I think we fail to recognize the value of consistency in our time with our children. Too often, we find ourselves as homeschool parents having to flex when something unexpected happens. My children would tell you my favorite phrase was “Flexibility is the sign of intelligence.” There were days when we were so “intelligent” that we were practically MENSA candidates! But all kidding aside, do you take into account how really valuable it is to study anything consistently?
Consistency in Math
Consistency in studying mathematics means that you work at lessons daily. Often, when the subject is not something we enjoy, it is easy to put it aside. In fact, I have had conversations with parents who haven’t done mathematics in their homes for years because there was strife. That is the ultimate in inconsistency! The challenge is, for us to become proficient in anything, we have to work at it. Every Olympic athlete gets to the podium because they have consistently put in tremendous effort.
What might consistency look like in your household for mathematics? With a young student, it might be doing math not more than 10 minutes a day. It is not the amount of time you invest, but the quality of the time you invest. Young children learn much better in small segments of time. In fact, if you are finding that it is difficult to get your student to work all the way through a page of Math-U-See instruction, there would be merit in splitting the lessons between the computation and the word problems. Give your student some time for a “brain break” between those two portions of the materials, and see if it doesn’t help you achieve a more consistent result.
If math is dreaded in your house, or if it is a battlefield, commit to figuring out why so that you can change that. Avoiding the conflict doesn’t change the need for studying. Delaying the studying just makes the “math monster” get bigger. Sometimes we have to take a step back and start over to go forward. If you are finding yourself less than consistent in doing mathematics at least 4 days a week, then it is time to reach out for some help. Let the skilled staff at Demme Learning help you diagnose why there are struggles and let us help you get back on the path of consistency.
Consistency in Spelling
The same can be said for spelling. The tasks of Spelling You See are easy, but seem repetitive. As adults, we can sometimes think there is no virtue in doing the same things several days in a row. What we fail to recognize is that the effort put in now will yield results later. You see Simone Biles doing a perfect floor routine in gymnastics and you forget that she has spent thousands of hours perfecting that routine, doing the same thing over and over until it is automatic. Your “student-athletes” in Spelling You See need to invest the time as well.
Parents will sometimes say to me that they are not seeing the results they desire in the Spelling You See program. When I remind them that this is a practice-based program and it takes time to see the return of one’s invested time, sometimes they understand. Some still do not—because as adults, we live in a results-driven society and we want it now. Let me give you an analogy that might help: If I handed you a large fast-food-sized drink cup and asked you to fill it with an eyedropper, it would take some time, wouldn’t it? That doesn’t mean the cup isn’t filling. It is just difficult to judge progress in the midst of a few drops at a time. Eventually, however, the cup will overflow. It is the same with Spelling You See.
If you are consistently doing the exercises as the program design dictates (reading to and with your child daily, doing at least 10 minutes of copywork, and doing the dictation one word at a time, correcting errors as they are made), then you WILL SEE POSITIVE RESULTS.
In both math and spelling, consistent progress over time is the key.
Now is a good time to evaluate how consistent you have been so far this school year. Don’t beat yourself up! Guilt should NOT be a part of the homeschool experience—especially guilt for those who work so hard to see their children educated well. Instead, make a new and different decision and commit to being consistent in the next couple of months and see if it doesn’t do a remarkable change for your attitude and your homeschool progress.
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