Finally, praise your child for being determined instead of smart. While every child isn’t gifted, every child can be determined, so enthusiastically celebrate the hard work involved in more difficult tasks. A determined person understands that everything will come with more practice and more hard work. As I always tell my college-bound seniors, success in college is 80% determination and 20% smarts. The latter can be compensated for if one has sufficient determination.

No matter how smart you are, you’ll experience trial and error, failure and success. Learning that failure isn’t fatal is a first step toward success. Recovery from failure is best taught at home. We must provide opportunity for a bit of failure every day. Offer daily challenges, let your learner experience failure, and then, most importantly, model healthy recovery. 

Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the February 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade magazine for homeschool families. Read the magazine free at or read it on the go and download the free apps at to read the magazine on your mobile devices.

Amy Barr is a homeschool mother of three and a full-time instructor of other home-educated students as co-founder of The Lukeion Project.  As an archaeologist, she spent more than a decade excavating sites throughout the Mediterranean and teaching Classics at the college level.  Now she and her husband, Regan Barr, offer their expertise through live online workshops and college preparatory high school courses about the Classical world, Latin, and Greek.  The two of them lead annual family tours to the Mediterranean and invite you to join them for a tour of the best sites in Greece, May 2012.  

Publication date: November 26, 2012