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Following a Schedule

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Just wondering how to handle this. My kids are 14 and 8. Old enough, I think, to be a bit more independent in their schoolwork.

Over the past two and a half weeks I have given them the opportunity, and CLEAR instructions. to do work independently.

Sadly, the first time it happened, my daughter LIED and said it was all done when it wasn't. Yesterday, it only got about half done.

Seriously? How hard is it to follow clearly written, clearly explained instructions?

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Is this a new thing for them? My 12 year old can follow a schedule, but I have been using a schedule since he was 4 years old. I don't expect my 8 year old to be independent. And my 12 year old follows the schedule, but I am right there with his little brother making sure older brother stays on track. Occasionally he has to be told to stop reading his novel.


It comes slowly and it takes time. It is a learned skill and they will need lots of help transitioning over. SWB has an audio download you can buy from Peace Hill Press called something like 'teaching students to work independently'


You might want to break it down into steps. With a 14 year old you might want to give her a list and have her check things off, but she shows her work to you. I can imagine that lots of 14 year olds need frequent check ins. I wouldn't just hand off a schedule and expect them to know what to do.

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Takes a lot more than 2 weeks to make up for years of lack of habit.


If you back a dog into a corner and it bites, who's fault is the bite? On the "lying", well you back up and you structure and you inspect at every point of the way. It takes a LOT OF ENERGY to teach a routine and develop a routine and inspect a routine and enforce a routine till it becomes habit. I would work on turning the whole conversation a lot more positive. Set them up to succeed, and praise them for it. If they're not succeeding, you're not coming behind them enough helping them learn how. Sure a kid can be devious or evasive, but if that hasn't been their MO for everything else, then it's probably more that they got backed into a corner. So come along, inspect, be patient.


My kid spent the first 8 years of her school life asking what we were going to do that day (in spite of having a check list). She spent this year asking if she really had to DO what was on the checklist. Sometimes (like today) she blows my mind and wakes up and does it. I've been trying 9 years. 2.5 weeks probably isn't going to cut it. ;)

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I have a set schedule of independent work (chores, not schoolwork) for my kids. It's exactly the same 6x a week. It would never ever get done if I wasn't standing right there reminding them of the next step and keeping them from getting distracted. Of course, my boys are 3, and 5. I would not expect them to remember the next step or keep from getting distracted on their own. Focus is a SKILL and a maturity level. I would assume at 8 and 12 your kids would have the maturity level (but maybe not! This isn't a given!), but they may not have developed the skill. Many adults cannot focus on work they aren't interested in, or follow clearly written instructions!! That's not to say it isn't important, it's just not easy.


It may also just be a matter of obedience. Either way I like the above suggestions. Is it possible to keep the work "independent" but stay in the room, working on your own thing, and keeping a close eye? Maybe you could do hourly, then daily, then weekly work checks, extending the time between checks as they get better about having it all done?

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