I believe that older teens MUST learn how to teach themselves. If they go to college, they will be expected to learn all the textbook material on their own. College lectures are most often supplemental to the textbook – not the same. If they don’t go to college, they will still have to teach themselves some computer skills, or online banking, or how to buy a car – whatever.
My kids taught themselves Advanced Math (pre-Calculus) and Calculus. They taught themselves physics. I know they knew the material because I gave them the tests. I didn’t know what the calculus symbols meant, but I knew that my kids answers matched the answers on the key! I could have taught them Biology and Chemistry (because I’m an RN and I know that stuff) but they actually taught themselves that as well. It just worked out better for us when they were teaching themselves, while I just checked up on them from time to time. Alex taught himself economics, and is now doing graduate level work in economic thought (we’ve been told by his professor.) He even taught himself psychology and business law, because he got fabulous grades on the college level CLEP exams in those subject.
Here’s my point: kids will teach themselves something when they are interested in it. It’s fine for kids to do that, and it works out great for kids that are working on an intensely academic, college-prep curriculum as well as for kids that are in a relaxed homeschool environment.
I have seen SO many notes about “getting it all done” that I just want to put in a plug for mom having prayer and quiet time. I found that when I was consistent with those things I could “get it all done” and when I wasn’t consistent with those things I got frustrated. Either I was expecting too much, or was frustrated too easily. When I spent time with God, then things went much more smoothly in our homeschooling.
How are you teaching your kids to learn?
I am now the Seattle Homeschool Examiner. You can read my homeschool articles here.