As Tiger transitions to scholar phase, we have discovered that his mentor meetings are more and more important to help him stay focused and take responsibility for his learning. Instead of me handing him an assignment sheet of expectations for the week, which ultimately resulted in contention, not enjoying the learning, and not much progress, we have devised a system of accountability that helps him focus, keeps him learning and loving it, and eliminates contention.
I have blogged a little bit about our system before, but we are in the process of making adjustments right now. He has come to me and asked for an even more detailed plan. Originally his plan was only the top portion. Over time, the times and subjects have changed a little, but the real changes are at the bottom. We used to have him just record what materials he was using below his schedule. Now, he still writes details under the days (like h0w much time he spent or a specific book), but he also has a space for goals, books read, and as of today a Commitment for the week. I don’t know how the commitment for the week will work, but we will give it a try.
This past week we were listening to a lecture from the 2012 Family Forum in Salt Lake that was given to the youth. The speaker was talking a lot about the marshmallow experiment and will power. He discussed how willpower is actually something that can be increased and taught. He then proceeded to speak to the youth about how to increase willpower and effort. One of the things he talked about was the difference between goals and commitments. He said a commitment is the bare minimum required. You must tell someone you commit to this action and there needs to be a self-imposed negative and positive consequence attached to it. The goal is bigger than the commitment to help increase and stretch abilities. This really inspired Tiger to want to do more, which is why he requested a commitment for the week.
So what does this sheet have to do with mentor meetings? After all, that was the topic of this post! Mentor meetings are a one on one meeting that B has with each child every Sunday morning. With Strawberry, the meeting is likely to include reading a story, maybe singing a song, and maybe practicing one or two of the 4 Basic Skills (from Teaching Self Government). With Pumpkin Pie, she shows off what she worked on during learning time- copywork, math, etc. and reads a story with B and talks about what is exciting in her life. B and Pumpkin Pie might also set a goal about a behavior we have noticed that needs work. Butterfly talks about what is exciting, concerns, and a bit about what she is working on during learning time. She also has recently been given a weekly goal sheet to play with but it seems to get lost more often than not still. B and Butterfly set goals for her academically as well as socially (accepting a consequence or getting her room clean quickly). Tiger’s meeting is the longest and most detailed because of where he is on his academic journey. B and Tiger talk about scouts, learning, goals, and exciting things from the week. They work out what Tiger’s goals for the week are both academically as well as in the family/socially. The children look forward to their individual time with B each week. Tiger especially needs his mentor meeting to help him focus in the next week.
With this sheet, when I notice that focus is waning, I just need to ask Tiger how he is coming on his weekly goals and he quickly gets back on track. He also is able to see where he spends the bulk of his time and what areas need a little more focus the following week. As he is still in the love of learning phase, he sometimes hyper focuses on one or two subjects one week and then works on something the next. Ultimately, he is moving forward with giant strides, but it is a little asynchronous. This past week, he focused on music, history, computer programming and science and spend a huge amount of time reading Les Miserables and a few other book. He is loving the story, but he has a goal of going to see the movie with B when he is finished with the book. Next week, I imagine there will be a different balance of subjects.