Single Efforts can Teach Profound Skills
Because we focus on depth and connection when we teach, we don’t need repetition of activities to the degree that schools need it. We aren’t pushing kids through material to ensure we don’t “miss anything.” On the contrary, we have the opportunity to patiently focus on an individual moment in time, looking at a specific skill, working with that child until it is understood.
It may be that you will revise a single piece of writing with one child this year. If you do a thorough, caring, patient job with your child, ensuring that the child feels connected to you and open to the teaching (through kindness, consideration, and helpfulness), that single editing/revision experience may be enough for the entire year! It is possible to learn it all in that one paper—enough for this year’s effort. When a child is well taught—when you care to give full commitment once in a while to a specific skill—your student will “get it” and not need repeated pushes and nudges and practice over and over again to the point of irritation and tedium.
Instead, your child will be able to take what you imparted and then practice as needed using the skills acquired in that one event.
Likewise, you might find that your child produced one fabulous session of copywork where the handwriting looked elegant, and the proportions on the page were spot on, and the care to copy punctuation and indentation succeeded. That experience teaches so much more than dozens of pages of half-hearted effort.
We focus too much on what isn’t getting done instead of recognizing the power of specific, intentional, well-executed moments in time. Do your kids need to love every lesson? No. They don’t have to fall in love with writing to become good writers. They need the skills—they can get them with far less pain if you change your expectations. Quality instruction, affection and closeness over quantity of products.
Trust these single efforts. They are working better for you than you know.
Top image by Tim Pierce (cc cropped, text added)