Epic Formula to Ensure Your Child Loves to Learn
Thanks to Ms. Jeannine, our elementary students at The Hillsboro School began 2018 by sewing their own bags! Their delight in taking on the challenge of this real world task showed in how eagerly they listened, how intently they worked, and how earnestly they desire to learn more. As I observed our students, I noticed how this authentic learning experience shed light on how to ensure children love to learn. Sewing provided our students with the opportunity to put their lessons into practice, empowering them as their confidence grew, knowing they could create something purposeful for their daily lives. Our students not only enjoyed this one lesson, but are eager for more such opportunities. Isn’t this what we all desire? What could be better than students wanting to learn and do more and more and more! How do we sustain such joy?
I share this because all of us want our children to love learning. Naturally, there are libraries filled with books on this subject, but providing these few approaches for your children will lay a solid foundation for their desire to learn.
- Engage your child in real world challenges. Don’t view learning as something your children do at school, or sitting at the kitchen table or on the computer. Young children long to be part of your world; they are watching you and learning from you all the time. It is important to choose just what it is these interactions will teach them. It can be as simple as inviting them to help you make the grocery list. When my two girls were little, the grocery store turned into a “4D Where’s Waldo?”
Who sees the Cheerios? Where do you think the oranges are?
Where did we find the carrots? What else is around the milk section?
Mmm, we are looking for cheese, do we keep cheese in the refrigerator?
I am not implying you bombard them with questions, but ENGAGE them!
- Provide authentic learning experiences. For example, my girls came to the point of suggesting to me that we write down our grocery list so we could remember everything when we got there and they then thought of checking off items as they were found. They discovered on their own one of the reasons writing is valuable, and then discovered new ways of arranging and organizing the list to make it work better. Providing your children authentic ways to learn is crucial. Too often, students are told information instead of having the chance to make sense of things for themselves. Authentic learning comes through understanding not just following directions.
- Exemplify learning, including from mistakes and problem solving. Too often learning is stripped of conflict and challenges, often due to adults wanting to “help” or not realizing that by making tasks straight forward what gets emphasized is whether students can follow directions, not how they can develop their thinking. Share during dinner what you enjoy learning, mistakes you have made and how you problem-solved the situation. Demonstrate the insights gained from mistakes and how problems sometimes take multiple tries before they are solved. When mistakes are viewed as providing a window into how a child thinks then children grow up seeing mistakes as giving them information they did not have prior, which leads them closer to the correct answer. Such a perspective develops a love of learning.
Enjoy engaging your children in learning with you!
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(quote source: Dr. Maria Montessori)