The middle school years (year/grade 6, 7 & 8) are the perfect time to encourage our pre-teens and young teens to become responsible for their own learning.
Having independent learners benefits the whole family.
It frees up your time for younger children, yourself, your partner and your work.
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free from outside control; not subject to another’s authority;
not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence
But how do we get our children to become independent learners?
Set a time each day when all your older children take time out to read a book.
It can be easier said than done – I know. Miss 14 doesn’t really like reading.
Having a selection of books available does help.
Miss 12 loves anything and everything about soccer – as long as it’s female soccer players, of course.
I have spent hours online searching Amazon, Booktopia and more in search of the perfect books for the girls. Mr 16 is easier. He has found what he wants to read about online.
Encouraging your younger children to take time out each day for reading is a good way to get them introduced to independent learning.
Creative writing exercises help develop imagination in all ages.
Pinterest is full of writing prompts – start here.
Encourage your children to spend time each week working on a creative story.
Younger children can spend time practising their letters, words, etc. on their own – giving you time to do other things.
Pre-teens and teens can use online programs for mathematics.
Most programs have a parent portal so you can see their progress each day/week.
Or you can purchase a program – like Maths Online.
Even printing off a series of free worksheets with instructions can help your children become independent. You could print off a week or a month’s worth and let them work through them at their own pace.
Art is the perfect subject for pre-teens and teens to do on their own. (They don’t make as much mess as younger children – hopefully!)
For those of us who aren’t ‘arty’ at all, there are a few options to help.
Craftsy teaches everything from sewing to cooking to gardening. They also have packs for your younger children – which can keep them out of mischief while you’re working on something else.
You can get a 7 day FREE trial on Craftsy Unlimited to see if it’s worth it for your homeschool.
Of course, with Crafsty and the Ultimate Photography Bundle, you can also learn a new skill.
I hope these programs give you a few ideas on how to implement independent learning into your homeschool.
The sooner you help your homeschooled child develop independent learning habits, the easier the later high school years will be for you.
Don’t forget that a lot of universities/colleges have free online courses that may be perfect for your teenage homeschooler as well. Don’t be restricted in your searching – universities/colleges all over the world offer online courses. These courses can help your teen get into the college of their dreams as well.
Whatever you decide, remember to make time for you.
Enjoy the Journey.
Author: Lara Galea
Lara is a freelance writer, blogger, photographer and homeschooler. When not helping others with their journey, she is either reading, binge-watching Netflix or creating havoc in the kitchen.