Taking Responsibility For Your Own Learning


I found this on Pinterest.  I love Pinterest – a wonderful time waster!  But also, it can be a handy tool for finding useful things to inspire children.  And this came up just at the right time.  I have printed it off and given it to both my children.

Baby girl is going through her last year of Junior School and they have horrible nasty exams at the end of this year.  They spend all year getting programmed to pass these tests, only to spend the first year of Senior School being deprogrammed.  It’s all a bit silly.  But this is life and we all must sit tests and you may as well learn how to do them properly.

She sits in front of her maths homework and throws up her hands in exasperation. She declares, in her best drama queen way, that she cannot do it, she is dumb and why does she have to do maths if she is going to be an actress anyway!  I patiently explain that if she becomes a famous actress she will need to manage her money.  Yes, you can hire someone to do that, but you need to check them in case they try to steal from you.  Plus, if you don’t pass maths, you will not get into drama school and will end up cleaning toilets for a living!  (Not saying that’s a bad thing, it’s just her least favourite chore I have asked her to do!)

I went through the above list with her.  We have had a big chat about if she wants to be an actress (sigh) then she is going to have to put in the work to get there.  That means trying hard at all areas of her schooling.  Don’t think it has sunk in just yet, but I am going to drum it into her until it does.

Now Complicated Boy has hit Year 8 at Senior School and the homework level has picked up a pace.  I have never been a parent that has sent their child into school with wonderful projects that I have done – I have always made them do it and then cringed in embarrassment when you see all the other children’s beautiful works.  But heh ho, I have already been to school, I am not doing their homework, they are meant to do it to learn.

Well anyway, Complicated Boy was constructing a bunk house from the second chapter of Grapes of Wrath.  And having quickly googled it myself, I asked him if his finished model was it?  And he said yes.  So, I pulled out the above list and asked him to read it and then I asked him again if that was it?  And he said no.

We had a chat about what he wanted to achieve in his life and how I couldn’t help him at school much anymore, he needed to step up and take responsibility.  It was a good chat; he feels that he isn’t doing so well this year and I asked him how he could do better.

We came up with a plan that he was to approach the teachers and ask them to either explain what he had done wrong, or how to do it properly or how to achieve better.  And he has – much to my surprise – it’s hard for 13-year-old boy to approach an adult and admit that you need help.  I found out that his goal is to do well enough at school that he doesn’t have to write stuff – e.g. work in an office, he wants to work in a science lab.  He hates writing so much and so I wrote that above his list – GOAL – NO Writing!  It might seem funny to other people visiting our house and seeing the list – but he knows what it means.

I have taken the above list on board myself.  I may be at the older end of my forties, but I still like to learn and I think it shows the children a good example.  I am trying to learn Italian on my tablet (tried it once before in University, but still can’t speak a word).  I am doing it more to keep my synapses connected, but also because it’s fun.  AND BIG NEWS I have signed up to do a 6-month course next year.  You see I obviously have a far too much time on my hands (OH MY GOODNESS WHAT HAVE I DONE), but it looked interesting and I kept thinking about it and I just want to do it – for no reason other than I want to learn.  I am going to be doing a Social Media Management Course – I know sounds fun right!!!  Well it does to me.  So, I shall be joining the children at the dining room table to do my homework and I will show them that you always need to continue to learn!  ALWAYS….


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