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4 Moms Discuss Teaching Big Kids

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The 4 Moms are discussing teaching big kids this week.  Be sure to check out what the other moms have to say about this topic.

As for the Smockity Bunch, our goal is to encourage our big kids toward self sufficiency.  This is not to say that once they reach a certain age we wish them luck and send them off to their rooms with a handshake and a stack of books hoping for the best.

We do, however, expect them to follow the schedule and curriculum we, the parents, have mapped out without much hand holding or prodding after about the age of 10 or so (depending on the child).

What this means, practically, is that after our morning Bible reading and discussion time, the big kids drift off to the places where they like to do their studies and begin to get the day's lessons done. 

They check in with me frequently if they need help or if I need to give them a dictation test. I also check their work, and let them know how they are doing. Sometimes an assignment is done perfectly. Other times it may need to be completely redone, or maybe there are only a few minor corrections that need to be made.

As the big kids get bigger (as in 13+) and they have outside commitments to think about, like lawn mowing jobs or working for Daddy at the golf shop, they learn time management as well as cause and effect of poor planning. We give them plenty of advice about how to balance school lessons and outside activities, but at the same time we strive to allow them to see for themselves the natural consequences of not diligently applying themselves toward their work.

For instance, a certain Smockity student will be doing two math lessons every day throughout the summer while the Smockity siblings are enjoying the sunny weather activities. This is a consequence of pretending to do his best, while slapping down any old number with an occasional decimal point for good measure and counting on the fact that Mama is trusting him to grade his own work.

And believe you me, Mama has learned a homeschool lesson here as well. And that would be that while the cat's away, the mice will play. Or in this case, while the Mama lets the kid grade his own work, he will take full advantage of that fact and report that he is doing FANTASTIC! GREAT! and TERRIFIC! on his assignments, when in actuality the truth is more MEH! NAH! and BLECH!

In summary, we are working toward producing responsible, self motivated adults who bring glory and honor to God in all they do. That is a pretty tall task and 'most every day I don't feel adequate to tackle it. I remind myself daily that "My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)

Would you like to see what the 4 Moms have to say about other topics? Check these out:

Want more 4 Moms, 35 Kids? Click on the cute 4 Moms button at the top of this post for a full list of topics discussed so far.

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  1. Thanks for the tips Connie! Right now I have a 6 and 3 year old with one on the way and things are pretty simple with schoolwork, so I do get concern how things may be in the future. I hope that if I get them into a good work ethic now and are able to time manage then perhaps when they are 10 or 12 they will be doing well. We shall see!
    I don’t know how you do it though! I hope you will do a post about managing your large family and household with a new baby to boot!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Great post thank you. My oldest is 9 so this topic is definitely on my mind. I am sorry but the certain smockity person doing math all summer is too funny and sounds distressingly similar to a certain someone writing this comment’s “great math experiment” which involved checking my own work. Err not so much. :) Oh well good lesson learned.

  3. Ha. We have learned that same lesson. Mmmm Hmmm. Yep. And I suspect we’ll have a few more that will try it over the years – but the younger ones will have a smarter mama this time around. :) I really have learned that I HAVE to check. I just have to.

    (And I love how you maintained the anonymity of said student. Grin.)

    I have learned, too, that it gets crazy with three older kids who have outside things/jobs/college/responsibilities. Just when you think you are beginning to get a grip on some sort of schedule or routine – they go and get independent a little bit. It is so much better if they have learned some of the tough lessons about time management and consequences before they reach this stage. Mostly, ours have, but sometimes it is a tough transition and yes, sometimes they will do a certain subject for the summer.

  4. Thank you for being honest about those “lessons”! I think that has happened to all of use.

  5. Kathryn says:

    Wow. This was so encouraging to me! We are starting our first year of homeschool this fall (kind of a warm up, preschool year. My four year old will turn 5 in the winter and she is sooo sooooo soooo into “school”. I’m thrilled about where this journey will take us and I love having great mentors like you and your family. THanks for sharing!

  6. I can relate to that “certain Smockity student”… only it wasn’t math… it was History. And it was more complicated than just putting down any old answer. But be glad you caught him. I never got caught, and ended up confessing my senior year (praise the Lord for a conscience!). There was too much to re-do and I just got my GED instead of the diploma I would have gotten (I was home schooled, but took high school by correspondence). But the effects of the laziness that I developed during high school have been the bane of my existence ever since, and something I fight on a daily basis. So tell said student this, and make sure he is thankful he got caught and has a diligent mother who will make sure this doesn’t repeat!

  7. I had my own “creative math grader” this year. Must be something in the homeschool water that causes this!

  8. I can relate to the ‘certain smockity student’, except that my mum went with the ‘wish them luck and lock them in their room with their books’ theory. And rather than maths it might have been all my subjects… for a whole term… mmmm, yeah… not quite sure how I thought that one was gonna work out since I went to a correspondance school which asked for work back every two weeks.

    Mum also seemed to think quantity was more important than quality, I caught up in two weeks. I might have been sick to my stomach everyday with stress, and not learnt a thing, but I did ‘catch up’ 😀 I like your method better lol.

  9. My husband has just come along and told me he was a goody-two-shoes who was allowed to grade his own work 😛 He never cheated apparently.

    This was probably motivated by the fact that growing up, telling a lie was the biggest crime one could commit in his household, and the punishment far exceeded just about any of the ‘general’ misbehaviours.

    So apparently some kids can do it!

  10. We had the same thing happen with one of our now graduated kids! He had been writing down any old thing too. He was smart though…on some days, he actually told me he had missed one or two problems. He ended up spending several weeks doing math ALL DAY. He had to do at least 5 lessons a day until he was caught up. It was NOT a lesson he wanted to repeat.
    And, now, 7 yrs later, he laughs about it right along with us!