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Independent Learning & Transcripts

Weekly Student Success Session 12/7/22

Today we focused on the topic of Independent Learning and how we build a transcript for our students using their projects.

Key Insights or Distinctions

  1. Importance of documenting your learning journey
  2. How developing a plan for your projects can help you now and in the future.
  3. How we develop your transcript

Session Notes

teen girl reading inspirational bookOne of our goals is to foster independent learning in our students. Successful independent learners ask the right questions and find real answers, solve problems, learn a skill, and more. It’s an integral part of the learner-centered learning journey. We are well into this journey with our students. Up to this point, we have covered a lot of information on mindset and tools for problem solving. During this process, we have allowed them some time to settle in and get comfortable. And, we have had some time to see how they each handle their projects and their respective learning journeys. Now is the time to get into some deeper conversations about independent learning and project planning. 

While it’s their journey and their projects, this is a great time for them to begin understand themselves–things like: what lights them up, what they are good at, what time(s) of day they are more productive, etc. It’s also a good time for them to learn how to set learning goals, how to document their journey, and why that is so important. We want to help them engage in their learning process and to figure out how to evaluate their success.

Readiness to learn: Today we started by sharing a readiness to learn assessment. All of us did the assessment, including Coach Craig and me, as we are also life long learners and like to know where we stand in our own lives. Students are required to honestly work through this short tool and upload it to their coaching fie here in Coach Accountable. This isn’t about judging, it’s about knowing where we are strong and what skills we need to learn and grow in.

Setting Learning Goals: As adults we have a better understanding of setting goals. For our students, this is the best time for them to learn these skills and to learn to communicate them! The take away assignment for today is the Project Planning Decision Guide. Students have the week to walk through this guide from their project perspective. i.e. developing and selling a board game; setting up a Youtube channel for game walkthroughs. Answering these questions will give them a solid starting point and grounding for their project.

Why this matters: When they graduate, these bright young folks will go out into the world, maybe to college, trade school, or looking for work. As they are starting out without a track record or history, their high school records become the document that carries the weight and proof of their capabilities. We have been pleased to note that many schools, even the Ivy League colleges, understand the importance and relevance of alternatively educated youth as well as non-traditional, narrative transcripts. We are hoping to help our students understand the importance of this documentation and how we develop it.

Documenting the learning process: When students learn to document their learning journey by thoughtfully answering the questions that they are asking, it helps them now and in the long run. They learn to ask the right questions, explore outcomes, strategize, find resources, research, write, communicate, and so much more!  The documentation process keeps them on track by providing a framework for them to follow. This framework keeps them moving towards a set goal. The framework and the documented outcomes are used to develop their narrative transcript. The better this is done, the more in depth the transcript, and the deeper the impact on their life as well as their future endeavors.

Applying this to Homeschooling

If you are a homeschooling parent looking for ways to:

  • help your child become an independent learner,
  • ditch the curriculum and pursue learner-centered education, or
  • have a better way to manage a narrative transcript,

check out the information provided here by the University of Waterloo’s Center for Teaching Excellence.

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