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Monday, September 15, 2008

Independence

Did you know that homeschooled students perform better in college than their institutionally schooled counterparts? One reason is homeschooled students are used to being autonomous and independent in their learning; they are self educators. Our job as homeschool moms is to give our children progressively more autonomy and independence as they age.

How do we foster this independence? Well once our children have learned to read, they should be reading to learn. As they progress through elementary school, we should provide materials that teach directly to the student, requiring less from us as their teacher. We should also read aloud less and require our children to read to themselves for understanding, comprehension, and insight. Most students learn more when they read for themselves and explain what they learned in their own words than if they listen to another read.

Dr. Jay Wile tells us,

"
My motivation for becoming involved with the homeschooling movement was the fact that my best university students were the ones who had been homeschooled...If I could point to one thing that made my homeschooled students such good university students, it would be the fact that they were able to learn independently."

Throughout the years I’ve seen parents burdened by homeschooling because they have taken too much responsibility upon themselves. They don't teach their children to become self motivated and independent. Teaching our children to become independent learners requires us to pass the baton, giving our children a vision for the future and a sense of responsibility over their lives.

My children were told over and over that the choices they make about school and learning when they are young will influence their entire future. We emphasized they are completely and fully responsible and in charge of who they turn out to be, what they will do for a living, how they will live, where they will live, and what kind of life they will have. They knew that, even at ten years old, they were making choices that would have far reaching consequences or blessings. My children felt responsible for their education. I didn’t carry the entire burden; once they learned to read, I passed on most of the burden to them. Had they been in school, the burden would not have been on the teacher; it would have still been on them.

In real life, the self motivated person will always do better than the unmotivated, distracted fellow. In truth, our children are ultimately responsible for receiving their education. As they say, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. Our job is to help our children see this very important truth: that we will not always take care of them. One day, they must take care of themselves and others. It is especially important for our boys to know this truth, for they will have a family depending on them one day. Sadly, it is usually our boys who are the least likely to jump at the chance to do school work. Our job is not so much to educate them, as it is to provide the tools they need to educate themselves. It’s crucial to instill in them the wisdom that their future is in their own hands and they must take it seriously. The tools we provide them are also very important, and that is the last thing I want to encourage you to consider.

Many times, in fear of "not doing enough," we adopt curricula that actually make teaching harder and more burdensome for us and our children—unnecessarily burdensome. When choosing curriculum, consider how much time is going to be required of you, the teacher, and how appealing the material looks to the children. Remember, our children should be learning to self educate. Our children will benefit greatly in their future, whether college is a part of it or not, if they are empowered to take ownership over their learning, their knowledge, and their education.


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Right on. Excellent perspective and truth!

Jenn said...

Awesome! Thank you for the encouragement...you are so right!

Kela said...

Wonderful post. My thoughts exactly

Myra said...

I completely share your approach for independent learning, and have seen the great benefit of it in our 14 years of homeschooling. We discovered your elementary science books about 2 years ago, and have been loving science ever since!