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Remember These 2 Rules When You Compliment Your Kids

Remember These 2 Rules When You Compliment Your Kids

As a parent, you want your children to feel successful. Even more than that, you want your children to feel confident about who they are and who they can become. In your effort to promote healthy growth in your children, you may feel confused or overwhelmed about what to do. There is so much parenting advice out there and so many sources claiming to have all the answers regarding how to nurture healthy self-esteem and instill positive values. Fortunately, there are simple tips you can follow when complimenting your kids that will promote positive growth.

Reward Effort, Not Outcomes

Some kids express clear talents from an early age. They may have an ear for music, a head for numbers, or a passion for the arts. Other children’s gifts, however, are not as readily apparent, and they take time to discover and cultivate. As a result, it’s important to reward your children for their efforts and not for the outcome of their actions. If you focus too much on results, kids with a special talent will learn to coast and not push themselves. Children who are still developing their talents will worry that they can never measure up to their peers.

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Focusing on results sets kids up for a mindset of comparing themselves to others. They will learn that as long as they are performing better than the people or children around them, they don’t need to continue learning or growing. This mindset treats learning like an undesirable activity instead of a playful adventure. Since children naturally love to learn, it takes adult interference and over-emphasis on performance to dull their curiosity.

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Complimenting your children’s efforts instead of their performance will keep them engaged in the learning process and will ensure that they stay in a growth mindset. Children become less likely to judge each other or themselves when they make a mistake or don’t perform well. Kids with a growth mindset will look for ways to challenge themselves and improve for next time without the pressure to perform.

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Make Rewards Experiential, Not Material

As a busy parent, it may be tempting to buy your child a toy or reward him or her with some other material gift if he or she does something exceptional. A better alternative to using materialistic rewards is to reward your child with new experiences. Giving many material rewards keeps children in a materialistic mindset and sets them up to believe that getting new “stuff” is what life is all about.

If you instead provide new experiences as a reward for good behavior, you will keep your children focused on a growth mindset. Experiences also provide children with an opportunity to interact with their parents, siblings, and friends. These shared experiences help cultivate joyful relationships and provide happy memories that will last a lifetime. Children learn that relationships and experiences are far more important than obtaining material possessions. They also learn that if they do well, they will be presented with even more opportunities to learn and grow. As a result, learning itself becomes a reward. Children who see learning as a reward are far more likely to learn on their own and pursue higher levels of education. They know that no material possession can match the feeling of excitement they experience when mastering a new skill or concept and sharing it with the people they love.

With our culture’s emphasis on material success, children need help navigating outside these shallow cultural values. Rewarding them materially will only reinforce the cultural message that “having lots of stuff” is what makes life valuable. In order to set kids up on a more authentic path of self-discovery, choose your words of praise wisely. Highlight your children’s efforts and show them that learning is a better reward than anything money can buy. That way, they will become confident adults who are eager to contribute to the world and to share their love of learning with generations to come.

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Lindsay Shaffer

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Published on November 7, 2018

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.[1] Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades.

The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests.

Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think.

How to Homeschool (Getting Started)

After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track.

Figure Out the Laws

Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.[2]

The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics.

Decide on an Approach

Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below.

Supplies/Resources

Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse.

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A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available.

Find a Community

Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids.

Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience.

7 Different Homeschooling Methods

1. School-At-Home

Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home.

The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.

  • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
  • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
  • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka

2. Classical

One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time.

Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books[3] as well as Greek and Latin.

3. Unit Studies

Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area.

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For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.

  • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
  • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
  • Resources: Unit Study, Unit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos

4. Charlotte Mason

This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios.

Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style.

5. Montessori

Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century.

With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests.

6. Unschooling

Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.[4] The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches.

For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role.

7. Eclectic/Relaxed

As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based.

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Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling.

How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology

One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process.

Email

Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet.

It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student.

Google Drive/Calendar

Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper.

Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills.

Ebooks

Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks:

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E-Courses

When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go.

From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways.

The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught.

Some recommendations:

Youtube

Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge.

Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education.

Some recommendations:

Final Thoughts

Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

Featured photo credit: Hal Gatewood via unsplash.com

Reference

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