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Self-Directed Learning is Not What it Appears to be to Outsiders

By: Serena Crawford

Self-directed learning is a point of contention among many parents and teachers. Those who allow their children to take this route are often criticized that their child is not getting the proper education but to someone on the outside it does not look like they are doing anything at all but sitting around all day doing whatever they want to do. However home-school mother and blogger Penelope Trunk states that what you may see on the outside is very different from what is actually happening.

When you allow your child to go through self-directed learning you are allowing them to learn what they want, when they want, and how they want. It is very different from the models that we are so used to with public schooling and that is kind of the point. A child is not meant to sit at a desk all day and listen to a teacher lecture. There are many kids out there who are not listening to what the teacher is saying because it doesn’t interest them. Unfortunately they are forced to learn about things they may not care about and end up getting bad grades as a result. When children get to choose what they learn they are more apt to pick up special skills and knowledge in a certain area because they dive deep into research and activities that deal with that subject of their interest.

Every family is different when it comes to self-directed learning. Some parents may let their child self-direct within the bounds of a certain lesson plan or curriculum that they have developed. Other parents let their children explore and learn on their own for the day. It all depends on the child as well. Some children would be content to sit around all day and play video games. They might need a little more help with self-directed learning. There are other children who are curious by nature and will take up interests in certain subjects until they have exhausted their questions. Parents are a big factor here as well. Your children need to be able to come to you if they have questions or if they are having trouble understanding. This is not about placing a kid in a room all day and just letting them play. This is about helping them get the best education that they can in the way that suits them the best.

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