Tip 11: Develop a Love for Learning in Your Children
We have entire articles and multi-part workshops on how to develop a love for learning in your children. So, writing a few paragraphs about this topic if a challenge! (To read the many parts of a lengthy article called “Creating a Love for Learning in Your Homeschool,” go to http://ati.iblp.org/ati/family/articles/teaching/loveforlearning/ .)
First of all, though, I will say that a love for learning is usually not developed in a child who is pushed to learn things for which he is not ready. Period. It just makes sense. Of course, if a child struggles and struggles to learn to read, and we push and push day after day—even though reading readiness has not been realized, that child will grow to hate reading, learning, and oftentimes, school and homeschooling.
Secondly, model a love for learning for your children. Your children want to be just like you! They might not say it. They might say just the opposite at times, but the fact is, they want to be just like Mom and Dad.
The beginning of teaching our children any skill is to model that skill for them. I remember in teacher’s college when the trendy topic was SSR—Sustained Silent Reading. The goal of SSR was to set aside ten or fifteen minutes each school day to have every student reading. The superior teachers were the ones who didn’t grade papers or file their nails during SSR; they read too. The idea was that if the teacher modeled reading for her students, they would follow her example.
The same is true for homeschooling parents with modeling a love for learning. Do you force-feed your children what they need to learn, but remain stagnant in your own learning? Do you act as though you already “know it all,” so there is nothing else for you to learn? Do you seek out information about topics you are interested in learning more about?
Several years ago when we took a family vacation to Disney World®, I was able to put this “modeling a love for learning” to the test with our children. I carried (well, whoever carried the backpack actually carried) an eight-hundred-page volume titled, The Unofficial Guide to Disney World®. I pulled it out as we traveled to each park, reading aloud about the best viewing spots for the afternoon parade, the worst hamburgers in the place, and the longest time one has to wait in the mid-morning to ride “Space Mountain.”
At first the kids teased me merciless (okay, I did have over a hundred sticky notes of various colors and sizes protruding from the sides of the book—you’re not allowed to highlight in a library book), but then they began asking me what “my book” said about this or that. Eventually, we were fighting over the book during tram, monorail, and bus rides!
On the last night, the kids insisted that I cover myself in sticky notes, scatter my “charts” around me (oh, I made charts too), and have my picture taken with my precious book. They saw firsthand how learning new information makes for a great vacation; they came to see the method to Mom's madness—and I guarantee not one of them will ever take their kids to Disney World without that book! Modeling a love for learning for our children works.