What is the love of learning? When I began homeschooling, I figured my children would naturally love to learn. I didn’t think I would need to teach them how to do this. Instead, my goal was to fill their minds with as much knowledge as I could possibly pour upon them.
My experiences as a public school student and as a teacher taught me that children could easily make it from K-12 and beyond to “top of their class” without truly learning anything more than how to study, memorize, and regurgitate facts. I was one of those types of kids and I definitely wanted my children to get more than this from their education.
Why is the love of learning important?
Determined to set a full plate before them, I scoured over homeschooling magazines, catalogs, and websites and purchased more books and curricula in those first couple of years than I have the last six combined. It soon became apparent that we would need to add extra hours to our day in order to finish all of the prescribed scopes and sequences.
With schedules and assignment sheets in hand, we began to plow our way through our curricula. Now, obviously, we hit a few bumps in the road. Who doesn’t? During those years though, all skeptical eyes were upon us from family to friends to the local social worker that paid regular visits to our home (we were fostering at the time).
But all was neatly swept under the rug and we kept right on plowing. From the outside looking in and according to the standardized tests, everything was great.
Why is love of learning important?
Eventually, the pace began to wear on me and I became restless about our homeschooling. The kids, on the other hand, had adjusted fairly well. They had grown accustomed to the long hours, the lack of playtime, and mom’s perfectionist tendencies.
When I finally took stock one day of what we were doing, I realized I wasn’t helping my children to rise above my own educational background. I had trained them to be just like me. They were pro’s at marking off their little checkboxes. They were filling in the blanks, and regurgitating information in nice little prepackaged amounts. Additionally, they had sacrificed their own interests and desires so much to this point that they really did not know how to “just be a kid”.
What does love of learning mean?
Our homeschool was far from the Love to Learn Model we envisioned! What happened? How do you instill love of learning?
In retrospect, I know that my mistake was not in having high aspirations, my perfectionist tendencies, or the pressure from our skeptical audience. The problem was I began building my children’s education without first laying a proper foundation. I continued to add layer upon layer to our educational structure. My goal was to build it as tall as possible. Then when the building became too heavy and burdensome, it all came crashing down. This is the point where I began to exchange my ‘materials’ for new ones thinking that will somehow fix the problem. Instead, we should have focused our time and attention on laying a proper foundation for learning.
How do you create a love of learning?
So how does one go about this? First, give yourself permission to break whatever mold your family is currently conforming to. Let go of whatever is entangling you. (Unfortunately, it took me about three years to really do this and to let go.) Then, invest some time to research “homeschooling philosophy” online or at the library and begin writing your own philosophy of education. This will be your foundation.
Seek ideas that will preserve the unique personalities, desires, and interests of your children as well as remain true to your family’s vision.
Define what “growing the love of learning” means to you. Weave this into your foundation. You may find that your philosophy is an eclectic mix of some of the popular homeschooling philosophies floating around out there. Perfect!
How can I facilitate the love of learning at home?
Take the best points from those that really mesh with your family and make it your own. Having defined this for my family has freed me from my own misconceptions about education as well those from outside sources and “experts”. It has freed my children to be kids again, opening the doors of discovery and ushering in a true love of learning. This will build larger storehouses of information and wisdom than I could have ever hoped of building in my children!
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Debra, what a lovely post on fostering the love of learning. I think that is such an important facet of homeschool education that can easily be missed. Sometimes we feel the pressure to check things off our list when we really should be pursuing what will make our foundation strong. Once we have figured that out, we will start to see a transformation of our precious children right before our eyes.