There are leaders, there are followers, and then there are rebels. I happen to be of the latter category. When I see something trending, I take a long time to hop on the bandwagon, just because I can. I prefer to wait and see if it is worth my attention before I run with it, to see if it will stand the test of time. Growth mindset has been a trending word for a while and it has been no exception to the rule. Assuming it was some sort of new parenting style code word, I have spent the last few months skipping articles and headlines with these words in it. Finally, however, I was just too curious. What is this whole “growth mindset” thing and why is it such a hot topic?
I am going to share what I have learned with you as well as some tips and ideas as to how we can promote this in our homeschools. It’s a new year and a growth mindset is exactly what we need to switch gears for 2019.
What is a growth mindset?
I’ll be the first to admit that I was completely wrong about this phrase. Learn a lesson from Rebecca’s life #1,347: research before you decide to take a rebel stance.
A growth mindset is essentially our perception of our potential and abilities. It is a perspective in which we believe that with hard work we can grow or improve, we are not limited by where we are today because there is always tomorrow. A growth mindset in our homeschool looks like our children having goals and aspirations, the tools to put into practise to get there and the confidence that they can do it. Imagine if your homeschool had that kind of perspective driving behind the challenges that you face rather than one of defeat and fatalism (both things I battle with as a perfectionist)!
A growth mindset is pretty much everything I value the most in my homeschool journey. A friend was asking if I was worried that by adopting a part-time unschooling lifestyle, was I setting my kids up for failure. My response didn’t use the word growth mindset but the entire conversation was essentially about exactly that. I do value bookwork, I do value school and hard work and instilling a strong work ethic in my kids. I know that the foundation is important and that is why we still use curriculum in our homeschool.
However, I value passion and inspiration and creativity far more than marks or finishing our books. If there is one thing I have learned as an author, it is the confidence that my success is not based off of a university degree, it is based off of my drive and hard work. If my kids only take one thing from this whole homeschool thing, let it be that the world is their oyster. And that my friend, is what a growth mindset is all about.
How can we facilitate a growth mindset in our children?
The challenge then is how do we help develop a growth mindset in our children? How do we teach them to embrace their challenges, to see them instead as opportunities for growth? How do we teach them that they are not defined by the outcome, but to value the process? In my opinion, if we are going to change anyones perspective, we first have to check our own. Looking at your own life, do you operate out of a growth mindset or a fixed mindset? Here is an awesome graphic I found from Big Life Journal, take a look at some of the differences between the two and see which mindset you most identify with.
When you face a challenge, do you rise above or give up? Changing our default is not an easy thing. Start talking about it as a family, sharing your struggles and what you are doing about them. Let your kids see you wrestle, let them celebrate with you when you overcome or grow through adversity. Let them see that you value the lessons you learn along the road just as much as you value the outcome. The more you start to talk about it, the more your kids will begin to recognize it in themselves.
What a growth mindset looks like in action in our home
My homeschool is not without it’s challenges. I face challenges that at times seem insurmountable, impossible, I feel defeated and overwhelmed and like giving up. Whether it is the house being messy, disorganization, laundry piling up, work deadlines, or me trying to balance the various facets of my life and my children’s needs, the struggle is real. Every single day I have to choose the direction I am heading, what is my priority and how I will rise above.
Every day I have to choose to fight or give up.
So therefore, every day that I remain a homeschool mom is a victory. I am on my own growth mindset journey, learning to embrace the challenges and see the little wins along the way.
My kids also face challenges, some more than others. Some of my children have significant learning struggles and I know that my reaction to their weaknesses can make or break their own opinion of themselves. I talk with my kids about their reading or math difficulties, I don’t shy away from it or sugar coat it. By having open discussion, we embrace the challenge and can come up with solutions to help them grow in the areas they struggle.
For both of my struggling learners, Reading Eggs and Mathseeds has been one of our tools that I give them. I have watched my daughter grow 2 reading levels in less than half the year. But more importantly, I have seen her confidence in herself grow. She no longer looks to her challenges to define her, instead she sees them as temporary limitations that mean she has to work a little bit harder than everyone else.
So now what?
Talk, discuss, share, evaluate and come up with solutions together. If your kids need a little bit of confidence in language arts or math, try out a free gift of 4 weeks with Reading Eggs and Mathseeds for your whole family. But no matter what solutions you go for, be a family that perseveres. Make some lemonade out of those lemons and may your children walk away from this whole homeschool thing knowing that they can do almost anything.