Learning shouldn't be considered a chore or a drag. We are going to spend the rest of our life learning, and creating lifelong learners should be a goal for all parents.
When my husband and I decided to homeschool our children, the main goal we created together was to inspire our kids to become lifelong learners. We wanted our kids to LOVE learning! I didn't want my children to protest learning or to believe that learning isn't fun. It is, and it should be viewed with excitement rather than dread.
So far, our kids love learning, and here are some of our tips for encouraging your child to love learning.
1. Books on All Topics
I may be a minimalist at heart, but I don't minimalize our bookshelves. You can take a look through our family library and find books on all different topics. During our reading aloud times, we may travel to China or Africa. We may read a story about Native Americans or examine a book about sharks. Providing our children with a variety of living, educational books helps to spark interests and learn new facts.
2. Build Upon Their Interests
So, your son is interested in trains? That's great! Now it's time for you to help build upon your son's natural interest. Purchase or rent tons of books about trains. Try building a wooden model of a train. Visit a train station, and take a ride on a train!
If your child has an interest, don't push it anyway. Instead, look at each interest as a platform learning. Yes, most interests have a way to become educational. Kids who love video gaming may be interested in coding or the development of video games.
3. Don't Force It
When you force and shove your child, you know what happens. Their back goes up, and suddenly they no longer care about that interest. They walk away and refuse to give it another try.
That's why we never force learning. It's also a good idea to not micromanage your children and jump in when they are doing something wrong. Allow your children the opportunity to figure things out on his own.
4. Ask Questions
Does your child ask you a hundred questions per day? You aren't alone! Now is the time to ask the questions. You might ask "how does a train run on steam?" When you visit the dinosaur museum, ask questions like "what made this dinosaur so strong?" or " what do you think happened to all of those dinosaurs?"
If one of your questions interests your child, give him the opportunity to learn the answer. Give him access to the library, ebooks, or YouTube. Believe it or not, you can learn a lot from YouTube. There are educational channels for kids!
5. Love the Process of Learning
The process of learning is more important than what they actually learned. We want our kids to understand how to go out and find the answer for questions on their questions on their own. Teaching your child the process of learning will prepare him for what is ahead. It is best to take an interest in what your child is doing - such as learning how to crochet - rather than the end result.
6. Visit Museums
Make a plan to visit at least one museum per month. Spend time there and let your child investigate all that they have to offer. Many museums offer workshops and classes for kids of all ages. Museums are very involved with their visitors and offer many services.
If you are traveling, check out the museums in the area that you may be passing! Don't forget to look for aviaries, zoos, and aquariums. All of these are fun learning experiences as well! They may spark a new interest in your child.