Congratulations to Betsy Cross for winning the ‘Large Family Logistics‘ giveaway here on RO. Be sure to join the 4 Moms every Thursday starting in August as we blog through this practical resource for families.
This week the 4 Moms, 35 Kids: How Moms of Many Manage are talking about teaching children diligence, specifically in school work.
For the most part we address the issue of diligence outside of academics. It’s a much bigger problem than ‘school’ and it’s much easier to deal with in the physical rather than academic realm.
When we talk about diligence we are talking about self-control one of the fruits of the Spirit. So when we teach our children to be diligent we are teaching them to demonstrate one of the fruits of the Spirit.
Since our goals in homeschooling are not primarily academic, this lesson of diligence is central to our home and homeschool. It trumps reading, writing and arithmetic.
In our home, it seems that we spend the first 1-2 years of our children’s life teaching them basic obedience and the next years teaching them complete obedience or diligence. We use the maxim, “obey quickly, cheerfully and completely”. We cancel plans, take breaks from school and sometimes don’t leave the house when our children are having difficulty with these basics. We pray that God will help us to be deliberate as we make every decision and one of the ways this is born out is in our priorities. We believe that it is more important for our children to learn to obey (Col.3:20) than it is to go to the music lessons, get the groceries or learn math.
I can give you all sorts of practical suggestions and things that we’ve done to teach and encourage diligence in our children, but it probably won’t be anything new. If we fail to be diligent in our own tasks, if we fail to be diligent to require and expect diligence in our children (which is one of our God-given responsibilities) all the practical suggestions and tips anyone can offer won’t amount to anything more than words on a screen.
So if you want your children to be diligent, pray to be more diligent.
- Be diligent in your own tasks and responsibilities.
- Be diligent to build relationship and to seek your child’s heart.
- Be diligent in your words. If you say it, do it.
- Be diligent to train your children.
- Be diligent to expect diligence. Perhaps this deserves more time, but just allow me to say that a child as young as one (younger actually) is perfectly capable of obeying simple commands (come here, don’t touch, no noise, sit on your bottom), a child of 2-3 is capable of completing simple tasks (pick up the toys, empty the silverware), a child of 5-9 is capable of completing complex tasks (clean the kitchen or complete this list of school assignments) and a child of 10-12 is capable of completing many adult sized tasks (paint the bathroom, mow the yard, get dinner on the table) all ‘quickly, cheerfully and completely’.
Perhaps because of how we handle homeschooling (little to no busy work, lots of group reading and discussion) or perhaps because of our family’s expectations, but certainly because of God’s grace, we rarely run into a habitual lack of diligence in school work and most of our diligence training comes in the form of chores and helping around our home.
Recent 4 Moms posts:
- Answers to Scheduling Questions
- Homeschooling Kids with Learning Differences
- Naps and rest time
- Church and Large Families
- Losing Baby Weight
- Talking to Your Kids about the Facts of Life
For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.