Using Projects to Instill Great Work Habits

Using Projects to Instill Great Work Habits


Today is day seven of a ten-day series about Raising Lifelong Learners. Have you followed along? We’ve chatted about cultivating learning environments, literacy, play, and more play. We’ve also begun talking about good work habits through household chores. Check out previous posts and catch up.

Did you know that projects and hobbies, and even musical instruments can have an even greater impact on developing work ethics in kids than chores?


Raising Lifelong Learners a Ten Day Series via Day Seven

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Every project your kids get involved in has the potential to lead to an incredible body of work. And, you often don’t know exactly what will spark the diligence.

Here’s an example—

Recently, I discovered a phenomenal site, Mama’s Learning Corner, full of printables made by the talented Lauren Hill. Her members only section is well-worth the subscription, and I’ve downloaded just about every one of her printable packs and eBooks.

I’d been looking for a painless way of encouraging Trevor to grow his vocabulary so I downloaded and printed a stack of her vocabulary printable. I wrote a long obscure word on the whiteboard, handed Trevor the page and told him he needed to report to all of us at lunch time, and after his report, anyone who used the word in an organic sentence could have a piece of candy.

And then I forgot about it…

Until lunchtime when Trevor came to the table with the worksheet and the iPad. He shared his worksheet, definition, sentence, and illustration, and then he showed us a stop-motion animation he’d created to demonstrate the word. And then he begged me to give him words everyday. 



Since then, he’s written dozens of those printables and created corresponding animations. His vocabulary is growing and so is Molly’s and Logan’s. He works hard to come up with creative ideas and has run with it, creating videos for just about everything he needs to do.

His work has become his play.

By the same token, music lessons can help kids develop a work ethic, but they can also help a child learn bad habits. Trevor wanted to play the flute. So, we found a homeschool band, had him tested on it, rented the instrument, and started lessons.


Raising Lifelong Learners a Ten Day Series via Day Seven


Playing the flute is tough. And practicing daily is a challenge for a kid. And, while some parents would argue that it is the child’s responsibility to practice, I disagree. We can do damage to our kids’ developing work habits by not stepping in and guiding them. I don’t agree with nagging, but setting up an expectation {or a chart} that clearly shows the child that he must complete his practice before he can play or have free time still keeps the child accountable while setting him up for success.

This comes back to tapping into your child’s interests and being flexible.

Have you used hobbies as a way to encourage great work ethics in your kids? What other ways do you suggest for cultivating diligent hearts?