Being both a teacher and a mom, I found myself combining learning opportunities into household commands. Brush your teeth. Take a Bath. Do your homework. Read a book. Though my children love reading, after a while, I began to get grunts from them because of the authoritative way in which they were asked to read. One day while researching online, I stumbled on an article entitled, “10 Ways to Inspire a Love of Learning” by Carri Schneider. After reading the article, I began to ask myself, “Has learning become a chore for my little ones?” I knew that my heart’s desire was to instill a love of life-long learning in my children. Here are Schneider’s helpful tips to building a love of learning:
- Use a rainy or snowy day to learn something totally new together. One snow day, my daughter and I tried “Hour of Code,” which is an online tool for teaching computer science education with fun games. I was amazed at how much she learned about coding and how much I learned about her.
- Launch an experiment that brings learning to life. Cooking is always a classic example of this.
- Get out and explore. There are definitely benefits to roaming around the woods without an agenda. Learning can’t happen there too.
- Take on personal challenges (and talk about overcoming them). We’re intentional about discussing how brains learn and even our 4 year old can describe how challenging a brain to learn something new helps it “grow.”
- Turn something passive into something active. Not every second of every day has to be tied to a specific learning goal. There are times when parents can get creative in order to turn something passive into an active learning opportunity.
- Seek answers together. Although the library can be a great way to spend an afternoon, not everything has to be a full research project. In our family, it’s sometimes as simple as using google to find the origin of the phrase “getting a Charlie horse” or learning about all the ingredients in McDonald’s Shamrock Shake.
- Join (or start) a family book club. This is a creative way to make reading more enjoyable. Everyone reads the same book and we all bring our different perspectives together when we meet to discuss the book.
- Cultivate an interest in the arts. Research supports the value in exposing children to the arts and doing so doesn’t have to be expensive. Get creative. Use resources that you already have in your house. For instance, macaroni noodles can be a source of artistic inspiration.
- Stop and smell the roses. Reflection is an important part of learning, so we try to create opportunities for our kids to slow down, practice mindfulness and reflect on the world around them. Our culture tells us to go, go, go but there is value in silence and meditation.
- Everything is an opportunity to learn. Parents, keep having fun with your kids and don’t be afraid to tell them they’re learning. Teach them learning is fun, motivating and rewarding. Albert Einstein once said, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.” Teach your children that learning is fun because learning is essential in life.
Parents let’s make a vow to develop a culture of children that love to learn.
Dr. Nadra Powell
Owner/Educator of High Achievers Education Center Inc.