Do you wonder how to encourage responsibility in your homeschool? Are you dreading the holidays because you feel rushed and frazzled? It’s so easy to fall into the trap of doing more and asking less if we think we can get it all done faster without help.
Finding ways to encourage responsibility will give you breathing room in this busy time. Sharing examples from the Pilgrim’s story is a wonderful way to teach your family about the need for shared chores around the home.
The seeds of self-government and democracy grew out of the first harsh winter when many Pilgrims starved. After landing in their new land, the Pilgrims planted a communal garden. Sadly, not everyone wanted to do his fair share and considered the task someone else’s responsibility. As a result, 45 of 102 colonists died of illness and starvation the first winter.
The following summer, William Bradford decided to change strategies. He gave the Pilgrims personal responsibly over their own gardens. Knowing they would only eat what they cultivated with their own hands, everyone was motivated to work harder to prepare for the second winter. The abundant fruit of their labors was the inspiration for the first Thanksgiving!
Promote Personal Responsibility
As homeschool moms, we can follow the example of William Bradford by encouraging personal responsibility and self-government. Our homeschools will run much more smoothly. We moms will find time for a much deserved break!
The basis of self government is simple. If you govern yourself, others won’t have to. (Teens like this one!) When we focus on this character issue, we are teaching them to discipline inner desires. Education is more than academics. There may be times when academics give way to character training. Below are ways to incorporate responsibility and self-government into our daily routines.
Give them responsibility for maintaining their own homeschool basket or desk.
Ownership fosters responsibility. If you know you are in control of an item or area, you take pride in what you are doing. There may be a learning curve when falling down on the job impacts the convenience of others. But, that’s real life. The sooner we learn what we do affects the welfare of others, the better able we will be to handle that reality as adults.
Don’t be a hover mother.
This was one of my son’s biggest complaints. Foster a feeling of pride and accomplishment by allowing them to do a project or chore their own way. When chores include ownership, they can actually graduate from doing it from obedience to doing it because it needs to be done.
Teach consequences, but be gentle.
We all learn by trial and error. Learning based in self discovery sticks with a child a long time. Instead of being harshly critical, ask questions that encourage self-discovery. “What can we learn from what happened here,” and “What do you know now that you didn’t know before?” are good places to start.
Throttle your expectations.
Don’t criticize when it’s not done up to par. Ask them kindly, “How do you think this could be done better next time,” or “Now that you’ve done this chore a time or two, what have you learned that enables you to do it faster and more completely?”
Teach structure and routine.
As homeschoolers, we have the distinct privilege to order our day and include chores as an educational foundation of responsibility. Give each child a daily chore for the benefit of the family along with personal chores. As a part of a larger group, the family, we all have a responsibility to take care of each other and make our family strong.
When they are old enough, make them ruler over more.
Kids need to learn how to take care of belongings. Encourage teens to do their own laundry. When they go off to college, this skill will benefit them. Encourage their growing insights with comments like: “We clean up our art supplies to keep them in good condition,” and “We take care of our bodies to stay healthy and avoid disease.”
Kids with higher self-esteem tend to be more responsible.
Build a sense that they are lovable and appreciated. Send messages of unconditional love:
“I’m so blessed to have you as my child.”
“I love spending time with you.”
“You are really good at that!”
“I love you no matter what!”
“I am proud of you, and I believe in you.”
“Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home… it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it.” – Chuck Palahniuk
“Every person who has changed the world has taken responsibility for something that mattered not just to them, but to mankind.” – Mike Stutman
This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.
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As parents, we all want to instill a sense of responsibility into our children, but how we go about that varies as our children grow and mature. This week, we’ll take a look at our family’s Daily Five to see how this system has helped us stay on top of chores at our house and helped teach the children to be responsible along the way.
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