Let's explore the "Let's" Effect.
Instead of relying on command and demand, a homeschooling parent can say "Let's" -- and inspire rather than require.
"Let's take a walk and look for red and gold leaves."
"Let's look that up online."
"Let's read a chapter together."
"Let's figure out what the tip would be if our restaurant bill were a million dollars."
"Let's bake some cookies and take them to the neighbors."
"Let's find Argentina on the map."
"Let's get some books about volcanoes from the library."
Let's is, of course, the contraction for "let us," and it can be a powerful invitation to learning and positive activities. The emphasis is on doing something together -- us doing something. The onus for action isn't on the child alone. Instead of a hypodermic needle model, where you're trying to inject learning into a child, you're seeking to cultivate more of the companion model -- learning something side-by-side with your child, who is experience learning with you, not because you said so.
One way to make homeschooling more effective is to get involved on the child's level. You each carry a basket for treasures you'll find on your walk together. You sit down and paint your not-very-good-painting while your child paints at the table with you. You take your child to the library and model looking up a book in the computer catalogue; then you and your child search among the Dewey Decimal numbers on the shelf to see who can spot the book first.
If you do these things, you're let's-ing.
The "Let's" Effect can be the general daily nature of your homeschool, or you can simply remember to use the "Let's" Effect when your child needs to break through resistance or needs a higher touch day. You can also use it when you realize you've been pushing too hard and homeschooling in your household is feeling way too negative.
"Let's go to the art museum."
That very phrase once saved one of my sons and me from the further ravages of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad homeschooling day.
When things are not working, sometimes having "Let's" at the tip of your tongue can help you make more responsive adjustments so you and your child can experience a more successful day together. Remember, you're on the same side.
Also remember, children's emotional states, their environment for learning, and their relationships greatly affect their cognitive development. No one is learning as much when things are in a turmoil.
If your homeschooling is stuck, sometimes the best thing to do is step back, take a deep breath, and reset with the "Let's" Effect.
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