If you are homeschooling your children, you probably have realized that sitting next to them and directing every step of their learning is not feasible in the long run. To be successful and self-motivated, kids need to learn to make informed choices and take responsibility for their learning activities.
That means parents need to equip them with the necessary skills to pursue their studies independently. Read this article and see how you can foster independent learners with these six easy tips and tricks.
Table of Contents
#1 Simplify their studying
Homeschooling is about educational freedom, so why not choose a curriculum based on video lessons, practice questions, and study guides delivered by exceptional online tutors. This type of learning will simplify the educational material for your child, thus helping them to be independent of you and training them to use technology to pursue deeper learning. In addition, keep in mind that this way, your children will have a knowledgeable instructor who is passionate about what they are teaching, which will make them excited about the subject they are learning.
#2 Use time-blocking techniques for focus
Homeschooling an easily distracted child can be frustrating, especially if you are trying to encourage independent learning. So, to help your child focus and stay motivated, use the Pomodoro technique to sharpen their focusing skills and become more productive. All you have to do is select one task and tell your child to devote their sole attention to that task for 25-minutes. After the 25-minutes is up, check whether they have completed it and then give them a five-minute break.
Keep in mind that your child may struggle if they are doing the task alone at the beginning. To help them out, complete the same assignment they are doing right alongside them and encourage them that they will be able to do it by themselves tomorrow (or several days later).
#3 Do the challenging subjects first
This one is something you have heard before. Still, it is essential and a gamechanger in increasing motivation during homeschooling – you need to teach your child to tackle the challenging subjects/lessons as soon as their day starts. And the ratio behind it is pretty simple- if your kid gets the subjects or lessons they least like out of the way first thing when they start learning, the rest of their day will go much more smoothly (for both of you), plus it will drastically increase their motivation and self-esteem. Not to mention, they will not be sitting around dreading that one thing and dragging their feet.
#4 Develop a written accountability system
Kids need a plan and an organizational system to keep them on track. So, sit together and write down what is expected of them each day. You can use any checklist format or schedule you find and like online. However, keep in mind that plans are, after all, personal, so make sure you adapt any layout you download according to your child’s schedule.
Use this organizational system beyond their learning tasks. For example, add their sports activities or hobby hours to it. It will help them (and you) have a full overview of their days and weeks. Also, use this system to plan how much your child needs to get done that week and make sure they are making good progress.
#5 Don’t be a designated rescuer
If your child is young and does not understand a math problem, going through the lesson and guiding them makes perfect sense. However, once they are capable of figuring out their own way through the material, instead of always coming to their rescue when they face an obstacle, start encouraging them to face it by themselves as they get older. For example, if your child is constantly calling you, even with the slightest difficulty, start replying, “If you can not figure out the problem, you need to keep studying.”
This strategy (that can go beyond studying) pushes them back into the lesson to re-read it or find additional sources (like books or online tutorials) to help them understand the concept differently. Only help when you are sure they have tried everything and exhausted their resources.
#6 Take it step-by-step
Independent learning does not happen overnight, and you need to be gentle with your child. That being said, begin with subjects your kid really enjoys and feels confident about. Then, start by sitting with them as they complete their assignments. Your presence will help them focus and keep them on the task.
After several weeks or months (depending on the child), you will get the feel of whether they can stay focused on the assignment and motivated to get done the planned curricula for the day. If you feel you can trust them, move somewhere else while they work and check in on them periodically until you are sure they can stay on the task.
If you want to train your kids to be lifelong learners, you do not just want to assign them tasks and expect them to be excited about them. Instead, you must inspire them to love learning. Importantly, you need to understand that these skills take time to develop, and every child has their own pace of developing this cluster of character traits and academic skills. All they need is your help and patience.