How to Develop Independent Learners

As a Charlotte Mason homeschooling mother, my main goal was to develop independent learners, so they would prove to be self-learners for life.  Now that I have two homeschool graduates that have used this method even through high school, I know that truly works and something that I would encourage all homeschooling mothers to implement immediately.

How to Develop Independent Learners

Plan in Advance

I also start with a year syllabus and then break it down into terms or quarters.  This syllabus was a requirement to completing the grade that they were currently going into.  I included every resource, not assignments, on this syllabus for every subject.

Once I had the syllabus completed, I began to work on the assignments for each individual subject. I needed to decide how quickly something needed to be done and how many times a week it needed to be worked on. This became their assignments and check off list.

Change How You Use a Teacher's Planner

I have tried this a few times to use a Teachers's Planner the way it is intented, but it goes against everything to developing an independent learner.  What I found was that a Teacher's planner is better used as a way to remind me of when to get books from the library, weekly evaluations, checking on process for troubled areas and when I need to have something completed that the children needed for independent work.

Create a Grade Notebook

When I switched, so many years ago, from a Teacher's planner, I created a grade notebook for each child. They became responsible for the planner, not me.  In this grade notebook, I would put their syllabus, their assignments for each subject that included a check box, so it doubled as a to-do list for them and a place for me to make notes to them when I evaluated their work.

Independent Work Daily

Even for a 5 year old, independent work is important. We often start with two minutes of work, while I put away dishes or work on laundry.  As the child grows with attentiveness to work and following instructions, you can add more independent work, like math, copywork, independent reading, map work and hands-on learning.

By the time my children were in middle school, we usually have about 30 minutes of dependent work daily and the rest is independent work. Then by high school, they are nearly 100% independent, with the exception of daily accountability (so important at all ages, but especially in high school), weekly evaluations and necessary depend work when they weren't able to figure something out on their own.

The benefits to independent works is quickly seen when you have multiple ages in your home and the rewards are evident in your children becoming self-learners to the things that interest them most.  The reason is easily this… ‘they have learned how to learn on their own'.