Igniting a Child’s Love of Learning

 

Do you wake up each morning with a delicious feeling of anticipation? Do you swing your legs out of bed quickly, anxious to get dressed and move onto the business of the day? Another day of learning with your children stretches ahead… Do you feel excited?


Once upon a time, I used to drag myself out of bed and reluctantly face the day. Homeschooling seemed like a chore, a duty I had to fulfill. I wasn’t full of joy, and my children’s love of learning was under threat. I knew I had to do something. We became unschoolers.

I like this quote from A Little Way of Homeschooling:


God will give each of us the time that we need to learn everything He wants us to know; this applies to both ourselves and our children. Why do we expect we must teach it all to our children in our homeschool? And why do we automatically assume that this burden of prospective learning will be painful for them, arduous for us? There is a less frightening way….
 

Learning doesn’t have to be painful for our children or arduous for us. Homeschooling can be enjoyable, fun, full of delight. Being realistic, I know some days are just not fun at all. I’ve experienced dark days when I haven’t been able to smile, even darker days when I haven’t wanted to live. But on an ordinary day, I don’t want to make homeschooling into an unnecessary burden. Why add to life’s sufferings when we don’t have to? I want to enjoy my children, storing away happy memories as we learn together. Unschooling has made it possible for us to live this kind of life.

Have you ever noticed how a feeling of delight is contagious? When I am excited about the day and all we will learn, my children pick up on my mood. They can’t wait for the morning chores to be finished so that we can all dive into the real ‘work’ of the day. Maybe homeschooling is more successful, and certainly more enjoyable, if a mother is as full of the love of learning as she wants her children to be.


It seems to me… If we greet each day with a smile and a feeling of anticipation, our delight can’t fail to ignite a child’s love of learning.


My youngest daughter Gemma-Rose comes to visit while I am still in bed.

“I’ve come to give you a hug,” she announces, as she climbs under the quilt next to me.

“You’re up early,” I observe.

“There’s so much I want to do today,” Gemma-Rose says, a big smile on her face. “I can’t waste time lying in bed.”

“I’d better get up too,” I say, disentangling myself from my daughter’s arms. “I’ve got lots I want to do as well.”

We smile. A whole day stretches before us. What will we both learn today?Igniting a child’s love of learning? Perhaps we need to ignite ours first.

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  1. Reply

    A couple of years ago, my authorised visitor mentioned that homeschoolers often become stale and disinterested after many years of schooling. I've found, though, that it always changes and that seems to keep it interesting. We've had our challenging times but, mostly, the anticipation has been exciting. I think that's why I've always enjoyed planning – I get enthusiastic about what we're going to do.

    The only thing is that sometimes it's hard to have enough energy. My days don't start as early as they used to!

    God bless, Sue:-)

    1. Reply

      Vicky,

      Oh yes! Homeschooling never stays the same. Children grow and develop new needs, we find new resources and better ways of doing things, we ponder new ideas… Doing the same thing year after year would be boring indeed.

      I can understand how enthusiasm rises as you plan. I feel the same way when I find a new resource which I'm going to place in the pathway of my children. I always hope they'll get as excited as me when they see the book, DVD, website etc. Usually they do, picking up on my enthusiasm, and they want to have a look at what I'm strewing.

      Being tired is difficult. Being realistic, we don't feel full of enthusiasm, raring to go, every single day of the year. But if the prevalent attitude is one of delight and enthusiasm, I don't think it matters very much if we have the odd day or two, here and there where we don't really want to smile and get involved. I'm good at smiling and encouraging, while I sit on the sofa doing not much at all!

  2. Reply

    This post expresses so much of how I feel about home schooling! Thank you, Sue! I have felt so sorry for my friends who burned out pushing their kids through curriculum, they miss so much joy!

    I'd like to add that if you feel tired frequently, it's worth checking your health. The lowest point of my home schooling experience was when I had an under active thyroid!

    1. Reply

      Wendy,

      Thank you! I sometimes wonder why we expect kids to enjoy homeschooling if we don't. Or perhaps they aren't meant to enjoy it… It is so sad. Yes, homeschooling can be full of joy!

      Thank you for your suggestion about tiredness. I do get tired but not overwhelmingly. I think my problem is an over active mind rather than an under active thyroid. Too many exciting things to think about so I find it difficult to turn off and sleep!

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

  3. Reply

    Wow, Love this.
    I think, as I've mentioned before, (and your response was perfect –something about there not really being a need to label our method/how we do it)we have loosened the reins quite a bit until I think we have swung to the "US" way more so than the "HSing" I think each of my kids needs something so vastly different in terms of each of their learning styles….and also the fact that my Timmy has dyslexia…he requires a very different approach than Kev but he also learns so divergently. It wears me out juggling their curriculum and their needs so that I have embraced a more open style lately. I've eased up…yet they still continue to learn, even tho I'm not yelling at them to fill in those wkbk pages. Boy it IS tricky, isn't it??
    Now if we HS Moms could just figure out a way to get the housework, laundry and meals all taken care of while we sit and learn with our kids…not THAT I want to find out! I think I can either keep a clean house OR teach my kids. If I try to do both everyone suffers b.c I am so stressed.Yeah, I can throw a load of laundry in but it's the folding, sorting and putting the mountains of it away! sigh
    Thanks friend for the inspiration!
    Gemma sounds like a doll! And look at her pic on the sidebar, What a sweetie
    And BTW yoiu are too kind linking up your queen post and the generous comment. Really. Love it when yo link regardless as to what the topic is. PLUS memoir is such a vast thing….THANK YOU!
    The birds are starting to chirp here and I've not even been to sleep. Getting caught up on online/blogging stuff so my days are clear this week….but I think I'll pay the price tmrw in being exhausted . Maybe I can catch a few zzzzzz's for a bit.

    xoxoxo

    1. Reply

      Chris,

      I would imagine you don't have any trouble at all igniting your boys' love of learning. Your enthusiasm just oozes out of your blog posts. You find such interesting resources, and seem to enjoy all your activities together.

      Years and years ago, I thought that once I'd experienced homeschooling from K to year 12 once, it would be easy from that point on. I'd just repeat everything with all the other kids. Little did I know, each child is very different and so has different needs, and what works with one doesn't necessarily work with another. Sounds like you're experiencing this with your sons! It's surprising what kids will learn even if they aren't directed by us. Actually I think they learn far more when they are allowed some freedom! I like the idea of your open style.

      Housework… It's never ending, isn't it? We cope by sharing it. We all pitch in and then there's plenty of time to go off and do more exciting things. I guess housework could be looked at as a learning experience all of its own!

      You sound like a night owl. I have to go to bed early. I wouldn't cope otherwise. It's hard sometimes though to turn off the computer and settle down for the night!

      Thank you for your kind words, Chris. It is always such a pleasure to chat with you!

  4. Reply

    Just a question…do you have any rules limiting electronic devices (TV, computer, tablet, etc). I have a media-free time designated from 10-4 everyday, but I hate giving the kids the impression that that's the only time they can learn. I'm afraid it feels too schoolish. Do you have any suggestions?

  5. Reply

    Just a question…do you have any rules limiting electronic devices (TV, computer, tablet, etc). I have a media-free time designated from 10-4 everyday, but I hate giving the kids the impression that that's the only time they can learn. I'm afraid it feels too schoolish. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Reply

      Shelly,

      No, I don't have any rules for electronic devices. I've never seen a reason to have any as my girls don't spend excessive amounts of time on them. They use their computers as tools to write and learn, so they need them during 'school hours'. They do play computer games and they watch DVDs but don't often watch TV (we got out of the habit of turning the TV on when we didn't have good reception). But they also do so much else. They like to play the piano, listen to music, get outside and run, sew and knit… I think they balance their activities very well.

      Kids can learn a lot using their electronic devices. We sometimes sit together during the day (especially when the weather isn't good) and watch a documentary or a movie together. We watch Youtube videos. The girls use their computers to code on the Scratch website or Codecademy. They are always writing, playing maths games, looking things up… We think of computers and the Internet as great tools that allow us to do so many amazing things.

      Maybe you could incorporate media into your learning day to satisfy your children's desire to use them. I recently wrote a post about some of the things kids can do on the computer. If they were doing something other than playing games would you be happy to let your children use the computer outside of the designated hours?

      https://www.storiesofanunschoolingfamily.com/2013/12/lots-of-interesting-stuff-for-children.html

      I don't know if you've read this post, 'Restricting Children's Time on the Computer'

      https://www.storiesofanunschoolingfamily.com/2013/05/restricting-mums-time-on-computer.html

      I hope that helps. If not, I'm willing to chat again!

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