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Take time to set priorities!

Heart of Dakota - Teaching Tip - Take time to set priorities!
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Teaching Tip: 

Take time to prioritize.

Today’s teaching tip is all about priorities. If you’re like me, you might get a bit overwhelmed with the tasks that lie ahead in the coming school year. This is why it helps to set priorities before your year begins.

Define your main priorities for each child.

As you look at each child, define your main priorities for that child for the upcoming year. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds! Simply ask yourself which areas each child needs to work on the most. Then, pick one to three areas to focus on for the upcoming year.

What are some areas where a child might need help?

Through the years we’ve had a variety of areas in which our boys needed work. Sometimes we had a child who needed to strengthen reading skills. Other times a child needed work on math facts or being neater in math. Some years we focused on legibility in handwriting. Other years we focused on character issues. At times a child really needed to gain independence. Or, maybe studied dictation was an area needing attention. There were years where we needed to do better on projects and following directions. These are just a few areas we’ve worked on over the years. Hopefully, this list will get you thinking of areas where your child needs work.

Make a plan for how to focus on your priorities.

Once you’ve decided a few key areas where each child needs work, make a plan for how to focus on those areas. This can be as simple as committing to be by your child’s side as he/she works on a difficult subject. It can mean allowing an extra 10 minutes a day in your schedule to oversee or teach a tough area. Making it a goal to check your child’s work daily in a specific area is another way to achieve your priorities. Being willing to pause what you are doing to deal with character issues might be an option. Assigning a child who is strong in a subject to work with a child who is weak in that subject is another solution.

Be careful not to over-emphasize your priorities.

It is easy to think we need to major on our areas of priority. For example, if spelling is a priority, you may be tempted to rush out and buy a rigorous spelling program. Yet, the solution could be as simple as committing to doing studied dictation daily from the HOD guide. As you consider solutions, be sure not to add more work to what is already in the HOD guide. Otherwise, you will just add time to your day and neglect other key areas. Instead, let your HOD guide work for you!

Use your HOD guide as a tool to help you accomplish your priorities.

As you look at accomplishing your priorities, use your HOD guide as a tool to help you. Focus on a few key areas that will aid you in accomplishing your priorities. Maybe your child needs to read a certain assignment box aloud to you daily to focus on following directions. Perhaps your artistic older child does the projects with your less artistic younger child. Maybe you focus on legibility in handwriting every time a written narration comes up. Perhaps you work on independence in one key box of plans first and build on that. Or, maybe you commit to being present and helping with math.

Work on your priorities briefly each day.

Simply pick one or two times a day to work briefly on your priorities. Brief consistent work pays off. Try it and see if setting priorities helps you! You may be pleasantly surprised.


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