I posted recently that we were going to incorporate some new ideas into this year’s homeschool education. With six chidren, it is always a struggle to stay on top of everything. Yet, in most every area of my life – I am on a constant search for methods, practices, gadgets, apps, etc. that will make my life easier or at least easier to manage. It is with this goal in mind that I have tried to “tweak” our schedule this year to make my life easier – my children’s education fuller – and alleviate the stress inherent in homeschooling and mothering six.
My goal as I stated before was not just to make life stress free, but to give my children a better education overall. After researching and studying ways that I might accomplish this, I am convinced that I can do this by training them to be “self -learners.” A self learner will be able to progress through a curriculum, read “living” books, and discover knowledge on their own. Here are a few tips that I am putting into practice this year.
1) Introduce your children to the love of reading. Encourage them to read at every possible chance. Be an example to them by living this yourself. Reading is the gateway to knowledge.
2) Find homeschool curriculum that leads your children to self learning. We like Time4Learning as a supplemental curriculum to our “textbook” curriculum. T4L is definitely a resource that encourages self learning. A curriculum that requires a person to impart to the child the knowledge contained in it – is definitely not conducive to self learning. During the very young years this is more of a necessity. However, as the child gets older – and we train them to discover knowledge for themselves – they will become independent in this area.
3)Study by immersion. Allow your child to study one subject or book until they completely tire of it. This can be several days to several weeks. They can do part of the book or complete it. I am particularly hopeful about this at our house. I believe that having less “starts” and “stops” may actually help my children stay on task.
4) Teach them the value of a “job well done.” This is something that my father taught me, and his father taught him. Doing something right just because it is the right thing to do – will be a lesson that will serve our children the rest of their lives. If they don’t do the job well the first time, make them do it over. If that doesn’t correct the issue, make them do it over several times during the week. This applies not only to schoolwork, but also to household chores.
5) If a child comes to me asking me for an answer to a question in his homeschool studies, I invariably respond with..”Look it up.” or “Read the section over, I am sure the answer will pop out to you.” Encourage your children to find answers on their own. They can re-read their books, look it up in an encyclopedia, or even google it. Being persistent in finding the answer will also be a lesson learned for the rest of their lives.
Though I believe that these principles will serve our family well in the years to come, other homes may have different perspectives. If you have some ideas that have worked with your family in making your children more independent learners, please start a dialogue by commenting below!