Sunday, March 22, 2009

Homeschooling Methods

Self Directed Learning: Teaching Your Children to Teach Themselves

Though self-directed learning has been used primarily in adult education, researchers and educators are discovering the benefits of this teaching method for children. Parents who homeschool often subconsciously employ self-directed learning in their focus on cultivating independence and responsibility in homeschooled children. Self-directed learning is a powerful tool for homeschooling parents and can assist in developing a learning style that will serve children in every aspect of their lives, from the homeschool environment to the adult business world.

What is self-directed learning, and why should parents of homeschoolers use this method? The basic structure of self-directed learning is one of enabling: the teacher, in this case the homeschooling parent, rather than dictating knowledge, instills in the student the ability to learn things for themselves. Self-directed learning focuses on empowering homeschooled students to formulate intelligent questions and seek out the answers themselves, thereby gradually shifting control of the learning process from teacher to student. A self-directed learner is enthusiastic and responsible for his or her own education. This shifts the role of homeschooling parents from instructor to guide as children are led to discover their own educational path.

There are many benefits to self-directed learning, particularly for parents who homeschool. By utilizing this method of teaching, homeschooled students naturally develop the skills and attitudes that make homeschooling a desirable education alternative. Homeschooled students who are taught to be self-directed learners are persistent, motivated, self-disciplined, confident, independent and goal-oriented. They desire change, enjoy learning, and view problems as challenges rather than setbacks. Homeschool programs which use self-directed learning methods help children to become curious and willing to try new things. Additionally, homeschooled children who develop the skill of self-directed learning are able to carry the ability with them, becoming not only more effective lifelong learners, but better social beings.

Self-directed learning and homeschooling go hand-in-hand. Homeschool curriculum is often based on hands-on learning experiences and interactive activities, which allows a self-directed learning style to develop naturally. Parents who homeschool will find it beneficial to introduce self-directed learning early in the educational stages, so that homeschooled children will make a habit of seeking out knowledge and education themselves. Self-directed learning fosters independence, critical thought, and decision-making skills that are crucial to the homeschool environment.


Online Learning: CD-ROM Based Lessons for the Home Schooled Student

Internet access is not the only tool available for the home schooled student. In fact, although the Internet is indeed an invaluable tool for the home schooled student to utilize, there are a number of educational tools that can supplement the use of the Internet: CD-Rom based lessons is one such tool. CD-Rom based lessons give the home schooled student immediate access to engaging and interactive educational lessons, lessons that require no online access whatsoever.

Complete texts are sold on CD-Rom so home schooled students can read their texts on their home computer, laptop and the like. Yet, what is so amazing about the CD-Rom texts is that they make the book come to life on the computer screen; the home schooled student will find this a fun and unique way to learn and you may find that your home schooled child may want more and more CD-Rom texts.

CD-Rom texts can include images, diagrams, interactive pages and pages with audio and video. The home schooled student can take quizzes provided after each lesson and receive an immediate assessment on how well they are doing with the material they are studying. Plus, the use of a CD-Rom text makes learning easier for the home schooled student. Essentially, because CD-Rom texts and lessons incorporate all styles of learning on one CD, the student will be able to grasp the material better.

Visual learners, auditory learners, and students that require hands-on activities to learn will truly benefit from CD-ROM texts and lessons. CD-ROM texts and lessons are sold separately, but they sometimes accompany various texts as a supplement to the text a home schooled student uses. Such supplements include interactive glossaries with audio sound for pronunciation, quizzes, chapter summaries and the like. Moreover, some CD-ROM lessons include videoed lectures for the home schooled student to view and master.

What is particularly fantastic about CD-ROM lessons is that a home schooled student can view them and review them. The fact that all lessons will be in their hands, and are as easy to access as having the home schooled student insert the CD into a computer, makes studying for big tests that much easier. In the end, CD-ROM lessons never really lose their value as the home schooled can turn to them repeatedly as a resource for other projects they work on in the home school environment.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mimi Rothschild is a homeschooling parent, author, children's rights advocate, and Founder and C.E.O. of Learning by Grace, Inc. She and her husband of almost 3 decades reside with their 8 children in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Rothschild co-founded Learning By Grace, Inc. because "our current system of education has broken its promise..." Learning By Grace, Inc. delivers Internet-based multimedia education to PreK-12 children in the United States and throughout the world.

Rothschild has authored a number of books about education published by McGraw Hill and others. Her Home Education News Blog contains feature stories on alternatives in education.

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