Making Independent Learners

In this day and age when children are accustomed to being spoon fed entertainment, knowledge, and even life… it’s hard to make independent learners. Yet, it is possible to establish a few routines in your homeschool day to turn a dependent crowd to independence. Since we are going back to school, and starting a fresh new year, let’s talk about it.

Yes, I know- I am the mom. But that means different things to different people. To some, being the mom means that you are catering to every miniscule need that your children have, answering every homeschool question they run across, and even teaching them each subject in school. Personally, I find that I am not Wonder Woman and just can’t keep up with those demands. Instead, I am attempting to get all of my children into a state of independent learning.  I say attempting, because it is a work in progress. My two oldest are just about there, while my two youngest are still pretty needy.  From homeschool language arts to mathematics and every subject in between – you can adapt it to be conducive to indepedent learning. I am teaching them- along with all of the other things they are learning- how to gain knowledge without my help. This involves a few simple guidelines.

  • I am trying to choose only curriculum that promotes self learning. By this, I don’t mean that I leave my children alone to take care of their own education, but instead I am instilling in them skills that ENABLE them to learn without aid.
  • We have a simple rule, If you have a question about something in your school material  – look it up. Find the answer in the book, in another book, or online. Knowledge is at your fingertips – simply look for it!
  • Facilitate abundant reading! Have great books available to your children at all times. Foster a love for reading by showing them the example of a good reader in yourself!

Teaching them to be independent learners will not just help them here and now… it will ENABLE their future!

A Love/Hate Relationship

Language arts and math are the core of the core subjects, and the two subjects that present the greatest challenges to most students. In that respect, language arts most often presents a love/hate relationship to most people. They either love it and the English language’s impossible grammar, or they hate it. Yet, I wonder – is there a way to make all learners enjoy language arts?

With the broad range of inifinte learning style possibilities, there is not too great a chance that we will ever find a cure all for the hatred of language arts, but in the meantime I think we can improve the general opinion. 

Language arts tends to be a “dry” subject.  The general study of spelling words, grammar, syntax, and parts of speech just dosen’t lend much excitement.  However, coupled with a great reading curriculum,  excitement can be drawn into the “drier” side of language arts.  Yet, there are still other ways to bring excitement into the “hated” side of language arts. 

When I teach Language Arts,  I definitely steer towards a more interesting approach to teaching this subject, don’t stick with a plain “text only” approach.  Mix it up – make it exciting – you will see a BIG difference in how children respond. We like to use as many language arts games as possible such as compound word games.  Make spelling interesting by using games to teach the words. I have mentioned Spelling City in previous posts, but it really does make a difference. Children’s outlook on spelling has changed across the country in public schools and home schools because this program uses games to practice and quiz the student. Don’t limit your creativity – if you can think of something to make it exciting – try it!  Children respond to someone who seems to enjoy what they are teaching – and they assimilate that excitement.  They see you excited about your subject matter, and they get excited… it’s contagious.