Research and Writing Importance
Research and writing were my least favorite to teach and encourage in our homeschool. However, I knew these skills were of the utmost importance for each of my four children. First, I found a curriculum that I could understand (since it just wasn’t my favorite, I needed all the help I could get). I needed that teacher’s edition to teach me, guide me, and help me relay how to research and write. What I found did just that for me. Once I had that great guide in hand, I was able to jump in with both feet.
I was not always available to answer every question immediately. Like scheduling an appointment during office hours for a professor, my children learned to schedule a time to specifically focus on the question they needed help with. Sometimes this pushed them back to the research skill to find their answer themselves, which in turn cultivated independence. Encourage them to find the answer without you. Making it just a bit inconvenient for them to get an answer right away will sometimes spur them on to find the answer to avoid having to have yet another time to sit down and go over it again. Ha! Yes, there is a method to my scheduling.
In my homeschool, there were four children to rotate between every day. So you can imagine what our day could potentially be like as inevitably they all need to ask a question at the same time. This can get hectic very quickly and cause a major disruption to academic time. I began curtailing this when they were little in the early elementary years. Each child had a cup or pencil holder on their desk and they had something similar to a flag on a stick on their desk. When they needed me and I was working with another child they would simply take that flag and put in in their pencil holder and that was a signal to me they had a question and needed my help.
It was a process because I had to also teach them that while they were waiting on me they needed to work on something else until I could get to them to answer their question. They caught on to the advantages of the process. They may finish another task before their question was answered for the previous task but they were getting things done.
Waiting on Mom
By having them wait for an answer allowed me the much needed time to finish working with each child and not lose focus. It even helped me if I was working on a task on my own for something totally different like paying a bill or chopping onions for supper. This method alerted me that they needed me, but I could finish what I was working on before assisting them.
Once they were older, it worked best to schedule specific times I would meet with each of them one on one. They used post it notes and notepaper to list questions to ask me as they went through each subject. Then they would go over their list of questions they had for me at that time. Often, they would find the answer to their own questions before we met together which led to more independent research.
Teaching and encouraging my children to write was a real hardship for me. Writing is not my strong point. However, I love to see my children’s innermost thoughts. I knew without a doubt that writing would be a very important skill for my children to learn and that it would help to cultivate independence. In today’s society, writing is a big part of everyday life. We write in email, texts, social media and more. There are just so many places now where we need to be able to write.
Skills for Adulthood
How do research and writing help our children? I have seen my adult children use their skills as they write to rental management, professors, job cover letters, introduction letters for buying a house and more. Having this skill pushes them further into independence. Starting to teach this skill in the early elementary years is very important. BJU Press Language Arts teaches the writing and research skill from the early elementary all the way through high school. I would encourage you do not skip the chapters and lessons that teach these skills in the early years. They need the foundation. Even though writing is a hardship for me, I cultivated this skill to prepare them for future independence.
Contact me if you would like to know more about the great Language Arts program I used in my homeschool to teach research and writing skills.
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Do you answer all questions immediately during your homeschool time? Or do you teach patience and have your children wait for an answer so they will learn to research?