Our school starts back today after a three-week break. We have never taken three weeks off at Christmas before and now I can’t help but wonder why. We have had a restful break and I’m looking forward to the downhill side of our school year. Today I want to share about developing independent learners in your children.
Last year I shared five benefits of self-learning. Raising self-learners is very important, especially when our children head off to college or into the workforce. Young adults are going to be expected to know how to do things on their own without a lot of supervision. Not too long ago, I read on a job application about being self-motivated; this company expected their employees to be able to think and work on their own.
As I mentioned in the link above, it took several years for my son to get to the point where he could be given his assignments to be completed without me standing over him. Don’t expect to start these things on a Monday and have a self-learner at the end of the week. IT. WILL. TAKE. TIME.
5 Tips to Help Your Children Become Independent Learners
1.Start slowly – Practice problems in Math and Grammar was where I started with my son. After explaining things to him, he was allowed to work on his own. When we started Teaching Textbooks, he became totally independent in Math. Start with one subject and then add another until your child is ready to be more independent.
2. Hands off – When Jamie was starting to work more on his own, I was able to wash dishes, clean the bathroom, and even do a little laundry. When one of my tasks was completed I would simply ask if he had any questions. If he did not, I quickly left so he could continue working on his own. ** Be available when they really need help.
3.Help them plan and organize – Give your child a planner of their own. Whether it is something you create or purchase, teach them how to use it. When we started out, I used a weekly assignment sheet and folders for each subject. When my son was completed, he would check the box and place completed worksheets in the opposite pocket in the folder. Now my son just uses a spiral notebook and plans his week according to my planner sheets.
4. Help them manage their time – One major thing young people need to learn is how to manage their time. This is not something they can be dropped into; it has to be taught over time. Allowing them to learn there will be consequences to not meeting a deadline is okay. ( A lower grade or missing out on something fun are good motivators to help with time management.) Their college professors and employers will not stand over them and they will suffer.
5. Encourage curiosity- children have a natural curiosity about them. If they are interested in a certain subject, encourage them to study more about it. Depending on their age and maturity level, allow them to use the internet to research the subject. You can even plan a special trip to the library for research. Just remember while encouraging your child’s curiosity to emphasize time management.
Raising our children to be independent and productive adults is an important part of our job as mom.
Would you add anything else to helping your children become independent learners?