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Teaching Your Kids To Decide What to Do Next

This may sound silly, but your children’s biggest challenge in life is likely to be making a daily decision of what to do next. Really. In the current job market, most people are not ever told what to do next, but instead they are left to their own devices to make constant daily decisions about how they use their time. No matter the job, we tend to have to make a lot of time based decisions. What do we do next? What is a priority?

Deciding what to do next
Decisions: What next? (Courtesy Flickr/Creative Commons)

One of the greatest complaints I get from employers who hire recent college grads is “They cannot make decisions. They do a job and then come back to ask what else they need to do.”

What we need to teach our kids, now and not later, is how to set priorities and how to decide what to do next.

Teach Your Kids to Decide “What next?”

1. Show your kids the plan. Get them involved in the planning of your projects and your homeschool year. Allow them to set some deadlines and pick some plans about how they will do school.

2. Avoid the set curriculum. I know as parents we like things all laid out and having a single curriculum for the whole year. But, that is not reality. We have choices to make about everything. Even something as simple as grocery shopping has us picking which stores we buy which products from. We shop price and quality and make decisions as to what is important and why. So, do not skimp on these hard decisions with your kids. Soon they will be in college and will have choices of programs, courses, and even which professor.

3. Pull out the calendar. Now with the courses and the plan, let them decide what to do when. For instance, to read a book with 100 pages could mean 10 pages or 20 minutes per day. Same logic goes for all their courses. Now, let them schedule it on their calendar.

4. Let them find their grove. We all have patterns of when we would rather do certain kinds of work. For me, writing or thinking work comes in the morning. Meetings in the afternoon. In a similar fashion, teach kids to find their own pattern and work habits.

The benefits of this simple method are twofold:

First, you are truly preparing them for what we call “knowledge work” which is the norm in our modern times. Even what we used to think of as blue-collar jobs are loaded with decisions. Teach your kids to make those decisions today.

Second, when you teach your kids this simple task, you have given them ownership and responsibility, which makes your job easier.

After all, a homeschooling parent is not a teacher, but a leader. So quit teaching and start leading.