Friday, August 16

Student-Led Learning with Living Books

Join us for 5 Days of Upper Grades Homeschooling!
  • 8/12    Curriculum Reveal
  • 8/13    Middle & High School Electives
  • 8/14    Printing & Prepping
  • 8/15    Blending Learning Styles
  • 8/16    Student-Led Learning
Unlike the public school system, where a set curriculum covers specific topics for each grade, student-led learning is a more relaxed pace of homeschooling.  In this style, the student decides what he or she wants to learn, and is responsible for taking an active role in the learning process.  The teacher is there merely as a guiding force....and bunny trails pop up!

I've found this to be an incredible method of teaching, for both our special needs and gifted children, as they are more invested in the learning process and therefore more likely to retain the information.  They make connections as they chase down the 'bunny trails' that stem off their interests.

What's a bunny trail?  It's when one topic leads to another topic, which leads to another topic, until you're completely somewhere other than where you started....but the brain is filing away all of those connections, making the information much easier to process and retain.

Student-led learning is usually about answering the questions what and why.
  • What are they interested in learning?  The student's interest drives the classroom.  If airplanes are an interest, then write a paper comparing two types of airplanes.  Complete math problems about air speed.  Research a famous pilot.  In this way, student-led learning often looks a lot like unit studies.
  • Why is this important to learn?  This is a question I'm often asked by my kids.  Sometimes it's very easy to show how the concept has a real-world application.  Other times, I find myself asking whether it truly is important.  With student-led learning, they know why they're interested...and they're going to put that much more effort into the learning because of that.
Having the student lead the process can actually be harder for the teacher, who must actively find resources for guiding and ensure that the student makes progress and is meeting age-appropriate goals in areas such as reading and math.  

How will you know if student-led learning is right for your child?
  • Is he internally motivated?  Does he take the initiative to seek new information?
  • Does he make connections on his own?  Can he think abstractly, or is it more black and white thinking?
  • Is he a self-directed learner, or does he require that you keep him on track?
One of the reasons we started creating Novel Studies was because our children love to read....particularly history and science-based fiction.  The kids choose books based on their interests, and they become jumping-off points for further study about the topic.  This is a great example of student-led learning, and we invite you to use these FREE unit studies, too!

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