In our home, it’s potty training time for our last child. Due to constipation issues, it won’t be completed any time soon, but he’s at least in pull-ups, and he can pee in the potty like a pro – even empty it and clean it out all by himself. So, really he is about 6 months ahead of where his older brothers were at age 3, and maybe 12 years ahead of where his oldest brother is on cleaning up after himself.
So we celebrate the successes! We praise him when he pees in the potty, and we change his pull-up when needed without fanfare.
But then again, it’s all new and exciting. Just like our first year of homeschool was. During that year, we were excited anytime anything new was learned. Considering I was mostly bedridden much of the year, learning any little thing was truly an accomplishment.
But over four years into homeschooling now (similar to when I get 4 weeks into potty training), I find myself focusing on the failures in an extremely lopsided fashion.
Anybody else out there, or am I alone here?
This year, I want to focus on the successes.
For example, in his second year of Essentials, Aaron has been able to write his first two papers with minimal assistance. Do they contain the fancy compound-complex sentences I would prefer? No, but they are his work, and my commitment this year is to let him do his work unless he needs me to help him meet my requirements – not to make it sound like I wrote it – which can be my tendency. SUCCESS! So two successes – Aaron’s writing, and my helping only when needed as opposed to pushing my ideas on him.
Andrew, my oldest is in Challenge A. So far, we are staying on top of the workload, and he even does a few things, such as map drawing, making notecards, and math, with minimal or no assistance from me. Does he still procrastinate much of the day? Yes, but still SUCCESS! Progress is definitely a success around here!
Eden, our six year-old is writing her own addition equations. Granted, it’s a lesson in her math book, but it’s a SUCCESS! She is also reading. I have no idea what grade-level she is reading on, but I don’t really care yet. Since my boys were in pre-k and public school through at least Kindergarten, I wasn’t their primary reading teacher. So my princess is my first reading student, and phonics (not Hooked on Phonics though) worked for us!
And my little guy, Thomas, is three. In addition to potty training, he can play like a pro! SUCCESS! His preschool teacher chuckled when she read my goals for him for the year. He is there one day a week, and I want him to listen, obey, and have fun. That’s it.
This year, we will celebrate our successes! Each week, I want to know what has improved or been done well. What can we celebrate. Sometimes, it’s even helpful to celebrate daily.
Not to ignore the failures here, because they do need to be addressed and corrected. But changing my mindset to focus more on the successes will be the boost of encouragement my children need, which I believe is critical to their continued success and improvement. If all I ever hear is how bad I am at everything or what a failure I am, then I’m going to eventually believe it – especially as a child.
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