Today Was a Good Day

Today was a good home schooling day. I sat at our large dining room table and worked with my kindergartner, second grader, fourth grader, and sixth grader. We finished schooling in two hours. But one thing really stood out to me as we talked through frustrations, especially regarding math. As I checked their independent work, I reminded my two oldest, “It’s okay if you get it wrong. It’s not like I’m going to ground you for it. It’s sometimes confusing for me, too. That’s why I like to check my answers in the back to see if I’m on the right track.”

When I check my kids’ work, I don’t mark it all up. I circle items that they need to go back over and try again. I don’t assign letter grades. Then they are commended for going back and finding their mistakes and trying again. This happens in reading as well as math. The best thing about my kids learning at home is that we aren’t focused on getting the “right grades.” The focus on all that we do is “Do you undestand? Why are you frustrated? How can I help? How can we move forward?”

Dealing with Frustration is FRUSTRATING!

We do get frustrated a lot, by the way. Home schooling is not perfect for any of us. I get easily frurstrated with them and they with me. They make each other mad super fast, too. The social emotional component is a minute by minute thing as we work through it all. There are days when I think they are the most disrespectful students I’ve ever had and for them, they think I’m the worst teacher they’ve ever had! hahaha! THE STRUGGLE IS REAL.

Grading Doesn’t Rule Our Learning

BUT. One positive thing that I’m truly grateful for is getting away from the wrong answer conditioning. My two oldest were in public school long enough to know that wrong answers bring down your grades. Wrong answers keep you back in one form or another. I love being able to encourage them through frustrating learning when things don’t come easily. In real life, that’s how it is, we have to constantly improve our skills because what really comes easily? Raising kids has not been easy, learning on the job is not always natural and inside of my talents, and marriage, well that has definitely been a challenge, too. So yeah, the best things in life, we often get wrong before we get right. Thank goodness my husband and kids aren’t grading me as a wife and parent! I’d be happy with a C but probably don’t deserve an average rating!

This is just a reflection on a good day of teaching my kids at home. I hope I will read it again and remember that getting the right answer isn’t the most important part of learning and be grateful I can pass this on to my children.

A card I received from my friend when my husband was healing from heart surgery. The most important learning in life comes with frustration and new learning.

Published by Melody McAllister

I am a wife, mother of five, educator, and author. My family relocated to Alaska from the Dallas area in 2019. I was awarded 2017 Garland NAACP Educator of the Year, and I'm the author of the I’m Sorry Story, a children's book about taking responsibility for mistakes and making sincere apologies. I am also the Logistics Manager for EduMatch Publishing. I've spoken at ISTE and ASTE about equity issues in education, and I write about my journey in my blog, HeGaveMeAMelody.com. Follow me @mjmcalliwrites

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