When children become independent learners, they help themselves navigate through their studies. Thus, they teach themselves skills they will actually use later in the workforce and learn how to be an independent adult. As a parent, you may wish to cast a magic spell that gives your child the ability to learn independently. It makes your life easier, it improves their own educational experience, and it benefits them in the long run. However, parents can only encourage independence in school. Check out these tips for encouraging your children to take ownership of their education.
1. Wait for Your Child to Ask for Help
You may feel the need to hover over your child, ensuring all their homework gets finished on time. You may even want to ensure they get all the right answers on their homework. This type of parenting lets your child know that you are ultimately in control of their education. To switch that ownership over to your child, allow them to struggle with an assignment first. If they ask for help, then you can step in and help.
2. Ask Your Children What Their Study Plan Is
When you ask them this, they might have to quickly think of a plan! That’s good. Figuring out their own plans to get their homework finished on time is part of becoming more independent. Your study plan might be more effective than theirs, but that’s okay. Part of the objective is to let them feel more in control of how they are learning.
3. Allow Them to Fail to Help Them Take Ownership of Their Education
Failure hurts, but it is necessary for independent growth. Let your children know that it is better to try and fail than to not try at all. When failure happens, encourage them to pick up the pieces and try again. It’s not a reason to quit but helps them take ownership of their education.
4. Encourage Them With Positive Reinforcement
As your children learn to be independent learners, they will need plenty of positivity in their life. Celebrate their achievements, point out their strengths, and reward them for getting a project completed by themselves, even if they didn’t win an award or a high grade at school.
5. Give Them Freedom to Do Homework in Their Own Way
One surefire way to stifle their interest in a subject is to dictate how they are supposed to study it. As we encourage independent study in the classroom, parents can also encourage independent study at home. Yes, they should accomplish their school assignments, but that doesn’t mean they have to always do their homework the minute they step into the house. Allow them to set their own homework schedule, and let them choose a wacky place to do their homework. A fresh setting can spark true motivation!
6. Tell Them They Should Discuss Certain Problems With Their Teacher to Take Ownership of Their Education
It’s easy for children to get in the habit of asking for your help, even when they don’t really need it. Instead of always talking them through the right answers, encourage your child to ask the teacher for help at school. A self-motivated learner should be able to ask for help from multiple people, not just Dad and Mom.
7. Be Their Supporter and Guide, But Not Their Manager
Instead of micro-managing your child’s education, take a step back and evaluate your own role as your child’s parent. If your goal is to train your child to be an independent adult, you need to allow independence to happen. Become your child’s best supporter and your child’s guide through life. As your child takes independent steps in learning, you can be proud of each moment, even the less-than-perfect ones.
Help Your Children Take Ownership of Their Education
If you would like to know more about the ways The Tenney School encourages independent learning, please contact us. We believe independent learning will benefit children beyond the walls of our school.