The following is a post from contributing writer Angie.
It can be very easy to focus on teaching your children only when you’re homeschooling them. However, when you let your kids see you learning, they are silently taught the amazing lesson that learning happens over a whole lifetime and and can be done for pleasure.
Ways to Encourage a Love of Learning
Blogs are great. Magazines can be fun and informative. However, there is something extra special about books (even if they’re in electronic version and it means that you’re curled up with a Kindle). One wonderful way to encourage your children to read is to let them see you reading, whether it be for learning, self-improvement, enrichment, or just enjoyment. Seeing you spend your free time with a book will speak volumes to your children about the value of pleasure reading.
Take a Class
Check around your area (community centers, parks and recreation, etc.) to see if there are classes available in a subject or skill that has always interested you. Depending on the age of your children, you might even be able to find a class that you could take with all or some of your children.
In our home, our children have had the experience of seeing their parents in college. While our children were very young I was finishing my bachelors degree and then started and completed my master’s degree. They are now in elementary and middle school watching their father trudge his way through several years of college while working full time as well.
I believe this has been an amazing testament to them about the importance of education, as well as the consequences of not taking education seriously. (Their father frequently tells them how sorry he is now that he didn’t finish college when he was young, had only a part time job, and didn’t have to worry about providing for a family.)
Stop Yearning for a New Skill and Learn It Instead
Our children have been tickled lately to see both my husband and I work on skills that we have been saying for a while that we wish we could do. For me, it’s been to attempt to learn to play the guitar, while my husband wanted to do manga drawing. I have noticed that they not only enjoy watching us learn, but they show a great deal of interest in our learning processes.
In one favorite moment, my middle child listened to me fumbled my way through “Skip to My Lou.” He smiled and said, “I hit wrong notes when I was learning how to play the piano.” In that moment, he empathized with my learning process and seemed to feel that I could understand his learning too.
Don’t be embarrassed about trying something new. You might find something that really speaks to you, and your children will learn from your learning process. If you find that you’re just not good at what you wanted to do, your children will also learn an important lesson from that as well. Sometimes, it’s good for kids to see that you struggle from time to time too.
Research Things When You Don’t Know the Answer
Kids are full of questions. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to tell your children to go research (or Google) a question that none of you know the answer to. However, it’s also helpful to research with them. Teach them the methods that you would use to try to find the answer to something. It could be by teaching them how to use a library resource, searching through a thesaurus, or even just how to pick out the best keywords to use while searching on Google.
Talk About What You Want to Learn
Talk with your children to find out what things they want to learn to do or learn more about. Make plans for how to make that happen for them. Then, tell them about the things that you want to learn about, and have them help you make a plan for how you will learn that information or that skill.
Have you allowed your children to see you studying and/or learning a new skill?
What is a skill that you wish you had that you don’t currently have?