Having an independent learner who is self-motivated is an important aspect of homeschool education. There are a few different ways to foster independence in your child.
It could be set up in the work plan you create with your child (see my first blog post). Because you are working with your child to create the best possible work plan, you will preemptively put in place a way to help them drive their own independence. Continuing to tweak it as the weeks go on will allow your child to work towards independence.
You could also have a conversation with your child and create an agreement that they will work on a certain amount of work (that they determine) before taking short breaks. By allowing them to be involved in the decision in creating their schedule, they will have more ownership to keep on track with it.
Another thing you can do is to design your space to be inviting. Creating an area in which your child feels comfortable and is able to concentrate on the work is key. They can again be a part of this decision and actively participate in creating this space. Alexander Den Heijer stated, “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.” You can continue to reevaluate this space until you find a solution that allows your “flower” to bloom independently.
As I mentioned in the question and answer blog post, my son really likes to listen to music while he works. Providing him with the equipment to be able to do this in his work area helps him to be more independent. Another tool I created with my son was the wheel of choice. Determining the activities that he can do independently has helped him move through his day with ease, thus allowing me to do the work that I need to accomplish. There are two different types of wheels I created. The wheel with the red and blue on it represents both independent and dependent activities. These different activities are separated on the other two wheels (green for independent and red for dependent).
Constantly reevaluating the work plan and environment to best suit your needs will likely need to happen quite a bit before you figure out what works best for you and your family. Be patient with this process. You’ll get there. Don’t expect that it will happen immediately.
If you need any suggestions, have any questions, or are interested in having support on your homeschooling journey, please contact me. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maria Burke is an educator with 20 years of teaching experience. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education as well as a Bachelor's Degree in French from the University of Arizona. She obtained her Master's Degree in Curriculum Education from Lesley University and holds credentials through the American Montessori Society for ages 3-12. She currently homeschools her son and consults with other families who homeschool.