Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Great Question!

Mary asked about how to get a 6th grader to work more independently. Since this is exactly what we've struggled with starting middle school and exactly what my 6th grader has been going through for several weeks (and because my answer got too wordy for the comment section) I thought I'd post it here.

My daughter is in 6th grade too! And that's the exact "problem" that I've had with her. She has been doing great as long as I sit beside her, but it's *tough* to get them to work by themselves. And, unfortunately, I really don't know a painless way for it to happen.

My girls really like the co-op. So my catch phrase has been that I'm more than willing to help them do something, but if I'm going to have to teach it, then I'm not paying for the co-op. They get 2-3 questions a day each, in each subject. I figure after that, **I'M** teaching it and should get the money. ;)

The thing that I finally realized is this, I'm not doing them *any* favors by sitting beside them. They have *got* to learn to work independently. anything else that they *need* to learn in life (potty training to riding a bike to driving a car and dating) they simply have to learn to do it.

I would start small. Just a few problems. Lots of praise when she works by herself. And also, logic works pretty well at that age. Maybe something like "I'd love to have time to take you out for an ice-cream this afternoon, but if I have to sit here with you working these math problems then I'll have to spend the afternoon on laundry instead. You pick."

It will be a struggle and it will take time, but know that when it happens...I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that it will change your life.

Good luck! And let me know how it goes!


Mary said...

Hi Michelle, I love the ice cream suggestion; to suggest something fun, if there's "time" after all the hand-holding through math. Also, my daughter is taking co-op classes too, and even though she attends them without me and does fine, for the homework I am right by her side. Come to think of it, she never asked for my help with it. I just appeared, as if trained to appear when the books come out. I think I'm the one who needs to let go.

My name is Michelle. said...

I totally relate. Especially with my "baby". Just keep telling yourself that independence is good. That's what I have to do.