Homeschool Resolutions: Learning to Love Learning
by Megan Mora Fuentes
One of the most popular new year’s resolutions is to learn a new skill. Whether people have realized that a new skill set would benefit them in their careers, they’ve developed an interest in a new topic, or they’re simply looking to expand their knowledge base, this is a great example of lifelong learning. Instilling a love of learning in children from a young age is an essential part of raising adults who recognize the benefit and appreciate the beauty of learning something new, no matter how long it’s been since they were in “school.” The myriad of opportunities to demonstrate an attitude of lifelong learning and a love of learning to your children is one of the greatest blessings of homeschool life. Check out this final part of the “Homeschool Resolutions” series for some creative ways to engage students, reassuring facts on the importance of forming a solid knowledge base, and inspiration and encouragement to help you bring a love of learning to your own homeschool living.
Can you teach kids to love learning? While some students will certainly have a stronger natural inclination to explore and figure things out, no child is born without the curiosity and enthusiasm that is the foundation of lifelong learning. Engaging a student on an appropriate level, helping them discover and develop specific interests and strengths, and demonstrating a love of learning are important factors in retaining and building on that curiosity and enthusiasm. That kind of investment in a child’s future takes a lot of time, dedication, and love. The great news is, as a homeschooling parent, you are in a uniquely ideal position to provide all of those things and to encourage your child’s love of learning.
Love of Learning through Styles
You can find lots of resources that encourage you to use your child’s learning style to their–and your–advantage, and that’s all well and good–if you know what their learning style is! This blog post from author and presenter Cynthia Ulrich Tobias is an excellent beginning resource for identifying your child’s learning style and learning how to best utilize their strengths.
Another often-repeated suggestion for encouraging a love of learning in students is to engage them in the subject they’re studying. But how? Integrating themes into learning is a fantastic way to set the stage for enthusiastic exploration–and you can do it with any subject! This is the entire premise behind a unit study–the idea of taking a defined topic or theme and incorporating it into multiple subjects to strengthen the learning process. For ideas on how to build your own unit study, check out this Homeschool Living post.
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Love of Learning with Balance
One of the biggest challenges in home education is balancing the desire to engage students with fun, active learning that provides an entertaining “big picture” of the topic, with the undeniable necessity of retaining the cold, hard facts.
With so many resources dedicated to developing and utilizing more engaging, more exciting, and more fun learning methods, it can seem old-fashioned and even counter-intuitive to push the concepts of memorization and repetition in school. In fact, that is often the concept that adults remember as the thing that turned them off of “school” and diminished their love of learning. However, the basic roles of memorization in teaching and learning do not change–no matter how readily available information becomes–and used appropriately, memorization is an essential skill to learn and should be incorporated into your homeschool curriculum.
This article is an interesting look at a famous quote attributed to Albert Einstein, and the folly of taking one statement alone at face value.
A love of learning requires the realization that some learning is fun, natural, and effortless. And some learning is work and requires us to take our brains out of our comfort zones and stretch our abilities. Both kinds of learning are indescribably valuable, and utilizing both is the only way to become a lifelong learner.