Teaching a Work EthicThe answer is, I think, a bit different for each child, because of different ages and personalities and different needs in character development. The second grader generally remembers to do his work from co-op, but he is more enthusiastic than thorough in the way he does it. His class is on insects, and he happily collects various creatures from the yard, but doesn’t always remember to bring his bug catching kit inside or remember to actually bring the bugs he has caught to class! His bookwork gets done, but often needs some adjustment in terms of neatness and legibility.
The fifth grader is happy to do any of the work she considers interesting, but doesn’t want to do the parts that require effort. Since this is an area we are focusing on this year, I am being very careful to follow up and make sure she has done all the work and not just the “fun” parts.
The sixth grader is making great progress this year with responsibility. He seems to be figuring out that progress in school involves working on the harder things as well as doing the more enjoyable things so I am limiting my involvement to putting the co-op assignments on his weekly assignment sheet and assisting with things like spelling as I’m asked. He hands in lessons to me along with the rest of the class at co-op, and I hand them back with comments just as I do for the other students.
All of this stepping back is hard to do for Mama! I want them to succeed, and I know that if I stay very involved in all aspects of their work, the work will be done well. In reality, though, that level of involvement from me means that they are not learning to discipline themselves to do the things they find less pleasant and more difficult, and I am not working myself out of a job!