When are kids old enough to gather information on family activities?

Erik's kids are 11 and 13. I'm aware that in school they already have assignments that require them to do research. I also know that kids have differing maturity levels and developmentally, some have better comprehension than others.

I believe in teaching kids at a young age to be responsible with age appropriate activities. When they spend time with us on alternate weekends and sometimes longer during the summer months, I want them to believe and feel empowered to look into/research the kinds of activities we can do as a family or activities they can do individually or with each other.

Erik's son (age 13) is in the back talking/mouthy stage. He also has Asbergers. I try to be patient with him, and some of his comments are very rude and inappropriate. I know he is just being honest, but it comes across as complaining and him feeling disappointed that we can't do what he wants because it's not in our budget. I especially want him to have the experience of researching an activity so he understands the costs and anything else that it entail so the activity will be successful from start to finish, even the preparation part.

Just wondering what you moms are doing to help your kids progress so they're learning at home just as much as when they're in the class room. More specifically, the moms with older kids or the moms who grew up having to do for themselves...what are some learning techniques you've used on your kids or how did you cultivate your research skills in your youth? How do you guide your kids so they are making the phone calls and gathering the information?

03
    07/10/14
    Comment deleted
      07/10/14
      8Theresa Gould
      I know my children like using the computer. If your step children are anything like mine, I think you can use their love of technology to do the research you want them to do. If they ask you to do a certain activity, tell them you want them to go online for XX amount of time (set the kitchen stove timer so they know you are watching and keeping track of time) and have them look up the activity. Ask them to find the hours of operation, costs for adults and children/teens, if there are any other hidden costs involved with extra activities they want to see - For example if they want to go to the museum to see a certain display, have them see if there is an extra charge for that display. Get them to find out parking fees, how much time it takes to get to the activity. I think you will find they will be quite eager to do what you want or else my children are odd balls! ;) Be sure to provide them with pen and paper and ask them to use their best handwriting so you and your husband can read it and discuss their findings together as a family. If you wanted to take it a step further, you could request they present their research to you, your husband and sibling at the next "family meeting" so you can figure out what activity is within the family budget. Make sure they know you are serious and tell them if they do not complete the "assignment or research" they forfeit their right to be a part of the decision making process because you won't know what they want to do or anything about it because they didn't do the research. Hope that gives you some ideas to work with. Good luck and hope your summer time with them is fun and rewarding at the same time!
      2
      07/10/14
      Both kids are electronic junkies right now. I'll have to see what they're skill level is like in terms of looking things up on the internet. I really like your ideas about setting kitchen stove timer on and the things for them to look up. This is such good practice for them for when they're ready to do presentations at school. We haven't had a family meeting in a long time and that's the perfect forum for this. I like that they forfeit their right to decision making because they didn't complete their task/assignment. Thanks for the wonderful information!
      1
        07/10/14
        Comment deleted
          07/10/14
          Comment deleted
          07/10/14
          Erik's son, bless his heart, is very upfront and brutally honest. At times I can appreciate it and other times it takes me a little bit longer to appreciate that side of him.

          We have 2 laptops so if we have them research what activities they are interested in having us do as a family, and we lay out the different factors they need to look up and put them in writing, I think they'll get a head start for sure and research will hopefully become a way of life. Before I was into research, I use to make big decisions on the fly and want the kids to have experiences considering x,y,z factors.
          2
            07/10/14
            Comment deleted
              07/10/14
              Comment deleted
                07/10/14
                Comment deleted
                About MaryJane
                Birth: March 25
                On Moms.com since: Apr 18, 2014
                Pregnant back to back. I have a baby girl and another on the way. I'm also a pseudo-step mom to 2 tweens.