We are now in our fourth week of school, and things are moving smoothly. At week one, I found myself reminding one of my children of a very important lesson that I have said before. If you have assisted a child at any point in life with school work, you will relate to this situation.
It happened like this: I tell my fifth grade son that today he is going to review his multiplication as a warm-up before starting his math lesson. Well, it is the first week of school, and during the Summer Math was far from his thoughts. So, I thought it might help to get him back into the flow of school. I held up the flashcards and we went through them until he got one wrong. It was like one of those sad faces we moms don’t like to see. Then I thought wait, I think he forgot about one of our rules. So, I had to remind him.
It’s okay to be wrong, that’s how you learn.
As homeschool parents, we create a nurturing environment for our children to learn, and try to come up with ways to help them get the most out of learning. Since my son wanted to be right, I gave him some ways that should help.
How to be Right
- Practice, Study, Learn. These words are not foreign to the school age child. Whether they are homeschool or attend brick and mortar. Practice makes perfect is a saying that has some truth. If you practice something enough you are going to be pretty good at it. Once you have figured out that more work is needed in a certain area then daily practice can only benefit you. Study to examine a where you went wrong with the problem. I know some students don’t like the word “study” because for some reason they think it means they have to be shut up somewhere for hours looking at something until they absorbs it somehow. Studying is more active than that. It is finding out how something works. Learning will happen if you engaged with practice and study. When you have learned, you will know it.
- What did you think the problem was asking? You have probably heard this before. “Oh, that’s what the question was asking?” Sometimes you just have to get a better understanding of the problem being presented. That means communicating with your teacher or parent, not to get the right answer, but for clarification.
- What was your method for figuring out the problem? This is very important because there is more than one way to get the right answer sometimes. If you have a child who likes to do mental math like mine, you may have to ask them to explain how they are figuring out the problem. Having them explain as they figure it out also works to see where they are getting it wrong. The way that helps the most for math problems is writing it all out on paper step by step. As for other problems like multiple choice answers, it pays to learn the material.
I try to find the opportunity in just about every situation. Homeschooling is a big one. If I can help remove the barriers to learning in a child’s life, then that child will learn. School and home is where the training takes place for the bigger things that await our children. So, if they are wrong sometimes in our secure environment, it just means there is something to learn. I’m okay with that. My job is to make sure my son is okay as well.