Encouraging Independence in Homeschoolers
One of the great benefits in homeschooling is that we have more time with our childern to train them, not only with school lessons but also with practical living skills. Things like responsibility, hygiene, and independence in all things. It is very important that as they grow children are given more and more independence and taught to take some initiative completing tasks (without constant nagging). It’s especially true when you are raising a special needs child. With Mini having Asperger’s it takes a lot to encourage that indepence. In homeschool I like to teach Mini independence with school work especially. One way you can encourage independence in your homeschooler is by making them responsible for at least starting their own work and complete as much as they are able to on their own well. To set Mini up for success I follow several steps myself and then ask her to follow through on implementing them. Encouraging indepence has been easier with these 3 steps
Establish Routines– If you do not expect work from your child on a regular basis it is hard to expect them to know what to do. Set Up daily (or whatever days you school) expectations. Write them down ,or if your child is younger you can use photos to represent chores and school work. Demonstrate each task and guide them through it for a couple days, once they get it allow to them to at least start the tasks on their own, and eventually let them finish alone. You can check once their done, cut them a little slack if they are making a true effort but expect them to do their best.
Create a Workstation– A neat and orderly workstation is a great way to give your child an area that encourages independence and task completion. For chores around the house give them a child sized cleaning basket with rags, dusters, and safe cleaners ( we use water with a few drops of essential oil for quick wipe ups). For school work set up daily folders, checklists, or whatever works for your family’s age, size, and lifestyle. For us this is her own desk and a crate with hanging folders that holds her daily worksheets. We use the crate to keep her things portable. We’ve not gained total indepence yet and she usually ends up working beside me.
Reward Completion– I don’t know about you but if I work out and I reach a goal weight I like to reward myself with a little something. If I had a job outside of the home and completed my work with my best abilities I would probably get at least a verbal affirmation. Kids thrive with the same- it doesn’t have to be candy, or a big day out (although this is a great reward for a long term goal). It can be a few extra minutes of Xbox time or a board game after schoolwork and chores are done.
Encourage your child whenever possible and don’t forget to at least acknowledge their efforts verbally and you will see them blossom under the self confidence that accomplishing tasks on their own gives them.
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