As homeschool parents, our plan is NOT to teach something. Our goal is teaching students to learn. I could have taught my kids “at grade level” and they might not have learned a thing. Instead, I offered them a curriculum at their ability level and they had to learn something they didn’t already know.
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 by themselves. College lectures are most often supplemental to the textbook – not the same. If they decide not to go to college, they still need to teach themselves life skill such as computer skills, how to do online banking, and how to buy a car.
My kids taught themselves Advanced Math (pre-Calculus) and Calculus class. They taught themselves physics. I know they understood the material due to the fact I gave them the tests. I didn’t know what the calculus symbols meant, however 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 understand that stuff) but they actually taught themselves in those subjects as well. It just worked out better for us when they were teaching themselves, while I simply checked up on them now and again. Alex taught himself economics, and went on to perform graduate level work in economic thought (we were told by his professor). He even taught himself psychology and business law, since he got fabulous grades on the college level CLEP exams in those subjects.
Here’s my point: kids will teach themselves something when they are interested in it. It’s OK for kids to do that. It works out great with regard to kids that are working on an intensely academic, college-prep curriculum as well as for kids that are in a laid back homeschool environment.
How are you teaching students to learn in your homeschool? What does your child teach themselves in your homeschool? Let me know in the comments!
Please note: This post was originally published in September 2011 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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