Acton Academy Mesilla Valley

HOW CAN I HELP MY CHILD BE AN INDEPENDENT LEARNER AT HOME?

Laura Sandefer

March 15, 2013

At Acton Academy, “independent learning” is the first level of lifelong learning. From 1st grade through 5th grade, our students gain the skills, knowledge, experience and character traits to earn the badge, “Independent Learner.” In middle school, they begin the path to becoming running partners. (Note the growth into interdependence from independence.)

An Acton parent recently asked if being an independent learner means shunning authority. Great question. To the contrary, an independent learner knows how to embrace what or who is worthy as an authentic authority in life. In addition, it is viewing oneself as trustworthy and capable.

Family life is rich with opportunities to support what we are doing at school. We parents, however, will have varying levels of tolerance for letting our children learn to do things on their own. What I am comfortable doing, you may not be. (What Jeff is willing to do, makes me need to sit down and take a few deep breaths.)

While having differences in how to encourage independence, we likely agree on why: hovering over our children does long-term damage to their confidence and well-being.

With that in mind, I want to share my list of ideas of ways to help your child become an independent learner at home. Some of the ideas are for the very young and others for ages 10 and up. This is offered to you simply as a catalyst for your own ideas. It is not a recipe.

Note: The key phrase to use often in this process with your child is: “I trust you.”

Our family list:

Please share your ideas. We need each other’s encouragement on this “letting go” experience.

Extra reading if you are interested:

http://www.micheleborba.com/blog/2010/07/16/michele-borba-could-you-be-a-helicopter-parent/

Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy; also her website: www.freerangekids.com

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