Constructive Criticism

Every human being is entitled to courtesy and consideration. Constructive criticism is to not only be expected but sought.-Margaret Chase Smith
I love my kids and I think they are absolutely perfect. It is common for parents to think that their kids are perfect but as homeschoolers, we have to remember that constructive criticism is a crucial part of their learning process.  Why is constructive criticism important? It is important because it helps them learn from their mistakes, hone their skills and it prepares them for the future. 
As a homeschooling parent, my children’s education rests solely in my hands. I am both parent and educator and sometimes it can be difficult to balance these two roles. For instance, the other day Robert finished a multiplication worksheet that had 70 problems on it and he got them all right which was a major accomplishment for him. While all of his answers were correct he had written a few of the numbers backward and the parent side of me wanted to let it go because I knew the hard work and frustration involved in finishing this worksheet. The educator side of me knew that we needed to address the issue of the backward numbers so that we could prevent future errors. I made sure to let him know how very proud I was of the hard work he had put into the assignment. I then pointed out the numbers that were written backward and had him rewrite them correctly. Once he was done I made sure that I again let him know how proud I was and what a good job he had done. It’s important when offering feedback that it is done in a way that builds them up rather than tearing them down. Robert knows now that the number 9 is a number he often rights backward so he takes extra time when writing this number and it allows him to write it correctly because he is aware of the issue. It is important to make them aware of their mistakes so that they can learn how to fix them and prevent them in the future. 
Once you have utilized constructive criticism to identify areas that need work your kids can work on honing their skills. Robert has dyslexia so a few years ago he was writing most of his letters and numbers backward. When he is stressed or trying to hurry through an assignment we see a return of the backward writing. Robert understands that when these mistakes happen it’s because he is working too hard and too fast. With practice, he is learning how to control his emotions and work carefully rather than quickly so that he can prevent errors. If you ignore the issues and allow them to keep doing what they are doing it will become a habit that will be much harder to break later down the road. 
Utilizing constructive criticism with your kids will not only help them learn how to correct mistakes and improve their skills but it will help them in the future. One of the benefits of homeschooling is that we are able to replicate real life scenarios that will help them when they become working adults. Constructive criticism is a normal part of the work environment and how one handles it will determine their success. If your child learns how to take the criticism as a way to improve their skills and do better with something they will do well in the workforce. If your child doesn’t learn this as an adult they may become hostile when faced with constructive criticism because they don’t recognize it as a tool that can help them become successful. 
Constructive criticism is supposed to be constructive it should have positive results. Constructive criticism is meant to build one up not tear one down and it should never involve tears, harsh words or name calling. Nobody likes to be told that something they are doing is incorrect so it is important to wrap the constructive criticism in positivity. Make sure you are highlighting the things they do well and help them identify ways they can improve or prevent future mistakes. It can be difficult as both the parent and the educator to do this because as parents we want to protect our kids. We have to be careful that we do not shelter them so much that they are not prepared to handle the real world when that time comes. 

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