It’s the start of the new year. You have your pile of books you excitedly picked out, a cleared off space to “do school” and a plan of attack. You have big plans, dreams, and expectations for the school year ahead. The start of a new year of homeschooling can be fun, exciting, and maybe a little stressful.
As you crack open those books and begin working through your carefully crafted plan, will your children be excited about learning?
I want to challenge you that most of your child’s attitude about learning is influenced by YOU their teacher.
Kids Are Natural, Eager Learners
Kids are natural, eager learners that have been learning since the moment they were born.
They learned to smile,sit, walk, use the toilet, talk, etc. Your child not only learned to eat, but kept making improvements in their technique [or learning] to eat better as they moved from messy spoon eating to finger foods. Kids also love discovering new things like what happens when you knock over a block tower. [and repeating their experiment over and over!]
To kids, learning is FUN!
So why does that change?
Well a lot of it has to do with the approach, expectations, and attitude of those around them.
Let Kids Lead Their Learning
Kids tend to become less excited about learning as the learning structure become more rigid. Suddenly not only do they not get to pick what they will be focusing their investigative learning on, but they will also be expected to measure up to a standard of how well they learned it.
Do you realize that kids must learn about a topic that is arbitrarily dictated based on their age.
Kids are unique individuals and they have different interests they want to follow. Now, I’m not advocating a free for all without any structure. [I do really love structure and routine] And kids VERY much do need to learn math and to read and write. But what I am saying is that to keep kids excited about learning they need to have a say in what they are learning. Kids need to be excited about what they are learning.
So if your son loves snakes, by all means take time to read books about snakes and visit a nature. By letting your child continue to help direct his learning he will stay engaged, excited and focused.
Chances are that even if he isn’t thrilled about the math worksheets, he just may tolerate it better knowing he gets to pick the books he’ll be reading for Language Arts and Science.
Stay Positive about Your Unique Child
The other thing that can positively or negatively impact our child’s love of learning is the not only what we say, but how we say it. The main reason our children stop loving to learn is the feedback they receive:
- You got too many wrong.
- You can do better.
- Feeling defeated by seeing a low grade
- Seeing a parent/teacher’s frustration that they aren’t “getting it”
- frustration from the instructor vented out towards the child because they are not “keeping up” with the schedule
- and just overall sense that their instructor is not pleased with them or how they performed
While I’ll be the first to admit it can be very frustrating when your kid just doesn’t seem to get it or that they are not “keeping up” with the timetable you had in place for your year.
But the negative attitude and comments we parents give off [very unintentionally] is incredibly damaging to keeping your child excited and eager to learn!
So next time things aren’t going as planned and you are frustrated….
FREEZE. Wait. Think.
Think about what you want your child to remember. Do you want them to associate learning with a parent griping and moaning about what they couldn’t achieve OR do you want them to feel that they are smart and actually want to learn because they are getting the positive feedback from mom [or dad] who is there to support them where they are at.
How do you help keep your child excited about learning?
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