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7 Techniques to Cultivate Successful Learners

kids learning metamorphosis

Do you want to increase your student’s ability to become a successful learner who is filled with confidence and discernment; a child who can apply biblically-based critical thinking skills through future situations and experiences? Exercise these 7 techniques to cultivate successful learners who seek to serve God and others in ever-expanding ways.

1) Steward opportunities to explore.


All of my children have lit up with wonder and excitement as they discovered the moon for the first time. Each time my children showed me this exciting new discovery, I would marvel at the sparkle in their eyes and the thrilled expression on their faces. The world of discovery is magical, isn’t it?

As a child discovers new interests, he lights up with excitement; much like a toddler discovering the moon for the first time.

These 'aha' moments inspire more creativity and imagination. This is when children develop a sense motivation and innovation and start pursuing new goals. As your child delves deeper into these new interests, he will develop new perspectives, and a better understanding of God's world.

Exploration should never stop! In fact, you should encourage exploration as you teach your child at home. Help your child learn to research and explore topics or small facets of lessons that pique his interest. When the opportunity arises, (whether during class, during a meal, or at bedtime), ask your child if there was an element of information that he would be interested in learning more about. Make a commitment to help him research the topic on the internet, watch a related documentary, or visit the library and check out a book. Another way to delve deeper into a facet of a lesson your child finds interesting is to visit a museum, business, or national park.

As your child advances in his studies, you can expand his knowledge and increase his resourcefulness through more extensive exploration techniques:

Assign a research paper: A research paper requires your student to create an introduction that summarizes his main objective (or main point). It also helps him learn how to better research and review literature, analyze and interpret data, organize his findings, and develop a conclusion.

Assign a persuasive essay: A persuasive essay requires your student to form an opinion, plan his argument, find supportive and contradictory information, and logically defend his position. This will increase your child’s assertiveness and reasoning skills.

2) Help your child learn from mistakes.

Have you ever tried something new that just didn't work out? Sometimes we are filled with disappointment or sadness when this happens, but we need to look at these setbacks differently. After all, achievements are made up of all the experiences you had and everything you have learned from them.

Have a discussion with your child about an experience you had that didn’t quite work out. Share what you learned from that experience. Teach your child to look at his past experiences. Have him pinpoint what didn’t work and what he could learn from it.

When you are teaching your child, it is important to engage in discussion and review his assignments. Reassure your child that incorrect answers are not bad. In fact, I can guarantee your child will better remember what he learns from hardships and wrong answers than what comes easy. Correct data entry—especially if the data is simply memorized facts that are quickly forgotten—doesn't necessarily lead to deep, memorable learning experiences.

Lessons learned from mistakes become building blocks that lead to future success!

3) Help your child learn from experience.

  • Encourage him to take risks.

  • Help him accept that the experience or solution might not work.

  • Have him assess how the experience or solution is working.

  • Encourage him to make adjustments.

  • Help him review the outcome.

  • Help him manage emotions.

  • Encourage him to try again, applying what he learned.

Provide constructive criticism throughout this learning process, helping your child see ways in which he can improve. Help him reflect, learn, revise, and try again. And always reassure your child that you believe he can accomplish the task. This will encourage your child to persevere.

4) Help your child apply what he learned to real life scenarios.

Real life applications challenge students to apply the skills they have learned to new situations. When your child applies what he has learned to a real-life situation, he will solidify his understanding and better retain information. Help your child apply what he has learned to accomplish a project. Skills your child has developed can also be solidified and sharpened by playing games. As he applies his skills, he will be challenged to come up with innovative and creative solutions.

Role playing also challenges kids to think creatively. Role play scenarios that incorporate skills your child has learned in math, writing and grammar, and history. Make up a skit and act out scenarios to practice money exchange or to better understand a historic event.

Math isn’t just about learning facts. Qualities that are nurtured by mathematics include logic and reasoning skills, abstract thinking, perseverance, problem-solving skills, and more clear communication skills. As your child works with new concepts, he is also learning how to apply the processes and applications previously learned to develop solutions. For young students, incorporate hands-on items in math like colored cubes, dominoes, and dice. Make up real life story problems and play games like Sudoku and Yahtzee. For older students, incorporate charts or graphs. Challenge them with complex problems used for figuring out the cost of borrowing money, managing business, and creating workable architecture. Assign your teenager some real-life problems. Have him figure out distance, time, and cost for upcoming travel plans. You can even have your teenager help you file your taxes.

Children sharpen observation and troubleshooting skills as they analyze our world through laboratory investigations. It's important to conduct experiments in your homeschool. Since cooking also sharpens these skills, have your child plan and cook meals.

Your child learns spelling, grammatical rules, and organizational writing skills during their lessons, but they apply those skills as they write research papers, short stories, and other written work. As they apply their accumulated skills, they will sharpen their ability to communicate more clearly. Over time your child will instinctively use his writing and grammar skills through all forms of communication. Writing and grammar skills will prepare your child for college entrance exams and future jobs. What's more is that your child will increase his ability to share his gained knowledge with future generations. It also allows him to share the Gospel in ever-expanding and impactful ways.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

A good curriculum will not only encourage your child to write and speak with clarity, but also encourage him to align his words and heart with God as he communicates with others.

boy mowing lawn

5) Teach your children to carry out responsibilities.

Responsibilities are more about what you learn than what you accomplish. Like all of us, children need to feel like they matter to the world and their lives make a positive contribution. When kids are trained to pitch in at home, they become more aware of the needs around them and are more likely to offer help.

Responsibilities cultivate:

  • Teamwork

  • Reliability

  • Accountability

  • A willingness to help others

  • A sense of fulfillment in contributing to their family, their community, and their world

As your children grow, they can graduate to managing their responsibilities on their own, leading to improvement of life skills such as:

  • Planning

  • Prioritizing

  • Time management

  • Entrepreneurship

If you can provide your child an opportunity to collaborate with others in a group, (whether at your home or within your community), his ability to work with a team will strengthen.

Teach your child to recognize the strengths of members within his group and identify how to effectively leverage their skills. Teach him how he can adjust his own methods to work more efficiently with the various skillsets, personalities, and ideas of team members. Teach him to listen, share ideas, compromise, and encourage others to contribute. All these skills will help him successfully manage his household and professional aspirations.

6) Help your children reflect on what they have learned.

Have you ever lost sight of your goals or reasons for working on a task? When this happens, you are more likely to lose focus and interest. You may set the task aside or give up altogether. Like us, children also need to be reminded occasionally of their goals and reasons for completing a task.

Help your child see that a little progress each day adds up to a lot of progress over time. As your child learns new information, he can connect it with the other facets of information he has learned to achieve greater understanding. As you increase your child’s awareness of what he has learned and how he can apply it, he will realize the significance of what he has learned and begin to think about ways he can apply what he has learned to better the world around him. He will exhibit a positive attitude toward learning, and you will retain his interest and inspire his desire to learn more.

Share your thoughts and encourage debate.

  • Challenge your child to defend his viewpoints.

  • Have your child challenge your viewpoints.

  • Create an atmosphere of openness and discussion.

Have your child keep a reflective journal that answers three questions.

  • What did you learn?

  • How has this impacted your understanding?

  • How will this impact future decisions?

Have your child communicate what he has learned.

  • Have him perform a demonstration.

  • Have him present his written work orally.

  • Have him engage in role play.

There is a lot of intellectual work that goes into this engaging yet conversational method of learning, but it is well worth the effort. The act of reflection will sharpen your child’s communication skills and inspire him to identify and work toward a knowledge-oriented goal, a skill-oriented goal, a service-oriented goal, and eventually a career-oriented goal which encompasses the three previous goals.

A critically reflective person is better able to communicate his beliefs and the rationale behind it.

7) Cultivate your child's relationship with God

It is important to incorporate Bible study throughout this process so your child will become ever more confident in his decisions as he compares his everyday situations with God’s word. With a strong foundation of values and beliefs, your child will be known as a trustworthy, responsible individual who is filled with integrity.

Homeschooling yields plenty of opportunities to disciple your child, encourage critical thinking, and help him understand increasingly complex concepts. Trust that God will orchestrate each moment you have to equip your child to serve others throughout his personal and professional life.

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10, ESV)

In Conclusion

If you apply these 7 techniques as you raise and educate your children at home, you will enjoy watching your children become all that God has created them to be. Your children will be equipped to serve well as they use their gifts and passions to compassionately serve God and others in ever-expanding ways.

-Yvonne Strachan

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