Topic: Homeschool Helps
I wrote quite some time ago about a new venture that the Homeschool Crew was undertaking - The Blog Cruise. The Blog Cruise is where the Crew (if they desire) answer a particular homeschool question and it will be posted - weekly meme style - on the Crew Blog - the same blog that you find all of the Crew reviews for the different products we try out.
This week's question is -
How do you instill a love of learning in your child?
Now I have not participated in any of the previous topics, because I just don't consider myself experienced enough to answer these type questions. This one, however, really interested me. I grew up with a love for learning and try to instill a love for learning in my children as well, so I decided to participate this week.
There are four things that I remember, growing up as a child, that really had a significant impact on my learning. I'll list them and explain them in no particular order.
- I remember my parents reading. They always read ~ especially before they went to sleep at night. Dad loved Grace Livingston Hill. Grace Livingston Hill wrote about places and times that my father grew up in as well as other historical eras. He also loved to read Christian fiction. Mom loved historical novels as well, but she also enjoyed mysteries. Agatha Christie was her favorite. Watching them read instilled a love for reading in me and that, in turn, instilled a love of learning. My first experience with reading a whole chapter book was reading The Boxcar Children and The Bobbsey Twins. I then went on to read historical novels and biographies, both of which I love today.
- I remember traveling. We loved to see new places ~ especially historical places and natural wonders. We went to see the Gettysburg battlefield - I have a picture of me sitting atop a cannon. We visited Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown - I bought a tin whistle in Williamsburg and still play it. Boston, Cape Cod and Plymouth hold many memories for me. Mackinac Island was a very memorable vacation. My first trip down south to Florida was a real education. I could go on and on...driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, camping, museums - all hold treasured memories. Memories that are special because I enjoyed them with my family and learned a lot. Everything we did, every vacation, was a learning experience. I loved it!
- Working as a family. Now one would not think that working together as a family could really instill a love of learning, but it does. When I was in second grade, we made a move that forever changed my life. My maternal grandfather was getting older and, since my grandmother had passed away several years before, he needed someone to watch out for him. So we moved back to the old family homestead, the house that my mother was born in. Now, Grandpa was an old coal miner who also ran his own small farm. He was used to hard work and he was determined to make sure that I was a hard worker as well. Almost from the start he had me working in the fields and taking care of the animals. I remember feeding chickens and collecting eggs, planting huge gardens, cutting and bringing in the hay. I didn't always enjoy it, but I now know how much I learned through my grandfather and the work we did together. At a very young age he set me up in my own strawberry business. Every summer for years I worked weekly in my large strawberry patch. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I took orders, picked and delivered strawberries. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I was down in the fields pulling weeds. And that was on top of my other chores. Even in the winter the animals needed feeding. It was certainly a learning experience that instilled a love of learning about nature and farming that remains today.
- Talking. Now how can talking instill a love of learning? Well, in my family we talked about everything and we we talked everywhere. We talked while eating, we talked while driving, we talked about the places that we had seen, we talked about the books that we read, we talked about what was happening in our lives, we talked about what was happening in the world...we were always talking! Talking and communicating often creates a love for learning in a child. It sure did in me.
Okay, I know that this was supposed to be about how you instill a love for learning in your children, not how a love of learning was instilled in you. It's kind of funny, though. When I was thinking about all of these things that encouraged me to learn, I called my oldest son, John Allen, in to talk. I asked him what things encouraged him in his learning. To a "T" he said almost the same things that I just mentioned above. He loves to travel...especially to historic placed and museums. He loves to read...especially historical novels and biographies...especially "Newbery Medal books" is what he said. I'm not sure that he loves the working outside too much yet, but I'm sure that it will grow on him. I do know that doing things as a family and discussing things as a family encourages him to learn more.
Now, I must admit, that growing up I went to a public school and my kids are homeschooled. But, as John Allen said, the same things that instilled a love for learning in me as I grew up are instilling a love of learning in him. There are a couple of bonus things that homeschooling does that a public school experience doesn't offer. With homeschooling I can design my curriculum around my kids. Just recently I was looking at different history curricula to use with John Allen next year. I wanted a change from what we had used. When I discussed it with John Allen, though, he said a flat out "NO". He loves the curriculum that we have been using...and, believe it or not, it is a curriculum that involves a large amount of reading! I can also cater (at least in the younger years) to the interests of my children. Who says that you can't spend a month or so on one topic if that's what your child is interested in? Let's take flying and airplanes for example. There is much to be learned from that topic...you can incorporate math, language, reading, history...and it will all be a topic that your child enjoys. Isn't that what learning is all about?
Have fun with learning. Read, talk, travel, work...be excited about the things that you are doing and your kids will be excited too. And, above all else, do all to the glory of God and He will bless your efforts.
Don't forget, this is a TOS Homeschool Crew project, so others on the Crew are also giving some great ideas. To find out what they are saying, just click on the "Blog Cruise" button at the top of the page. Happy Homeschooling!