Want to raise successful kids? Dennis Dinoia shows you (and me) how to create independently responsible learners in his new book, TEACH!
I have a little secret that most of my IRL homeschool friends don’t know. (And since most of them don’t even know about my blog, I suspect my secret is safe with you!) Before I became a stay-at-home mom, I was a high school math teacher. Yep, I got my Bachelors degree in Mathematics and my Masters degree in Education.
But, I don’t want people to know this. Why? Because I don’t want to teach math in the classroom again – not in any classroom! No, the students were not the problem. In fact, some of the students that fellow teachers warned me about became some of my favorites!
Was leaving my baby girl with a sitter hard? You bet – I cried my way to work most mornings. But, my kids are all teens now and I still don’t want to return to the classroom – not even as a math teacher at our local homeschool co-op. Hence, my secret!
But, why? Why get all those degrees and not continue using them by teaching in the classroom?
I received this product free of charge for review purposes and was compensated for my time. All opinions expressed in this post are my own and I was not required to post a positive review of the product.
TEACH: Creating Independently Responsible Learners
Dennis Dinoia (fondly known as Mr. D) expressed my frustration in the very first chapter of his new book, TEACH. He described his weekends as a first-year math teacher and I nodded in agreement with each paragraph! Because the same thing happened to me.
But, it wasn’t just weekends. I spent every single night grading papers and lesson planning for the next day. It was never-ending and I was exhausted all the time. Not to mention I still had a husband and a baby to take care of at home.
I knew there had to be a better way, but I had no clue what it was! So, when I read that Mr. D decided to stop grading homework, my jaw dropped. I kept reading and learned how this new approach to teaching and learning not only freed up his weekends, but it actually worked!
His students began to take ownership of their learning and the results were shockingly impressive! This accidental discovery led to what Dennis refers to as “the independently responsible learner.”
What is an independently responsible learner?
Being an independently responsible learner means you are “free, without outside control to do things on your own and trusted to do it the way it was meant to be done.”
Basically, no one tells you what to do, when to do it, or how to do it – but you do what needs to be done and you willingly ask for support whenever you need it.
So, instead of the parent or teacher dispensing all the information and solely determining what, how, and when the student does things, it becomes more of a partnership. In fact, the student becomes the teacher and the parent/teacher becomes more like a coach.
My Thoughts on TEACH by Dennis Dinoia:
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Yes, shared experiences hooked me in the beginning, but each chapter provided more insightful information for a homeschool parent desiring to also raise independently responsible learners.
Dennis not only provided concrete examples of how to do this, but he also addressed the importance of students presenting what they’ve learned, how to approach testing, the value of students checking their own work, incorporating learning styles, creating masterminds, and goal-setting.
While I particularly gravitated to the explanation of why it’s so highly effective for students to correct their own work (for selfish reasons – yes, it could have freed up my evenings and weekends as a young classroom teacher), it is crystal clear how valuable this is for my own children now, as a homeschool parent!
For years and years I’ve said that I did not want to return to the classroom to teach math again. But, who knows – Mr. D’s accidental discovery may be the key to me being willing to give it another shot. Maybe it’s time to reveal my secret. I hear that math teachers are in high demand, especially at homeschool co-ops!
Everyone Needs to Know
It’s not enough to just learn something, we need to know it! Becoming an independently responsible learner allows us to move from learning something to knowing it. “Once you know something, it becomes part of who are you.”
While Mr. D’s specialty is math, the lessons taught throughout his book are applicable to everyone, in all academic areas. In fact, raising independently responsible learners extends far beyond the academic arena.
And, in my opinion, we can all benefit from learning (and eventually knowing) how to create these learners, because doing so provides a great foundation, especially for homeschool parents desiring to raise kids who are successful in life!
Want to learn how to raise an independently responsible learner? Be sure to get Dennis Dinoia’s book, TEACH: Creating Independently Responsible Learners. It’s available in print, digital, and audio formats! The eBook version is currently on sale for only $0.99 until June 15th.
This post was originally published on May 26, 2022.