This is a very practical post, but one that I have been wanting to write for several months now, ready? Well, it is about two simple things, but VERY important things that we homeschoolers might not be teaching our kids:
Work under the "pressure" of deadlines and follow instructions.
We brag on how good we are at teaching our children so many things, but these two, believe me, these two are more important than what you think they are.
Provide your children, even from their early years, many opportunities to practice these disciplines. Give them deadlines and expect them to submit the given assignments on time, no matter what! It is so easy for us to say, "Yes, I understand you didn't have time to finish your book report, we were so busy..." but just think that what we are really doing is teaching our children to be irresponsible. Teenagers won't fall apart if they have to stay up late at night once in a while to complete a given assignment. It will do them good.
Another good idea, is to have "open-house" presentations. For example, every quarter plan a nice presentation and invite your friends to come over and see you children's work, their binders, notebooks, drawings; have your children give an oral presentation about one of the topics they enjoyed. All these help your children work "under the pressure" of deadlines, which is necessary, as well as with other character traits that must be cultivated.
What about following instructions? Ask your children to turn in their assignments in a very specific way; let's say, double-spaced, typed with a point 12 Times font, with their name and date on the upper right corner of their paper, etc... and be ready to lower points if they don't follow the instructions carefully. I know, it seems kind of weird to do this, but it is VERY important that our children learn how to follow instructions.
Little ones, must learn to follow instructions as well; if you say use a red crayon to underline, expect them to use red crayon... even if this means that they'll have to look for it because that specific crayon is the one missing! Have them label their work neatly and teach them to always use a sharpened pencil and a nice and clean eraser.
If we put some effort on teaching these two simple things we will be teaching them a lot.
What do you think?
How do you teach your children to work under the "pressure" of deadlines and follow instructions?