The Journey to Student as “Self-Teacher”
Reading time: 5 minutes
Why You Should Read this Article
Use this article to guide a constructive and interesting conversation with a different point of view about learning. Introduce the very powerful mindset that your child can become a self-learner, someone who knows how to teach themself. This can help motivate the desire to become more skillful at learning.
The journey to becoming an independent adult is not complete until you know how to teach yourself the things you will need to know to adapt to a rapidly changing world. To be successful, you need to know how to teach yourself. A wise goal is to develop the skills you need to become a “self-teacher.”
Independence and Learning
We all desire independence. But independence is not a state of being – it’s a developmental goal to be reached. You earn it through your good efforts.
What is the role of learning to independence? Learning enables you to become whatever you want to be. When you learn how to learn, you can create your future self, someone you are proud to be. To become a successful independent adult, you must be very capable at learning on your own, because life is about growing, changing, and adapting to new things and situations.
We all begin as students learning from those who have the knowledge and expertise that they share with us. As students, we depend on our teachers to help us learn. We need them to help us grow and mature. This continues through homeschooling on to college. We rely on our teachers to help us learn.
But what happens when one grows up? When college is behind us? Who will be there to teach us then? Because learning is a lifelong effort.
It can be very self-empowering to envision yourself as someone who can become a “self-teacher” – that person who is fully capable of learning things on your own. It’s an extraordinary vision to see yourself transform from the role of the student dependent on others for learning, to one who can teach yourself anything you want.
There is a tremendous amount of personal power in the self-mastery that comes from knowing you can grow your own brain. But this takes time. You have to start early to develop yourself as an expert learner.
Perhaps you haven’t given thought about learning this way, but it’s useful to think about the relationship of learning to competence to independence. There is even a term to describe someone who has the necessary skills to teach themselves.
Learn to be an autodidact (Auto- means “self” and “didact” comes from the Greek word for “teach“). This is a self–taught person. After college, lifelong learning is almost entirely through self-directed learning. To become one, you will need a complete set of skills to be able to do this.
This should be one of your goals as a homeschooling family. You work to learn things, but you also strive to acquire the skills that your children will need to teach themselves important things when they become adults.
“Student as self-teacher” becomes an important developmental goal, even if it may seem a little distant right now for the younger child. All too soon your child will be facing the challenge of college readiness. Start preparing for this day now – don’t wait until your homeschooling is ending.
Why does this matter? At the college level, most learning occurs outside the classroom through independent study and research. And after college, almost all learning that a person will do as an adult will be self-directed. Adults who don’t know to learn rapidly, and lack the ability to teach themselves, will find they are at a significant disadvantage both personally and career-wise. It’s that important.
To become a confident and strong independent learner, make acquiring better learning strategies a centerpiece and priority in your homeschooling efforts. Embrace your active role of helping your kids to use better and more evidence-based learning strategies for independent study. Coach and incorporate these better methods and habits into your homeschooling.
Observe the transition in the role of learner:
These are some useful points you might want to make in your conversations:
- At the college level, most learning occurs outside the classroom through independent study and research. To succeed there, you will have to know how to learn hard things on your own.
- After college, almost all learning that you will do will be self-taught. You will have to take responsibility for learning on your own.
- Learning how to learn is not something you are born with. It is a set of skills that you develop through practice and the use of powerful learning strategies.
- Adults who can’t learn rapidly on their own, who don’t know how to teach themselves, will find they are at a significant disadvantage both personally and career-a wise. The world will belong to the better learners.
- To become a truly independent adult, you have to know how to teach yourself. Because life is about growing, changing, and constantly adapting to new things and situations.
- If you are only a mediocre self-teacher, how can you expect to be an exceptional adult?
To grow confident and strong independent learners, make acquiring better learning strategies a centerpiece and priority in your homeschooling efforts. Embrace your active role as coach helping your kids use powerful evidence-based learning strategies for independent study. Coach and incorporate these better methods and habits into your homeschooling.
It’s never too early to start having conversations with your child about “learning how to learn!” Keep going with this course to learn how: Pa 10 – Improving Your Child’s Learning Power. In this course, we are going to explore this idea and many powerful more strategies, so your child can develop a learning capability which will enable adult intellectual independence and the valuable self-knowledge of being able to teach themselves. Incorporate this into your family values on learning.