The full year my son spent in school taught him many unfortunate things. The worst lesson that he learned, in my opinion, is that it’s a bad thing to make a mistake. Think about it. In school, when a child gets an answer wrong on a test, he is not provided an opportunity to fix his mistake. When my son’s teacher commented that he did not participate as much as she required, I asked him why. He replied he didn’t want the other students and the teacher to make fun of him. Who would attempt anything new in such an environment? Mistakes in school are literally a dead end and they perpetuate a fear of failing which leads to a fear of trying.
Since we have been homeschooling, I have tried to focus on undoing this damage. Not all homeschoolers practice this- but in our home, mistakes are welcome because they are ultimately very effective learning opportunities.
I believe making mistakes is integral and necessary to the learning process. As I facilitate my son’s learning endeavors, I remind him often in words and actions that:
-he can show all he’s learned through his right answers, but he will learn the most through his mistakes -mistakes provide the information that will help him do it right next time -listening and studying are great but that he will learn best by doing -this is a safe learning space
The goal for my child to embrace is to be someone who is willing and able to face challenges head on and to treat such moments as learning opportunities.
Read this chapter on the subject from Positive Parenting by Jane Nelsen.
Article By Nuria Almeida
Picture By whgrad