7 Signs You May Be Micromanaging Your Teens

May 31, 2014

happy familyFor most parents, raising children well is a high priority. We long to be the best parents possible, and we want to make the very best decisions regarding the particular children the Lord has entrusted to us. There is no one-size-fits-all way to parent, but is it possible to do too much for our children once they are old enough to do for themselves?

What used to be called helicopter parenting, the constant hovering of parents over their child, obsessing over both small and large details of the child’s daily life, is now called overparenting. Since doing my own research on parenting over the past eight years, I’ve come to use the term micromanaging to best describe what it is that we parents often end up doing, especially home-educating parents, when we do things for our teens that may be best left for them to work through on their own.

Often we fear that if we don’t do everything just right, if we don’t hover and observe our teenagers diligently, if we don’t ensure that they have multiple activities, the best curriculum, the best books, and the best of everything that money can buy, we are not doing enough, and we risk failing them.

If we insist on being meticulously involved in every aspect of our teens’ lives, we may actually be demotivating our kids and inadvertently causing them to be dependent on us when they should be flexing their muscles and growing more and more independent.

Don’t we want to raise strong and courageous young adults who shine their lights boldly?

Strength comes from personal exercise, courage from taking calculated risks, knowing God goes before AND walks alongside. Independence doesn’t come overnight; it is a process of letting go. For most of us moms, letting go doesn’t come naturally.

Have you ever been in a job where you were micromanaged? I worked in a customer service environment for several years, and even though my fellow employees and I proved to be intelligent and competent at our jobs, we still were monitored minute by minute by a little box on our desks. Lunch and break times, number of calls taken per hour, actual product sales, potty breaks, average daily handle time of calls—all of these things and many more were tracked and recorded. Middle management dictated how our conversations with customers should flow, down to the minutest of details.

The result of such micromanagement was a revolving door of quality employees because they were not trusted to use the skills and abilities for which they were hired to meet the needs of the customers who were calling in with problems. Employees were not given credit for being trustworthy without being overseen every second of their work day. The result was unnecessary stress, burnout, and high turnover.

Simply put, micromanagement kills motivation. Micromanagement eventually kills the motivation of even the most motivated! If you’ve ever been micromanaged as an adult, you know this well.

In the home education realm, micromanagement leads to burnout for both parents and students. Perhaps it’s time to become underwhelmed again! The first step is to realize there is a problem.

In the event that you think you may be a micromanager, here are 7 signs to look for:

1. You have to repeat yourself over and over. Teens will rise to meet our expectations. We are the parents; we get to set the expectations. I expect my teens to help keep the house clean and in order. I expect that we will talk kindly to each other. I expect that they will do their work—be it school work or work around the house—with excellence, and I expect them to do it without me telling them over and over.

These expectations were set when they were young children, but if you haven’t set standards in the past, you still have the right AND the authority to do so now. The catch is that we as parents have to model the behavior that we expect our children to exhibit. Yeah, I know. That is the hard part.

Oftentimes parents unconsciously set low expectations because they are afraid they will stress their children, or they are afraid that their children may not be capable of performing at a higher level. Sadly, some parents do not respect their position as parents and don’t feel they may rightfully expect their children to do what they are asked to do with a cheerful attitude.

Respectfully submit the expectations to your kids via a family meeting, preferably with Dad laying out the rules, emphasizing that you expect them to follow through without repeated reminders. Ask them what they think should happen if the expectations aren’t met. Get the kids’ input on setting consequences. Make sure the consequences are as clear as the expectations, and be sure to follow through with them. When the expectations are met, follow through with a sincere word of thanks! It may take a little bit of reminding at first, but gently ease back on those reminders. Eventually, no reminders should be necessary.

2. You help your teen without being asked. While it is always nice to do things for our teens, be careful of overdoing things for them. “Oh, Mom will do it if I don’t,” is the outcome of overdoing. Teens are growing into adulthood; they won’t wake up one day and suddenly be responsible adults. Having definite responsibilities in the home with the expectation of excellence is preparing them for responsible independence down the road. Helping with your student with her biology project by going out and finding leaves for her collection is a general no-no.

3. You step in before your teen makes a mistake. When a young child is ready for the training wheels to come off his bike, chances are good he doesn’t think he is going to fall. Chances are good he will take a tumble or two as he learns to balance on two wheels. Allowing our children to make mistakes or take a tumble is necessary in order for them to learn how to strike a balance in their own lives. Natural consequences are sometimes the best teachers.

Of course we wouldn’t let our young child ride out into traffic, so use your judgment when making the decision of when to step in and when to allow natural consequences to teach your teen. Often we don’t want our teen to look bad or be embarrassed because we may look bad or be embarrassed, so we make sure a crisis is averted which means the behavior that caused the crisis is apt to be repeated.

4. You make excuses for your teen. When a young child doesn’t get a nap, he is likely to be grumpy, right? However, when a teenager is grumpy from not getting enough sleep, he has to learn what acceptable behavior is when one is grumpy, because in the real world, lack of sleep is going to be an issue from time to time.

“Well, James didn’t get enough rest, y’all,” is not the proper response from Mom when James has just been ugly to his siblings. If you have a tendency to make excuses for your young adult, he will be in for a rude awakening when out in the real world. Being honest with our teens about their crummy attitudes or behaviors is often easier than being honest with ourselves about our teen’s shortcomings. It’s our job to assist them in overcoming their weaknesses while at home, and making excuses just prolongs and feeds the behavior.

5. You run your teen’s daily schedule of activities. This is often fueled by a parent’s need for control. No surprise there. A 17 year old should be able to set his own schedule and order his day so that he accomplishes what needs to be accomplished; a 13 year old may need a little help to get started. School work is one of those things that teens should be able to accomplish independently. While some assistance may be needed from time to time, relying on Mom to tell him when to do what subject, or needing Mom to make him get his work done is an indicator of immaturity.

What happens when parents continue to schedule their teens’ lives for them is they inadvertently prohibit them from developing the skill sets necessary to foster problem-solving and self-confidence down the road. If a student is college bound, knowing how to prioritize study time and free time is an important skill!

Many students drop out of college due to the inability to function without someone telling them what to do. Home-schooled students should be experts in this area due to the practice they had at home organizing themselves on a daily basis during the high school years.

6. Your teen has no privacy. A teenager deserves some privacy. Respecting our teens’ privacy is imperative to a healthy relationship with our young adults. If we have a suspicion regarding something that may be happening that should not be happening, then asking questions and delving deeper is warranted, but enabling our teens to earn privacy as they demonstrate responsible behavior is part of growing up.

Once they are out on their own, they will have complete privacy whether we like it or not. As we observe them developing godly morals and values when they are young, we can trust them to carry those values over into their personal lives bit by bit without our direct supervision.

7. Your teen is afraid to make a decision without you. The key word here is afraid. Of course a healthy relationship with our young adults includes them seeking out our opinions before making some types of decisions. However, by the time a student is in high school, he is capable of making daily decisions especially where school work is concerned.

My high schoolers all know my expectations for their school work—to master each day’s material—and I give them as much control over it as I possibly can. My job is simply to monitor their progress on a semi-regular basis. They have a formula they use that dictates what they should be doing each day, and if they want to work ahead, I am cool with that.

If something comes up and they don’t complete something as planned, I don’t have to stress because the onus is on them to ultimately finish their work. They know they are working for themselves, not for me. I don’t need another high school diploma, so I’m not doing their work with them or for them. I’m there if needed, but they are calling the shots within the parameters of excellence.

The best way to demotivate our children educationally is to micromanage them.

I could write a book on this topic. Wait. I did. It’s called The Self-Propelled Advantage, and if you need some direction in the area of raising motivated kiddos who work independently in all areas of life, especially academics, you’ll find practical how-to’s within its pages.

Attitude truly is everything, and when we are willing to let go and allow our teens freedom to succeed and yes—to occasionally fail—we give them the gift of a yes-I-can attitude. We help them develop confidence and independence. We raise young adults who are strong and courageous.

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About the Author

Joanne Calderwood has been called America’s Homeschool Mom. She is an underwhelmed Mom of eight great kids, owner of URtheMOM.com, and an author and columnist. Her best-selling book, The Self-Propelled Advantage: The Parent’s Guide to Raising Independent, Motivated Kids Who Learn with Excellence, enables parents to teach their kids to teach themselves with excellence.

 


Humble Homeschool Beginnings

January 25, 2013

IM000689Many moons ago, when I started home educating my first child, I didn’t even know I was doing it. Nicky just naturally gravitated to books and floor puzzles and mazes and all sorts of logic-related stuff, and that’s the kind of thing we had around the house for him to fill his days with. (This was way before the Computer Age, y’all.)

And by the time Nicky turned three, I was expecting child number three. I laid around and read to those first little critters an awful lot in the early days.

Before long, the card-carrying, diploma-waving teacher in me decided I needed to set some goals and add some structure to my oldest child’s day.

Here is a short list of the personal goals I had when I “officially” began home educating my first child, Nicholas, at age four:

1.   Present new information in various forms: workbooks, readers, texts, etc.

2.   Test when necessary to make sure information is learned to an A level.

3.   Move on to the next thing, letting my child’s readiness be the guide.

Because I had that degree in elementary education and had taught school before having my own children, it never dawned on me that children would enjoy learning if left to themselves. I was prepared to entice and cajole my son into formal learning.

Isn’t that a strange thing to say? But it’s true. My experience in the classroom had taught me that children had to be pushed and pulled along, for the most part.

In my experience as a mom who was home educating her child, however, I found that Nicholas moved very, very quickly through his lessons because he could go at his own speed. He didn’t need to wait for the class to finish up; he was the class!

Nor did he know that he should not be enjoying this thing called school. Ah! But that was the difference! It was not school; it was learning at home. We weren’t up at the crack of dawn, gulping down breakfast, scrambling to find matching shoes, and running out the door to catch the school bus, separated from everything related to family.

Instead, learning was a natural thing done in the comfort of our own home along with family, on a schedule that worked well for us, not for an entire school system. What a cool thing it was to be able to tailor learning to my student! What an improvement over group learning!

I wasn’t just providing the opportunity for learning; I was there to ensure that learning took place, the learning of all the subject matter, not just 75 or 88 percent of it, but all of it. And then we moved on, directed solely by my son’s desire to learn—a desire which was surprisingly voracious.

Why would I want to send my child to a school when he could have such fun learning at home and could move at his own speed? And hang out with his sibs? And eat real food?

I simply did not want to miss out on time spent with him either. If I put him on a school bus, that meant forty fewer hours per week I would have to spend with him, times thirty-six weeks in a year. That equals 1,440 hours apart per year. Multiply that times twelve years, not counting kindergarten, and that comes out to 17,280 hours—roughly three full years of his life spent elsewhere.  Yikes! Why did I have a child only to entrust him to someone else to influence, mold, and shape? That didn’t make any sense to me.

I knew my son could learn better at home than he could anywhere else. For now, home education was for us. We’d worry about high school later.

Additionally, at age four, Nicky had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. This was quite a shock, of course. And years ago, there was no way to accurately test blood sugar at home as there is now.

Another reason we decided to keep Nicky at home was that we knew we could keep a better eye on his health challenges than any school nurse could.

If your child has chronic health issues, learning at home is certainly a wonderful option to explore.

Thus began our home-education adventure. Home-education adventures all have unique beginnings. What did yours look like?

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About the Author

Joanne Calderwood has been called America’s Homeschool Mom. She is an underwhelmed Mom of eight great kids, owner of URtheMOM.com, and an author and columnist. Her best-selling book, The Self-Propelled Advantage: The Parent’s Guide to Raising Independent, Motivated Kids Who Learn with Excellence, enables parents to teach their kids to teach themselves with excellence.


9 Maxims for Homeschool Happiness

December 28, 2012

Family Walking Through Snowy Woodland In light of the beginning of a brand-new year, I thought I would share some of the stuff I’ve learned over the years that I think has been pivotal in the raising of my children.

So below you’ll find a compilation of my best tips for raising smart, motivated kids who learn and work with excellence (most of the time).

1. Develop good habits yourself. Be a good example of reading for pleasure. Let your children see you doing the things you want them to develop a love for doing such as

reading, writing, exercising, eating well, or whatever may be on your list.

2. Always remember that you are what you teach, and you teach what you are.

Ouch. I revisit this maxim frequently, especially when I see my bad habits showing up in my children. This is a variation of the first maxim.

3. Neatness counts. We are all more relaxed and focused when our homes are RELATIVELY neat, right? I am not talking about extremes here. I assure you that my house is not a showplace; we live and work here. I’m simply talking about being able to see the family room floor. Kids function better in order than they do in chaos.

Yeah, let’s move on. I get hives thinking about how organized my house is not.

4. Have expectations and enforce them. Expect honesty and trustworthiness every day. Expect cheerful obedience the first time you ask your child to do something. Sullen faces and attitudes do not belong in a happy home. You are the Mom (or Dad). You get to be the one in control of what behavior and attitudes are acceptable in your home.

5. Have a general routine. Find what works for YOUR FAMILY. Children need a sense of what is coming next. Our routine here is very laid back now that my baby is almost eleven and the other three girls are teens. It was much more regulated when we had a lot of young children.

6. Know where you are headed. A little planning is all you need for each quarter of your homeschool year. (Refer to The Self-Propelled Student Planners for help in this area if you need it. These planners have changed my life!)

7. Teach your children to enjoy the feeling of a job well done. Intrinsic motivation will serve them well for the rest of their lives.

8. Expect mastery learning every day, in every subject. Before long, students begin to expect it of themselves. That is a really cool thing and will serve them well for the rest of their lives.

9. Trust your instincts.

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About the Author

Joanne Calderwood has been called America’s Homeschool Mom. She is an underwhelmed Mom of eight great kids, owner of URtheMOM.com, and an author and columnist. Her new book, The Self-Propelled Advantage: The Parent’s Guide to Raising Independent, Motivated Kids Who Learn with Excellence, enables parents to teach their kids to teach themselves with excellence.


Motivation: Seeing the Big Marshmallow

December 1, 2012

marshmallow_treatpops_2This is, like, my fourth post on Motivation for students, primarily, but helpful for other species of humans as well. If you missed yesterday’s post on Motivation and Marshmallows, you may want to scroll down my blog here and catch that one first. This post concerning the Marshmallow Study will make a heckuva lot more sense if you take just a couple seconds and read it first. If you’re a rebel, feel free to skip the advice.

If you are interested in the application of the Marshmallow Study, as it’s been dubbed, to success in business and in your personal life, I recommend a book entitled, Don’t Eat the Marshmallow…Yet! The Secret to Sweet Success in Work and Life by Joachim de Posada and Ellen Singer. This gem of a book looks at why intelligence and hard work don’t necessarily equal success, and how you can utilize delayed gratification in your daily life to reach your own goals.

Common sense dictates that if you are smart and work hard, you will be successful. Not necessarily, according to Don’t Eat the Marshmallow…Yet.

After reading de Posada’s book, it became apparent to me that the real secret to success is seeing the big picture, which is an incredibly motivating thing to do. When we only see the little individual marshmallow instead of the benefits of waiting to eat it—doubling our reward—we miss out on half of the benefits. We lose opportunity as a result of our impatience and shortsightedness. It takes foresight and vision to hold out for the rewards that are ours when we keep our eyes on the big picture and finally reach our ultimate goals.

Incidentally, Don’t Eat the Marshmallow…Yet! offers a “Five-Step Marshmallow Plan.” Following this simple plan really helped me focus and see what I needed to change and do in order to begin reaching my goals via delayed gratification.

Seeing the Big Picture

What motivates a student who thinks that he is at the mercy of his teachers and that he must do whatever those teachers tell him to do?

Very little motivates him when he has no control over his environment.

A home-educated student is also unlikely to be motivated day after day when he doesn’t see the big picture, when he doesn’t see a purpose in the work he is doing. A big part of motivation is understanding the why behind what we are doing. I will be much more intrinsically motivated when I see how what I am doing right now will benefit me in the long run. How will what I do today or what I am asked to do by my employer or by my teacher be moving me towards my goals?

If we have no goals at all except to get through the day, chances are good that we will be unhappy. The human spirit thrives on challenge and success. Motivation, both extrinsic and intrinsic, is necessary for a well-balanced life.

I admit that I have worked simply for a paycheck before. Perhaps you have too. Because I could see the big picture—putting food on the table—I was willing to work for that extrinsic reward. Eventually, my situation changed. Remember me saying that motivation changes? It sure does. Now I am self-employed, and I’m very intrinsically motivated to work for the sake of helping others and not for monetary reward. In fact, I hate taking people’s money. If I could, I would give all of my products away.

The self-propelled student is motivated intrinsically by seeing the big picture, setting simple goals, and then moving closer and closer to those goals. By teaching our children to see the big picture, teaching them how to set goals, and helping to remove any obstacles that would prevent them from reaching those goals, we are giving them an edge. We are giving them the tools with which to master themselves, and as a result, they will hang in there not for immediate gratification, but for the purpose of reaching their goals. That is delayed gratification at its best.

Marshmallows and the SAT

Interestingly, another follow-up to the original Marshmallow Study was done in 1990, and it found a correlation between the ability to delay gratification and higher SAT scores. Those who did not eat the marshmallow scored higher on the SAT than those who gobbled up their marshmallows. Isn’t that fascinating? I think so.

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About the Author

Joanne Calderwood has been called America’s Homeschool Mom. She is an underwhelmed Mom of eight great kids, owner of URtheMOM.com, and an author and columnist. Her new book, The Self-Propelled Advantage: The Parent’s Guide to Raising Independent, Motivated Kids Who Learn with Excellence, enables parents to teach their kids to teach themselves with excellence.


What Type of Motivation Do You Need?

November 21, 2012

Types of Motivation

Let’s dive into a little psychology here. There are two simple types of motivation: that which comes from the inside or the outside.

That was easy, wasn’t it? Okay, well, that was the simplified version. Let’s go deeper. The type of motivation that comes from things or forces outside of you is called extrinsic motivation. The other type of motivation is a little more complex, and it comes from inside of you: intrinsic motivation.

If you are intrinsically motivated, you do something for the sheer pleasure of doing it. For example, some people enjoy working on cars in their spare time, and they do it for the sense of pleasure derived from messing with cars. Many of us are intrinsically motivated to pursue hobbies, which are a perfect example of doing something for an intrinsic reward: the feeling of a job well done.

What kinds of things do you do for the sheer joy of being involved in the pursuit? I’ve heard of some women who are intrinsically motivated to clean their homes; they do so out of the sheer joy of having a clean house while, others need to be bribed with something delicious in order to get the job even started.

I was intrinsically motivated to clean the little one-bedroom apartment where my husband and I lived right after we were married. I couldn’t sleep if there was anything that needed to be ironed. I would stay up until everything in our little love nest was perfect according to my high standards.

Motivation shifts and changes over time, however. Now I need a healthy dose of extrinsic motivation to get me to clean and straighten because I am old and tired. I will usually think of a way to reward myself when the work is done, and then I’m more motivated to get busy working.

Obviously, extrinsic motivation is the opposite of intrinsic. It is motivation that comes in the form of something concrete, such as a paycheck or a handful of gummy bears. A car mechanic may be motivated to go to work only because he receives a paycheck at the end of the week, not because he loves fixing cars. Originally, he might have gone into the field of auto mechanics out of intrinsic motivation; perhaps fixing cars was a hobby. As I said, motivation waxes and wanes.

That’s why it is not always a good idea to turn a hobby into a job. Something that was fun may suddenly not be fun anymore because now it is work. On the other hand, some people don’t perceive their jobs to be work at all because they enjoy what they do so much that they would do it even if they weren’t being paid to do it. That’s a wonderful situation to be in. That’s intrinsic motivation at its best!

What is a hobby? Generally, a hobby is something one does for fun or adventure during one’s free time. Is there any reason why studying and learning can’t be perceived as a hobby? I mean, when I presented my first child with little phonics and math workbooks when he was four years old, he was thrilled! For some reason, I did not need to bribe him to spend time learning. Learning was fun!

Babies are born, and they are immediately interested in the world around them. They are curious little things, aren’t they? Curious and sleepy and hungry. They spend their days eating, sleeping, and learning. A toddler is a little Energizer Bunny, always on the go, always wanting to taste, see, touch, feel, and experience. We can’t wait to teach our toddlers how to do things by themselves, such as feeding, dressing, and going potty. Tying shoes is a triumph for a child.

So why do we stop teaching them how to do things by themselves? Sure, they need instruction in the basic building blocks of written and verbal communication, but then they can be off and running on their own! Why can’t seniors in high school see pursuing their interests as a hobby? Why isn’t this the norm? It truly can be when a student has the self-propelled advantage!

Extrinsic motivation is not necessary to get my kids to dive into their school work each day. They just do it. Why? They know that they have to, first of all, because it is expected. No, they don’t bound out of bed in the morning, simply dying to get into their school work. It is still work. But they do enjoy learning independently.

It’s kind of like this: if we have to work, don’t we want to work the way we want to work, when we want to work, and how we want to work? Isn’t that what is so attractive about being self-employed? With self-learning, we give students the tools that they need, and then we let them work how they want to work, where they want to work, and the way they want to work. In other words, we give the gift of ownership.

It would be unrealistic to expect that our students will want to deep-dive into every subject, just as you and I aren’t wild about studying some things either, but when it comes down to it, education should not be something we shove down children’s throats. We should not have to offer extrinsic rewards, such as money or candy or what-have-you, in exchange for our students getting “good grades.”

The self-propelled student who is intrinsically motivated will work for the sense of a job well done. He will desire to work with excellence because he is working for himself, not for a parent or a teacher. That mindset makes all the difference in the world!

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About the Author

Joanne Calderwood has been called America’s Homeschool Mom. She is an underwhelmed Mom of eight great kids, owner of URtheMOM.com, and an author and columnist. Her new book, The Self-Propelled Advantage: The Parent’s Guide to Raising Independent, Motivated Kids Who Learn with Excellence, enables parents to teach their kids to teach themselves with excellence.


Entrepreneurship: A Natural Outgrowth of the Self-Propelled Advantage

November 20, 2012

Benefits Beyond Education

As self-propelled students, my first four high schoolers possessed the ability to get their work out of the way each day and still have plenty of time to pursue their interests. Nick started a website entitled Sticker Avalanche. He began teaching himself guitar, and he landed a part-time job locally.

I remember that he also began playing games such as Wheel of Fortune on his cell phone at that time. This was way before smartphones, and his was a little flip phone. Before you snicker, you should know that before he went off to college, he had won over two thousand dollars in cash and prizes!

One may question whether that’s a good use of time. I actually asked the same question, but Nick wasn’t shirking any responsibilities while winning stuff; he would play at night. Isn’t that crazy? A couple thousand dollars from a cell phone? He won everything from iTunes gift cards to a pair of mountain bikes to portable DVD players and random things like GPS systems. Some of what he won he sold on eBay for cash to put toward essential items, such as books for his freshman year in college.

Taylor also cashed in on the cell-phone games jackpot opportunity. Don’t think this was an easy thing for them to do, either of them! They ranked nationally in the games they played! They just had the persistence and the yes-I-can attitudes that didn’t allow them to fail. Within about fifteen months, the company that offered the awesome prizes began offering wimpy ones instead, but not before Nick and Taylor used their skills to win a whole lot of cool stuff due to their determination and perseverance.

Lauren, in her free time, developed a penchant for selling wholesale jewelry-making supplies on eBay as her source of income. She now has an online compan, BeadBoxBargains.com, where she buys wholesale and sells at a profit. Her secret is volume selling, and she takes customer service seriously. She knows how to treat people kindly and with respect, which has won her loyal repeat customers.

And these are just the things my kids did that I remember. LOL I’ve got the memory of a banana peel.

Did my husband and I teach our children how to do this kind of stuff? Well, sort of. We started up two different online companies over the years. One company we sold, and we still own and operate URtheMOM.com.

But the kids just came up with their own ideas according to their passions, did their research, discovered things on their own, and decided how to use what they had at their disposal to develop a network of successful ventures. I know this is directly linked to their self-propelled attitudes.

Today Olivia, at age sixteen, has an online Etsy site where she sells her hand-tatted items and handmade jewelry. Her work is beautiful, and she’s discovered the fun of having her own business. So the trend continues. I’m certain that my last three daughters will come up with their own outlets for creativity as well.

Self-Propelled kids have time to think, dream, and initiate steps towards reaching their dreams.

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About the Author

Joanne Calderwood has been called America’s Homeschool Mom. She is an underwhelmed Mom of eight great kids, owner of URtheMOM.com, and an author and columnist. Her new book, The Self-Propelled Advantage: The Parent’s Guide to Raising Independent, Motivated Kids Who Learn with Excellence, enables parents to teach their kids to teach themselves with excellence.


The Self-Propelled Advantage Is for All Parents!

November 17, 2012

For Home Educators and Non-Home Educators Alike

Students who are self-motivated and purpose-driven are like the cream in a bucket of farm-fresh milk: they rise to the top. They can go wherever they choose to go in life. Self-motivated children thrive in the public, private, and home-education realms.

Most often they are raised by loving, involved parents, although some children must fight against the grain to achieve their success because they lack parental support.

Loving, involved parents educate their children in public schools, in private schools, and in the home.

Each model of education contains parents who care deeply about their children and their children’s educational processes; theirs are the children who will thrive anywhere.

Making sure your child is in the best learning environment possible is one of your primary jobs as a parent. While I will be discuss the merits of education at home most often, I do not believe that home education is the answer for every family. I do believe that in most cases, where there is the will to home educate, there is a way to home educate. But there simply is no one-size-fits-all way to educate children.

While not all parents want to home educate, parents (worth their salt) do want the very best for their children. If you don’t think you want to go the home-education route, please hang in there with me. Parents can raise self-propelled children regardless of where the learning happens—be it in a classroom or in the home.

In my book, The Self-Propelled Advantage, I present concrete ways for parents of private- and public-schooled children to work toward developing self-propelled learners.

I leave you to make your own decision about what is best for your child.

At the end of most chapters of the book, I’ve written a Parent’s Corner containing things children can do in order to gain the self-propelled advantage while in a classroom environment. If your child is in such an environment, you can enhance and build on the education he is currently receiving by modifying your mindset, enabling your child to modify his, and plugging in the handful of strategies I give you.

The model of education that you choose for your child will hopefully be selected after much thought, soul-searching, and careful research. It is my hope that you will find valuable information to help you in making the all-important decision of which educational model to choose according to what best meets the needs of your family.

May you have courage to make a change in your child’s current educational environment should you deem it necessary.

I am excited to share with parents the three-pronged secret that can propel a student down the road of self-discovery and ultimately into a world that will be blessed by his gifts and abilities. I hope you’ll happily discover that you can raise lifelong learners who love to learn independently and who do so with passion and excellence as you begin to follow the simple steps to implement the strategies that I lay out in my book.

May your child become joyfully self-propelled: motivated, confident, and successful in whatever he or she pursues in life.

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About the Author
Joanne Calderwood has been called America’s Homeschool Mom. She is an underwhelmed Mom of eight great kids, owner of URtheMOM.com, and an author and columnist. Her new book, The Self-Propelled Advantage: The Parent’s Guide to Raising Independent, Motivated Kids Who Learn with Excellence, enables parents to teach their kids to teach themselves with excellence.

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