I am always meaning to write more about homeschooling, and yet I never do. Perhaps this is because I am so busy homeschooling, but still, as homeschooling is one of my passions, I’d like this to change. I’ve been reading Gretchen Rubin’s book “Better than Before” about habit formation, and thinking a lot about habits…why they are so hard for me to form and how I can change for the better. Rubin says that the first important step to improving our habits is growing in self-knowledge…knowing how we like to work, what we find fun, what we find hard, whether we are morning people or night owls, whether we like to work a little at a time or only under a deadline, etc. She explains that understanding how we respond to expectations (internal or external) helps us know how to tailor our efforts at forming new habits.
As I mentioned in a previous post, she divides people into 4 main categories: Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, and Rebel. After taking her quiz, it seems I’m an Obliger…although one with a streak of Rebel as well…anyway, according to Rubin, Obligers need external accountability to help them follow through with obligations and meet expectations. They are relational and do well with feedback and response to their actions or work. So while the Rebel part of me hates restrictions like deadlines and detailed rules, the Obliger part of me thrives on interaction and encouragement, which help me follow through with plans, even ones I make for myself, like writing more about a particular topic.
Since I have found it hard (at the end of each busy day) to establish the habit of writing down what the kids do each day in my homeschool journal, I thought it might be more fun to write a weekly homeschool update on my blog instead. This won’t be a perfect “How to Homeschool Fabulously” post, but simply some fun highlights so you can share in our learning journey and maybe get an idea or two to try for yourself. Also you are most welcome to share your ideas or suggestions with me! 🙂 As my favourite Australian blogger puts it, “Comments are like Christmas!” So hopefully now that I’ve told you this (external accountability) and made a weekly plan (scheduling is key says Rubin) I will be more likely to do it than if left in the fuzzy world of “I’d like to sometime…”
Here is one highlight:
Last month we worked on goal setting and planning. We all made a concrete daily goal (like do x amount of math, practice reading a new picture book aloud to Mum, do Language Arts program online, etc) and got to put a sticker on our daily spot when we finished. This really worked for my daughter in grade one, who got so motivated she would read more than one book aloud and get extra stickers. She loved the autonomy of choosing her own book and putting her own sticker on her chart. For her, the more independence the better.
She used the sticker chart system to make a calendar to count down the days until the dentist, because she knew she had a great prize waiting after her appointment. Usually the kids can choose a small gift at the bookstore after dental appointments, but as she had to go back for a filling only two weeks after her checkup, I offered her one bigger prize instead of the two little ones, if she could wait. She agreed choose a magnetic drawing board and waited with eager patience for the dentist appointment. She had her major filling done calmly, eyes fixed firmly on the prize. Being called his favourite and best patient of the day by the dentist was a great added bonus!