which you figure your life out each day. Let them see you work to find information about topics you do not know about. Let them see you not know the answer sometimes. Let them see you express your frustration appropriately, and then see you accomplish a goal of achievement as well! Allow your children to watch you erase an incorrect answer or admit to misreading a map. Allow them to watch you, back up a few steps, and figure out how to solve the problem a second (or third) time.
Sometimes I think that we present ourselves as all knowing and error free. It can be hard for a child to see “everyone else” always doing things quickly and never making mistakes, and then looking at their own work as slow unending mistakes.
Practice Writing together!
You can work together to practice handwriting legibility with a student of almost any age. How is your printing (or cursive)? Do you follow all the “rules” that your child must endure on a daily basis? Sit beside your child and write the grocery list using correct letter writing rules, and spacing. Practice writing in lower case letters especially. Write slowly and carefully, just like you would like your child to do. I know that handwriting is outdated, but it will give you an opportunity to sit alongside your child and share a challenging experience together. Use your eraser when you make a mistake, and let your child know that you made a mistake, but now you can try again to get that letter shape better. Model writing the same list or a short letter together. You can write on a separate paper beside your child. Make sure that your paper is visible to both of you.
Take your time
Try to write at a slow but steady pace so that your child is not left behind as you speed ahead. Speed is something that is encouraged all day long in almost every activity. Take this moment to value quality over speed of achievement. When you are done make sure to note the positive elements in both of your writing samples. Do this together on a daily basis or several times per week. You can look back at your samples and note your improvement every few days. Learning to take time and appreciate quality work will improve your child’s self confidence. It is a skill that will spill over into other activities as well!
Start the new year off with a resolution to appreciate quality and slow down the speed of some activities. You may be surprised at the benefits of taking the time to share learning alongside your child!
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Katherine is a seasoned educator with a wide variety of expertise in the field. As a teacher with over 30 years of experience with students ages 3-18, she is also a Certified Elementary School Teacher (K-8), a Certified Special Education Teacher (K-12), an Inclusion Specialist, and a Visual and Performing Arts Specialist. In addition to her credentials, she has also spent 2 years as a House Parent for Severely Emotionally Disturbed teenaged girls (ages 9-18), and has worked with all types of students with various labels including Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, SED, ODD, FASD, ID, ADHD, Schizophrenia, Gifted, etc.