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Essentials to Problem-Solving

When faced with a problem, we may sometimes feel stressed and anxious. It does not matter how large or small this problem is. Once we begin to feel anxious, the smallest problems begin to triple in size. The reality of life is that we will always be faced with a problem that we must solve. As homeschoolers, these problems can seem doubly stressful as they can make us feel like we are failing our kiddos. However, the truth is there is a way to become a better problem-solver.

It is important to learn essential problem-solving skills and pass those skills down to our children. Let's first take a look at what "problem-solving" means.

Problem-solving is the act or process of finding a solution to a problem. There is always a solution to a problem. We may not like the solution, but it is there.

For example, my dogs always leave a trail of dirt when they come into the house. This is a huge problem for me. A dirty floor stresses me out. What's the solution? I can constantly sweep every time they come back into the house, or I can take the time to wipe their feet before letting them re-enter. Taking time to wipe their feet is time-consuming; however, it keeps me from having to sweep behind them all the time, and it keeps my floors clean. Wiping their feet is the best solution for me.

Here are the methods I use when problem-solving:

  1. Identify the problem. Seems like a silly first step; however, when we feel anxious, we may lose sight of the actual problem.

  2. Determine the cause of the problem. We need to be honest with ourselves during this step. Is the cause external, or is it internal? Could it be us causing our own problems?

  3. What facts do you already know about the issue? These need to be provable facts. Our feelings, beliefs, and opinions do not count. We cannot count others' feelings, beliefs, and opinions as facts.

  4. Do a bit of research. Technology gives us information at our fingertips. Use it. Find reliable sources. Make sure you find the information on several sites. Has the author inserted their own opinions or beliefs? Don't use it.

  5. Come up with multiple solutions.

  6. Evaluate each solution. Is there a "best" solution for you?

  7. Plan and implement the solution. Now that you have chosen your solution come up with a solid plan on how to make it happen. Then put your plan into action.

  8. Evaluate the outcome. Did your solution give you the results you would like? Do you need to re-evaluate and try something else?

Why is developing problem-solving skills so important?

Problem-solving means making choices. Being able to make choices effectively results in a happier and more confident attitude. Teaching our children to be problem-solvers leads to more confident and independent learners.

Being able to problem-solve is rated high among employers when evaluating job candidates. Employees with solid problem-solving skills are equipped to handle anything their job requires.

According to Indeed, problem-solving:

  • inspires better time management

  • helps to strategize and prioritize work

  • encourages unconventional thinking

  • motivates us to work well under pressure

  • helps us to make smart risks

Becoming a better problem-solver and passing that skill down to your children will make everyone involved more successful in their future endeavors.

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