Juggling work and homeschooling sounded straightforward enough. For years we have heard how our American counterparts actually opt for that lifestyle, many of them running businesses or side hustles alongside this.
But somehow, when the way that homeschooling is to be administered is dictated by schools, topped off with reams of worksheets and obvious knowledge gaps us parents have to fill, it just doesn’t seem quite as easy.
But one way to ease some of the pressure, and help salvage some semblance of a good relationship with our children is to encourage them to work independently.
Did you know that school is actually supposed to teach children how to think for themselves and learn independently? The very best thing you can do for your child is to teach them to learn independently. We won’t be with them forever, for one thing. Plus, when you are working from home, helping out with school work is just not the same as spending the odd hour Googling some answers to help your child finish off a project or maths homework! So, it’s important that parents find a way to make children curious about finding answers to questions…themselves!
Here are some tips to get that ball in motion – at least for children who are at a good reading age!
Ask Your Child Questions Instead of Giving Them the Answers
If your child asks you a question that you know they can find some information about online, encourage them to research it by looking it up ina dictionary or on trusty Google. These are life skills that they will thank you for (later) in life!
You can also ask questions that can help your child to logically answer the question themselves.
I know it can be quicker to give the answer to you can all move on sometimes (well, most of the time!), but once you have shown your child how to complete a task, let them do it their way. Even if your ears are dragging you into the situation, and your eyes are wavering from your laptop screen because you can see and hear your umbilical cord drawing you to help; stay out of it and don’t micromanage!
Show, Don’t Just Tell!
If you want your child to read more, let them see you read more. Dare I say that if you want your child to be tidier, let Marie Kondo be your own role model.
This may sound a little odd, but remember when your now older child was a baby, and you would tell him or her whenever you were about to do a nappy change, or wipe breakfast off his or her face? Well, apply that well-crafted skill to the present day. Show how you solve problems by doing it ‘out loud’, so it seems like you are thinking out loud. Only you will know that it is a mummy trap (hopefully!).
Know Your Child’s Learning Style
I won’t get too technical – if you are a follower, you will know that I run a tuition business, Geek School Tutoring, so I am very passionate about children’s learning. Without getting too technical, we all have a preferred method of learning. Some of us are visual (do you end straight to YouTube or Skillshare when you want to learn how to do something?); some of us are auditory (hands up to the podcast and Audible junkies; some of us are kinaesthetic – we have to get our hands dirty. Once you know your child’s learning style, it will help you encourage their independent learning by leading them to the best resources for their learning.
There are many other ways to encourage a child’s independent learning, and like parenting in general, you have to try out some different techniques sometimes and see what works best.
Independent learners and lifelong learners tend to have better academic performance, increased confidence, boosted motivation, and get more opportunities due to mastering this skill early on in life. I’m sure you can attest to the fact that, in life, you must be willing to learn how to do things yourself and how important that skill is. Job descriptions don’t have phrases like ”self-starter or ‘assertive’ by accident!