Today we are talking about Independent Learning and what that means. Independent learning is when a person can think, dictate and research on their own. Sometimes that is after a teacher or parent provides information or curriculum, and sometimes it means children find their interests to learn about.
There are a few traits that a child usually has or can be taught in order to succeed as an independent learner when you are homeschooling. A few of the personality traits to be successful as an independent learner are a curiosity, resilience, motivation, and time management skills, but these aren’t all of them. While your child can learn the traits, it’s a lot easier if your homeschool curriculum or you have a lifestyle of learning that caters to their interests.
Independent Learning While Homeschooling
Tips for Independent Learning with Sonlight
I am a Brand Ambassador for Sonlight. I am so excited to get the chance to share our love for this great homeschool company while sharing our homeschool journey and hopefully, tips that will help your family.
There are many positives as your child gets older into developing your child’s homeschool routine into more independent learning. For us we knew continuing with Sonlight for our older son was going to be a great fit because he loves History and he loves to read. In fact, this year was a huge change for us because our 2 middle boys have always done their homeschooling together on the same level. However the past year they’ve come into their own likes and wants as far as learning about new things.
A few of the positives for having independent learning is, independent learners tend to be more successful in the areas of problem-solving, ability to relate to others better, communicate effectively using more than one form of media and being more open-minded to creative solutions to problems that arise.
When you decide to allow your child more independent learning, you’re opening the doors for them to become well-rounded, intelligent, outgoing adults that have learned to think for themselves. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying this is the only way or the best way for your child. I am simply saying if your child wants to learn on their own let them. Explore the idea, because it can be so rewarding for you and your child.
Independent learning doesn’t leave a child without supervision. You will still have to be the parent and teacher, and your child may still come to ask questions, it’s just the dynamics change a bit. You will no longer have to feel like you are sitting with your child all of the time. Your child’s studies and research is more self-driven and enjoyable when they prefer being an independent learner.
You might be wondering how Sonlight could fall into any type of Independent learning considering you get a massive (truly incredible) Instructor’s Guide.
The way we handle the instructor’s guide this year for our independent homeschooler is easy.
First, each week I read over the weekly notes and questions. I make sure all of the books that are needed for the week are set out. We also have a designated bookshelf for each Sonlight level, so if for some reason I slack off, or he finishes a book he can just go to that shelf and grab the book he needs.
I stay on top of his learning and making sure he understands what he reads by:
Being available anytime he wants to talk about his books, what he’s learning, basically anything and everything. You might be thinking what about if younger kids interrupt, or you’re in the middle of folding laundry. Those are the times when you take a few seconds to quiet your other children down, put down what you are doing and give your child your undivided attention.
Taking a few minutes to listen to your child, or have a conversation about what they want goes a long way. It makes them feel good, and it gives you insight on what they are learning.
When it comes to all of the amazing information you can find in the Instructor’s Guide, I don’t go over it word for word with him, each week we go over some of the vocabulary and discussion questions verbally. I usually will read a quote from the guide and ask him what he thinks about it as well as get the map out and talk about it.
Section 3 of the Sonlight Instructor’s Guide is filled with fabulous resources. These resources can be used for you and your children to keep the connection in what is being read and worked on through the year. Don’t miss out on benefiting from this section.
In Sonlight Level 100 You can find things like:
Maps and Resources that go with the books
Patrick Henry’s Speech before the Virginia Assembly
Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address
The Emancipation Proclamation
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” Speech
Field Trip Planning Sheets
and so much more…
We use color coded tabs for each week of the instructor’s guide. One color for Bible, History, Geography, and Biographies. We use a different color tab for Literature and Language Arts.
I do not have him check off things as he goes or pay attention to what the guide says to do. We use the guide more as a GUIDE 😉 for our reading and learning this year.
As my son finishes up reading books and weeks in the guide, I move the tabs (so I can keep track of where we are). I do not have my son read certain chapters every week like the guide states. If he finishes a book in a day or it takes ten days, as long as his love for reading and learning continues we will continue to enjoy independent learning.
You are there to guide, monitor, and support your child as well as have open discussions about what they think and feel regarding the subject matter that they’re studying. Independent learning is a gift for you and your child, embrace it.
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