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Susan Calistri Boesger

Homeschooling Flexibility and Accountability


There comes a time in most homeschool parents’ lives that they begin to wonder, “Just how independent should I expect my child to be with regard to his own learning?”  The question may creep up slowly, or come on suddenly, but at some point we have to decide how much to let our children handle on their own.

We are at that point in our homeschool journey now.  My son is 10, entering those tween years where he is not quite a youngster, and not quite a teenager.  He wants to do his own thing and make his own learning choices, but his choices are all over the map: some good, more not so good.  So how much independence is too much?

Independence and responsibility require a gradual transition from parent-directed educating, to child-directed learning.  At younger ages, children need parents to direct their learning, and how much learning might take place in any particular day.  The children are given lessons to complete and once completed the parent reviews them for accuracy and learning.

As children mature, they need to be gradually given more control over their own learning.  This may mean providing lessons for the day which the child is requested to do within a certain period of time, with the child progressing to completing the day’s lessons at his or her own pace in any given day.  Later, as the child becomes more adept at managing their own time, a child can be given a weekly schedule to follow with the parent ensuring that the work is done each day; eventually, it will be possible to give the child all of his or her lessons for the week, and to allow the child the freedom to complete the lessons at their own pace, in their own way.

Sometimes, finding the right level of independence is a matter of trial and error. Children mature differently at the same ages, so the parent needs to monitor their own child’s maturity, to determine how to begin handing over the responsibility of learning to the child.

You can read Susan’s blog at http://www.susancalistri.com/ .

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