Learning is not meant to be passive. In fact, learning is all about engaging, connecting, and being an active part of the process, regardless of the student’s age or ability level.
Small children are naturally curious, and they often want to participate in everything; however, this may change over time, so it’s important to find ways to sustain interest and attention in the long-term.
There are so many ways for children to learn and be creative, and whether you focus on academics or use a play-based program, here are some ways to help your child cultivate a love of learning and natural curiosity about the world.
Focus On The Kinesthetic
While you can read about planting a seed, watering it daily, and watching it grow – you can also do it. And for many children, it is the hands-on doing that is more interesting. When your child is able to experience things first-hand, they are likely to be much more interested in the subject.
Learning by doing is one of the most enjoyable ways to learn, no matter how old you are. Music, dance, movement, getting tactile, and interacting with others in a collaborative, investigative space are great ways to cultivate a love of learning.
Pay Attention To The Passion
Have you noticed that when a topic grips you, you want to learn everything about it? Well, that is because your interest and passion for the topic have been sparked. But, it isn’t always easy to know what we love until we are allowed to explore as many options as possible.
One of the ways Montessori (a play-directed learning style) is successful is because it allows children to explore the topics they find interesting. The choice is part of the process, and that choice sparks a little thirst for knowledge.
Finding out what we love might take a while, but you can help your child by sharing everything you love with them, asking them what they have been consuming/talking about, and if there is anything they want to do or try.
Determine The Natural Learning Style
If you’re choosing to homeschool, you can create a home learning environment that complements your child. If you’re not, you may need to support others in their support of your child and what works best for him/her.
Integrating different learning styles—kinesthetic, auditory, and visual—mean that while some children can simply hear something and learn it, others need to see it or do it. Try to find out what style your child will benefit from—and facilitate this at home.
Provide Intentional Encouragement
There is a lot of pressure that can come with learning, especially with respect to grades, scores, or expectations. It can be hard to break once the association between learning and anxiety or disappointment.
While you want your child to do their best, it is better to opt for a supportive route.
When the learning process is diluted down to a grade at the end, (unless those grades drive your child, of course!) it means learning is no longer fun. So, inject the fun back into the day! Ask your child what they learned and how they learned it (rather than the grade at the end). Studies have shown that students who have been praised for their effort rather than their ability score higher on intelligence tests will feel more positively about their academics and have stronger confidence in general.
Helping your child to cultivate a love of learning is something that you can both benefit from! Not only will you have a less stressful or tense home environment, but you will also be able to connect and build rapport (about academics and otherwise!).
For other ways to develop home learning, read about how you can motivate your child to study.