When I first read the workbox system book I was appalled at the idea of doling out three "help me" cards to each child and telling them to use them wisely. After all, this is homeschooling, not public school ~ I'm supposed to be here to help my children, not to be bothered by their requests for assistance. But now? Now I get it. The cards are meant to make the child stop and think for themselves before asking for help.
"Mom, I don't understand ..." "Mom, I don't get it ..." "Mom, I don't know what I am supposed to do ..." "Mom, how do you spell ...?" "Mom, he won't share the dictionary." "Mom, did I do this right?" "Mom! Mom! Mom!"
9 times out of 10 the boys can figure out whatever they are asking for help on. My answers usually fall along the lines, of "Did you read the instruction card?" (No.) "What do you think?" (to which the answer will be exactly correct). "Did you use the spelling dictionary?" (No.) "Can you work it out?" (Yes.)
I am reminded of a young toddler, perhaps the more timid type, who is ready to walk unassisted but is unwilling to let go of a parent's hand and take those first steps. We have to encourage them to let go and walk on their own. Over and over again we offer love and support and also recognize when they are ready to do things on their own. We don't push independence too early; it is something that grows with time.
I'm going to give the "Help" cards a try beginning Monday; I want to encourage them to think before they give up and ask for help. If it doesn't work we can always stop using them.