You see your child studying new topics, solving problems, and processing information all on his own. You see him do this not only for academic-related work but also for extracurricular activities like learning a new sport or perfecting a dance routine. You also see him easily identify and correct mistakes when necessary. What your child is doing is what we, in Kumon, call self-learning.
Basically, self-learning is taking in information, processing it, and retaining it without the need for another individual to be teaching in order for the child to gain understanding. As a parent, you may have some qualms about self-learning especially since you are used to someone teaching your child from start to end.
To keep you at ease, here are five benefits that your child gains from becoming a self-learner.
- Memory retention. Studies show that a child who learns concepts on his own can better remember and retain this knowledge. This is because he can easily recall how he started learning the concept and how he eventually gained understanding. You can observe this when your child tries to re-trace his steps when correcting a mistake, or when he tries to check how he solved a problem. Also, this helps your child avoid making the same mistake again since he can easily recall what not to do.
- Responsibility and accountability. When a child learns something on his own, he gains a sense of ownership for what he has done and created. With this, he learns to become accountable for his actions and he accepts responsibility for whatever happens. Your child demonstrates this when he explains how he came up with his answer or how he designed his finished product. He can easily defend his answer, especially when questioned about it. This also gives your child a moment to shine when recognized for his good work and effort.
- Good work ethic. Learning how to do one thing on his own propels a child to do the succeeding tasks also on his own. He then develops the habit of completing tasks with the same work ethic. You can see this in your child’s daily study routine. He allots time for studying and rest, with him being conscious of his progress and deadlines. Your child also knows that when he needs help, he can always ask for assistance.
- Character development. When a child tackles unfamiliar topics on his own, he gains confidence when he gets it right. He develops the determination and motivation to take on challenges. You can observe this when your child starts studying advanced topics or difficult situations. He believes that he can solve it no matter the level of difficulty or challenge. And he does not easily give up even though he has to try again and again before he gets it right.
- Outside of comfort zone. Since he knows that he can readily learn topics, the child’s learning opportunities widen. He can opt to study a topic more deeply – go beyond what is usually tackled in school. He is also open to tackling as much as he can without putting himself under too much stress or pressure. You can see this when your child starts to develop an interest in subjects he used to find boring or scary.
Yes, self-learning is a big step that you and your child are taking. But always keep in mind that this is one big step closer to your child’s success and to the achievement of his biggest dream.