Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Independence, part 1

Independence, part 1

Fifth grade is a pivotal year. When your child finishes fifth grade he will be a middle school student. What does that mean for you? Well, to begin with, your fifth grader should be working more independently. As a homeschooler it is important that your child meets this benchmark. The question is, how do you measure that independence? And how do you teach independence? If you are like many parents, you are worried that your child is growing up too fast. It is important to balance the independence you want to foster with responsibility. The year surrounding the fifth grade is a time when you will see a lot of changes in your child, physically, emotionally, and developmentally.

Fifth grade is a year for homeschoolers that marks the end of elementary and the beginning of the middle school years. Up until now, many home schooling parents have been right there with the child, instructing, directing and guiding every step of the learning process. This year is the time for the parent/teacher to start allowing the child to do some of the work on their own. Make an assignment, even if a small one, and allow the student to work at their own pace, with gentle reminders to stay on task if necessary. Do not totally disengage from the teaching process, however. Remember that your child is learning greater independence but has not yet mastered it. Another thing that allowing your child to do the assignment at his own pace will help with is time management. Present the amount of time allowed for the assignment at the same time as you present the content of the assignment. Allow the student to set a timer. Be generous with the time to begin with, because children must learn time management, it is not something that is natural to them. When the time is up, then have them stop the assignment. If it is not complete that is alright. Part of becoming independent is also learning that there are consequences to actions.

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