Today let’s talk about the next four items which build upon the first four and that are applicable for the middle school years.
5. Allow children to work independently as much as possible beginning as young as possible. How young can children begin to work independently? I recommend by grade 2 allowing children to read directions and work on their own in at least one or two subjects such as handwriting or math.
6. Do not move on in each area unless the child has mastered the material. It is imperative that today’s work be done with excellence before tomorrow’s work is even considered. Everyone has a bad day here and there, so if the student isn’t getting it today, you can always have him try again tomorrow. Just don’t move on tomorrow until today’s stuff has been understood even if it isn’t understood until tomorrow. Make sense?
7. Have the student set short-term goals with you in each subject and praise them when the goals are reached. Every nine weeks, which equals just four times a year, (or however often you want to order it,) sit the student down, look over each subject and have them project where they think they can be in each subject nine weeks from now.
At the end of the nine weeks, review what has been accomplished, praise and/or give rewards, and set goals for the next nine weeks.
8. Allow plenty of “quiet time” during the day for students to pursue their own interests and to foster personal development. Provide cool pens and notebooks for non-school use. Encourage (or enforce if you have to) one hour of in-your-room time for your students.
What they do during this time is up to you. I like to have mine just go in their rooms and find something to do that is not screen-related. They will write, draw, read, play board games, etc.
I found that my kids really enjoyed this time, and my middle school-aged kids would stay in their rooms past the one hour time period because they were engrossed in something that they probably wouldn’t have been engrossed in had mom not insisted they spend time in their rooms. Funny how that works, isn’t it?
Just a helpful hint here: if the children come out of their rooms before the hour is up, (excepting bathroom trips and anything else that is essential) then the clock starts over again.
There you have them…the four things which, if implemented and done faithfully, will provide valuable opportunities for children to learn and grow in ways that will bring lifelong benefits.
If you have questions on mastery learning or self-teaching, there are a couple of pages on this blog that have additional info on these two topics.
Stay tuned for the last four strategies, which will be directed specifically towards high school students.
Thank you kindly for coming by, and I hope you have an awesome day!