This week’s Blog Cruise topic is "How do you instill a love for learning in your children?"
I really believe this starts with you-the teacher/parent. Enthusiasm for anything starts with being encouraged by someone around who brings that energy to the surface. While it’s not always easy to act excited about multipication or Columbus or dependent clauses, the positive attitude heard in the tone of your voice, the smile on your face, not being rushed on to the next subject just to get it over for the day speak volumes to thirsty students.
Sitting down with them and looking them in the eye with a smile instead of standing over them while you are folding clothes on the end of the table; allowing detours when they ask questions of interest, letting yourself and them share stories of personal experiences, laughing, drawing funny pictures, singing funny songs throughout your day- these are all things that make learning fun. Get up and dance!! Break for snacks, let them help you make lunch, dress up the dog (or little brother, LOL) in a toga, and get out the molding clay and make Greek sculptures.
The best part of homeschool for our family is that I’m able to learn with my kids. I had a great dislike for history when I was in school, and since I’ve had the opportunity to homeschool have revisited history in a way I never knew was possible. I get so excited putting the pieces together now, that sometimes I just shout, "Wow isn’t that SOOOO COOL???!!!"
I really think if my history teachers would have been half as excited as I get, that I would not have left my own formal education hating history.
Don’t get me wrong. There are days I have a million things to do, lots on my mind, and no one can find a pencil to write with under the clutter on the table. The preschooler brings every loud toy into the room, I’m finally ready to start and where are the girls? Oh, here comes one with a snack and the other is…yep, in the shower. LOL. No one seems to want to learn today. Okay, after your snack go ride your horse for a bit while I do a load of laundry, them come on back in and let’s try it again. Smiles everyone, let’s go on a new adventure! Let’s start with a prayer. Close our eyes, take a breath, and ask for open minds and hearts. This always seems to be a great start to our days. 🙂
One final note here, I do believe a love of learning can be met through delight-driven learning in the younger years. I like to call our learning experiences "opportunistic unit studies." We could spend weeks sometimes devouring information on something that caught our attention like an endangered horny toad on the ranch, or learning all about horse tack when the girls were first interested in riding. A visit to Half Price books or the library to discover more about our new interest always adds an element of excitment and instills a love for learning as well.
Read, read, read to the littles. Yep, you’re gonna have to read the same book at least a dozen times in a row for days upon end when they are little, but this will instill a love for reading and learning early on. Hands-on activities like lapbooks, coloring sheets, playdough, salt maps, building a pyramid out of sugar cubes, painting (even when you dread the cleanup and the spills), and hanging a model solar system from your ceiling all help instill a love of learning in your kids.
Be their cheerleader, even when you don’t feel like it. Even when everything is a mess. Your excitement will rub off on them, and their accomplishments and interests will fuel that love for learning!!