School is out for the summer, but Homeschool HEALS is about more than school. Life skills are important as well. In this post, we explore one valuable life skill: problem solving. Problem-solving skill is not confined only to the school setting. Practice with problem-solving strategies will help you recognize the range of options that are available to you at any given moment.
We all have areas that challenge us, some might even admit to struggling in some areas. As you get older, things get more complex. It is no longer just addition and subtraction. Now, you are challenged to solve for x. This escalation of complexity doesn’t happen to annoy you. It happens because you are capable and understand more.
Each of us is unique in how we view challenges. This may be due to how we have been taught or what we have observed from others. Yet, problem solving is a process with some characteristic process points. I want to provide you with problem-solving options that you can use in and out of school.
One thing to remember when in school is that learning is a continual process of building. What you are learning now is building upon what you learned prior. Lessons are being added until a mountain of knowledge is obtained. The challenge in all this is not to get overwhelmed with the process. Being overwhelmed will either shut-down your problem-solving ability or make tasks more complex than they should be. When helping my kids in school I, give them the following advice in problem solving.
- Always read the whole passage, directions, or problem twice. Maybe even a third time. Sometimes key words are missed when you go through reading too fast.
- NO shortcuts. Especially in math where there are multiple steps to solving the problem. Take your time to do each step properly. This allows you to see how you came to the answer. If you must back track, you can see where you went wrong.
- Remember your resources. Don’t spend hours looking at something you don’t know. Today, you have internet at your fingertips on your phones, the library is full of books and references (and it’s free). But, your first stop should be reviewing the lesson material.
- Ask somebody. I would start with your teacher. They are more than willing to offer assistance. If they are not available, reach out to another person you trust.
- Lose the Pride. You don’t know everything and no one expects you to. It is better go through the steps of learning than to guess and fail because of your pride.
- Understand how you learn. If you are a visual learner, explore ways to incorporate that into your lessons. You should also explore other ways of learning so you are not held to thinking you can only learn one way.
- Exercise your brain. Engage in activities that challenge you to think in more complex ways and solve difficult problems. There are plenty of brain challenging games on the market that you can do to pass time while waiting at appointments. Or, set aside 15 minutes a day and have fun while you’re learning.
Life can be challenging as a child or teen. School work is not the only challenge that our kids are faced with. Their world can be quite stressful at times. Having friends or not having friends, working, the changes that come with adolescence, and proving their worth is a lot to handle. Adults sometimes forget how the pressures piles up for our kids and how those pressure make them feel. Learning how to problem-solve outside of school is not only helpful in the moment, but it sets the tone for the future. Here are some tips that might help.
Out of school:
- Explore your options. Sometimes when faced with problems or decisions, it may feel like there are no other options and you must give in to something you don’t want. That’s not true. Take the time to lay all options out before making any decisions.
- Know your worth. Your self-esteem is important. It shows in how you carry yourself and interact with others. Understand that everyone is not in touch with who they are. Some will try to make you feel bad about who you are. Don’t own this from them.
- Focus on what’s honest. Once you establish truth, you can work from there. It is difficult to distinguish lies from worse lies. Be honest and expect it honesty from others.
- Seek Wisdom. Wisdom is not just something you get for being an adult. Wisdom comes from learning, observing, and listening to the wise.
- Get support. Support can be from a mentor, teacher, parent, or friend. The point is to have someone that you trust enough to accept the support you need.
Problem-solving is a part of life, in and out of school. In this blog, I presented you with a few techniques to get you started. Challenge yourself to find more and add them to the ones I have written. Your commitment to the process is what makes the difference in the outcomes you get. I believe in your abilities, and remember Homeschool HEALS supports you!