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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

School Rules

It's back to school here this week. We are beginning our first full year in our new home. Last year we began with half our things in boxes, waiting for the move. We had a great year, but I felt disorganized the whole time.

This year I was able to set things up and feel prepared to start the year. It's a good feeling.

With the newness in mind, even though we did school here for half the year last year, we started with a tour of school space. I walked the kids around and showed them where everything belongs. I showed them their drawers, their supplies, etc. It was like a marvelous museum tour. They were super excited about all of it.

After the tour, we sat down and made a list of school rules. We've never done that before, but it seemed like something we should do. We've been having some behavior issues in the past couple of weeks, so I thought it would be a good idea to start with expectations. I remember reading a baby-rearing book when Curly was a few weeks old, and it said to start out as you mean to go on. Well, at that point I had no idea how I meant to go on, so that was beyond me. But we've been doing this for a little while, and I do know how I mean to go on. So, what better way to start out?

The kids came up with the rules themselves, with a little guidance, so they clearly DO know how to behave. I'm sure there's more we could add, but I thought was a good effort for the first day.

Here are the rules.

Listen first. Talk second. (Listen to be sure no one else is speaking before you start speaking.)
     -Raise your hand. Don't interrupt.

Be respectful.
     -Don't be mean.

Don't be a distraction.
     -Don't make obnoxious noises or fool around.
     -Don't have distractions at the table.
     -Don't be crazy.

Do your best work.
     -Write neatly.
     -Work quickly.
     -Ask for help when you need it.

Be ready to learn.
     -Be teachable.
     -Pay attention.
     -Be prepared.
     -Be on time.

Be responsible.
     -Take care of your school supplies.
     -Clean up after yourself.

No running.    **Okay, I'm not sure this one was necessary, but I wasn't going to say no. That would be inviting the running around.

Remember that Mom is the teacher. 

Curly added the underlining to that last one. :)

I think the rules are great because it shows me that even when they aren't responding with the right behavior, they are listening. Some of these rules are things we have really been working through. It's great to see they know we need to keep working on these things.

Now the kids are asked to sign the rules like a contract. They wrote the rules; now they need to agree to them. Their signature shows they understand what the rules are and that there will be consequences to breaking the rules. 

I know written rules aren't for everyone, but I think they will work well for us. We are really focusing on personal responsibility, and this is one step in that direction.

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