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Monday, August 17, 2015

Raising the Standards of Our Kids

Do you ever feel so frustrated at your kids output? During one of Andrea's standardized tests her output scored around 30 points below her potential or her IQ. I was dumbfounded and extremely upset. I have tried so many things yet they don't address the heart of the issue. They don't teach Andrea how to be mindful of her work and how to critical of good work versus mediocre work.

Let me share with you 2 things I've tried one that did not really work as well as I would have wanted and one that has transformed our homeschooling tremendously.


Andrea has some fine-motor difficulties so writing is always somewhat of a pain point for us. Initially I would give her 5 pages of writing exercises a day. I saw though that she just basically rushed through the exercises just to finish them but still not learning the lesson that I had wanted her to learn. I then told her that we will only do one page a day...but it has to be perfect. If she submitted something that was poorly done then I will make her do another page. This sort of worked because she started giving me really great output...the problem was it didn't translate to excellent output in other things. I decided to try something else.


I decided to introduce the concept of effort. I told her that what matters most to me is that she exerts the best effort possible. I told her that effort is the only thing that will guarantee competence. I then showed her this effort meter I found online:

I printed this out and showed it to her. We discussed each level. I then pulled out a writing book she had completed. We went through every page and rated it based on the amount of effort she exerted. I pulled out her artworks and she rated those as well. When it was clear that we were on the same page when it comes to rating I sat down with her and asked her: "Honey, what level of effort do you think is acceptable for your homeschool?". We decided that right now, we will be happy with GOOD EFFORT. We will make that a habit then after 6 months we will try to go one level higher.

Since we have done this exercise Andrea has been going the extra mile in her work. For a few weeks before she would show me her work I would ask her "What effort did you put in this work?" and then she would run and make adjustments. But I haven't had to do that recently by God's grace.


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