One of the most important goals we have in our homeschool is to raise independent learners. I will not be there to hold their hands through everything their whole life. This is why my educational philosophy lies heavily in the “teach them how to think, not what to think” category.
We are in the throes of raising our kids. I don’t have packaged success stories for you, but what I do have is a game plan and some theories. That’s what I’m sharing today, how we are planning to raise independent learners.
4 Thoughts on Raising Independent Learners
Teaching vs. Doing Things For Them
Have you heard the term helicopter parent? This is the type of parent who is constantly hovering over their child to “keep them safe” or to “help”. The problem is, this kills a child’s self-confidence. The parent is effectively communicating, “I don’t think you can handle this” to their child.
Our goal is to teach them the things they need to know and then let them actually DO them. We aim to give them the tools, resources, and confidence to try and succeed or fail. We WANT them to learn the natural consequences to their actions, good and bad. Big and small.
This can be hard to walk out because my natural instinct is that I don’t want anything bad happening to my baby! But it is vitally important that they learn that they can try things and that we will be there when they fail and to celebrate with them when they succeed.
One way this worked out in our life was with piano lessons. In the beginning, I would remind them to practice a couple times a week. Then I dropped off my reminders and let them take ownership of that. One child wrote it down in her planner and did it (almost) daily.
Another did not and ended up “forgetting” to practice each week. This lead to a slowing of progress that rather frustrated that kid. When we had a discussion about this, the lightbulb clicked that it was his responsibility and he never complained about the slow lessons again. He also didn’t practice very often, but his progress returned when he took ownership of the situation.
Using Student Planners
This is a relatively new one for us. We started using a student planner for my oldest two students last year (4th & 5th grade). We started with the Ultimate Student Planner, but my oldest has moved to the Student Planner that matches my Well-Planned Day family planner this year.
The way we currently use our planners:
- I write down our lessons in my planner. I include all three students work for all subjects. I did this for the full semester this year. Not sure what I will do moving forward.
- Every Sunday night or Monday morning, my two oldest take their planners and then copy their week’s independent work into their planner.
- Through the week, they are to use their planner to complete their independent work before 3:00 p.m. each day. They are not allowed to use my planner each day.
- I check their planners periodically and make suggestions.
My goal is to eventually hand off subjects and have them plan out how they complete the lessons. For example, next semester I will probably give my oldest her science book, tell her what she has to cover in the semester and let her plan out how she completes it.
Encouraging God-Given Talents
My children will also have increasing input into what they learn about within the subjects. I want to allow the Holy Spirit to guide my children in the path that God has laid for them. Not dictate my own plans.
I hope to give them the tools, resources, and confidence to do this. God has given each one of them special talents and giftings for a purpose. I want to encourage them to follow His guidance to find that purpose.
Truthfully, saying I want to raise independent learners is kind of a lie. I do want them to not be dependent on me for everything, but what I ultimately want is for them to be fully dependent upon God. He is the only one that will be there for them every single moment of their lives.
I pray that they will know that to their core. That they will trust Him and seek His guidance in every thing they do. I pray that my life’s example can give them some glimmer of that. And then I rejoice and praise Him for His infinite and merciful grace.