Many parents pull their children from school because they want a better education for their children. As I speak to moms, I’ve discovered they want their children to read and write for the love of learning. But how do you inspire your kids to love learning on their own? Let’s take a step back and ask a few questions.
Do your kids love learning?
Do “you” love learning?
You need to answer those questions for yourself.
Do your kids groan when you say it’s time for school? Do they complain about school? I’ll let you in on a little secret. My kids complained about school sometimes, but they all love learning and reading as adults. How did that change occur?
I modeled a love of learning and a love of reading for my kids. They saw me day-in and day-out, reading and learning. I didn’t tell them I love to learn. I love to read. They saw it. I also allowed a lot of time for them to grow in their love for learning.
The first strategy I share with homeschool moms is to model a love of learning yourself. If you don’t read for the love of learning, how are your kids going to love learning?
Your kids know what you like. They see what’s important to you. You need to be modeling a love of learning.
We model how to write.
We model how to solve a long division problem.
We model how to be polite by saying “thank you” and “please” all the time.
We model how to set the table.
We need to model a love of learning as well.
I was not a reader growing up, but my kids would all tell you that I’m a reader now.
A few weeks after we moved to Idaho so Steve could attend seminary, Hunter visited a friend for the first time. To enter his friend’s home, you walked through the dad’s office which was a library, basically. An octagonal-shaped room, floor to ceiling bookshelves, books everywhere, books on the desk, books on the couch, books on the coffee table. Books everywhere.
Hunter walks in and says, “My mom would love this room.”
A few hours later, Steve and I pick up Hunter. I walk in that room and say, “I love this room”. Everyone starts laughing, so I ask, “Why are you all laughing?”
“That’s exactly what Hunter said when he entered the room.”
Hunter knew I love to read. He knew I love books. I didn’t spend time saying, “Hunter, I want you to know I love books.” It was something I naturally modeled in my life.
You are modeling something. What are you modeling? What is most important to you?
When our kids were junior and senior high school, I worried what I was modeling. Would the only thing they remember during those years was the back of my head, as I stared at the computer. We didn’t have smartphones back then. I was afraid they’d walk by and see me staring at the computer all the time because we had an online business.
In order to model reading and writing for the love of learning, I blocked my time. I homeschooled in the morning and didn’t get on the computer, except to print out a test. I did my computer work in the afternoon while our kids were at activities or playing with friends. How are you modeling your love for learning?
How often do your kids try to get your attention, but you’re too busy on your phone?
Let’s be honest. What’s more important? Facebook? Pinterest? Social media?
Is it trying to get the perfect Pinterest picture? But, no one sees all the arguing that went on right before the “perfect” Instagram picture.
I’m just as guilty. I’m talking to myself, as well. I have to be really careful and really conscious of my priorities.
Evaluate within yourself what’s important.
If studying for the love of learning is important to give your kids, then you should be modeling a love of learning, as well. As you model, you’ll get a bonus. You’ll build great relationships with your kids which is a lot more important than your phone or social media.
My mom is one of my best friends. Growing up she was my role-model. If I came downstairs before breakfast time, my mom was doing one of three things: exercising, reading her Bible, or praying.
To this day I can picture our living room with my mom in the early morning. Those three activities are a picture of what’s most important to my mom. She instilled in me the importance of starting my day with God, reading my Bible, and praying first thing in the morning.
When I had babies, it was frustrating because I would get up early. I’d make my coffee, and I sneak over to my desk an hour before our kids would get up. As I sat down and opened my Bible, I’d hear crying. “Really, God? Come on. I got up to spend this time with You.” I had to remember that was a season of life.
As the kids grew up, I would go for a walk before anyone was up. I’d pray on my walk and read my Bible when I got home. If I had school reading, I’d read it after my Bible.
I followed my mom’s example.
If you want to model your love of God, you may need to be creative. Why not start with your phone? Yep, I said phone!
Download the YouVersion app, the Holy Bible app. You’ll have your Bible anywhere you go. Just open it up. Instead of checking Facebook or Instagram when you wake up or go to bed, why not read your Bible or one of their Bible reading plans.
When you’re waiting in the car to pick up your kids from an activity, read your Bible or use the app to pray verses for your kids.
Homeschooling for the love of learning is the same as modeling your love for God.
Be an example for your kids.
Be enthusiastic with your kids.
Be excited when your kids discover something you’ve known for years.
Your example and enthusiasm will encourage them to study for the love of learning, and not as a duty.