Ok, so if you are like us, the first week of school has begun and you are wondering what you have gotten yourself into – right? It is either going swimmingly, or you feel wrecked. Even though this is my 20th year to begin – and my 17th year with Calvert, I find that it is still a struggle to get it all together. I wanted to provide you with 4 tips for making the beginning better.
- It is not all about you – OR them. Give each of you the grace to recognize that you are learning a new routine, new roles and new material. ANY habit takes at least 21 days of CONSECUTIVE repetition to become automatic. So if you are looking toward “smooth sailing” you are still a couple of weeks out.
- Lots of words, huh? Calvert is very word-heavy in the beginning lessons. WE want you to know EVERYTHING, and to understand the Calvert way, so we explain, and explain. And sometimes we explain again. Rest assured that the word content will NOT always be this long. We want you to understand that establishing the correct habits at the beginning make for a more successful outcome so we front load materials with lots of information. This is why we strongly recommend you read through the first 10 lessons before beginning your school year.
- Mark it. We strongly encourage you, as the Learning Guide, to read through the materials in advance. Did you know that you can also mark the materials to help you remember the content? Over the years I have tried a variety of techniques. I have found that using a colored fine line marker in two colors is what I like to do best. The photo shows the two colors:
Green designates the information that I need to remember, e.g. in my example here, Calvert wants me to know that Spelling lessons will contain 10 words and two challenge words for my second grader. Orange represents actions I need to take, that are given in the directions, e.g. “have your student write a joke or a riddle.” This provides me guidance when I look back at the lessons with my student and gives me a quicker avenue to the materials and understanding.
- Breathe. This is more about learning new skills and setting new examples, and it is much bigger than “readin’ writin’, and ‘rithmetic”. You are creating a lifestyle. Find the joy in the process. So, you only got two things done today? Praise those two things. We parents have a tendency to look at the product our kids produce through adult eyes. Look at it through the lens of a child and recognize that they tried, did their best, and produced something of value. So practice the art of being “Thumper” – find something good to say.
We have our first week under our belt. It has not been completely smooth; we have not all been completely patient. But we got it done. And you will too – and I promise that a month from now, you will find it far easier than you did this week.