Learning Responsibility

learning+responsibilityMy son has been learning about American history this year, and every week he has had one sentence to write as copywork and handwriting practice. He has written these sentences in a primary-grade lined book with a section on the top of each page so he can also illustrate it. The idea is that he learns about history and also has a book for reviewing all the things he has learned.

Last week, he lost his notebook.

Yes, six months of copywork and illustrations lost. His record of history, his year-long project was gone. It was time to write the next week’s sentence, and he could not find it. He told me he had been reading it and playing with it outside of the school room. So it could be anywhere.

As a homeschooling mom, I realized that I had not set him up for any serious consequence. I had not taught him from the beginning that he is responsible for the notebook. I had let him doodle and mark up the edges of his math papers. I had let him be rather casual about the paperwork side of things.

If I want him to be responsible for his papers and books, I need to talk to him about it extensively before things get lost. I need to be more proactive in helping him. He needs guidance in learning responsibility. I can’t expect him to learn responsibility after the fact, if I have not expected it all along!

I’d love to hear from you too!

What do you do as a teacher? In a classroom, I suspect a student would be held responsible for his lost year-long project. But do you make a first grader start over again? It would take him hours and lots of pain and complaining to write the twenty or more sentences he’d written thus far. How do you, then, teach responsibility for school documents like this?

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