How to Create a Love of Learning {Part 3}

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Normally I don’t share facts & figures on this blog. It’s more a personal story of my homeschooling…lessons I learned so you can do better, activities to increase a love of learning.

But I came across some interesting research about instilling a love of learning that might help you in your homeschool.

how to create a love of learning in your kids from HowToHomeschoolMyChild.com

We haven’t talked about it, but why develop a love of learning in your kids?

  • To solve problems in life
  • To become resourceful
  • To become a leader
  • To feel challenged
  • To have purpose in your life
  • To have a sense of possibility
  • To support your future family
  • To prevent intellectual decline in retirement

With a love of learning, your children will be able to lead others at work, in their family, at church & in their community.  If your children can benefit from a love of learning, how do you love learning in your homeschool?

Please let me know what you think of these ideas by leaving a comment below.

Love of Learning Activities

Psychologist Jonathan Haidt at the University of Virginia shares several ways you can instill a love of learning.  These apply to adults, as well as kids.how to create a love of learning with reading - from HowToHomeschoolMyChild.com

  • Take a class just for fun (cooking, yoga, auto mechanics, astronomy, etc.)
  • Go to an online search engine like Ask Jeeves, ask a question, and explore sites you never otherwise would have discovered.
  • Every day, read a chapter of a book just for fun.
  • Decide to become an expert in a specialized topic and begin collecting (and reading) books on the subject.
  • Every weekend, discover a new area of your neighborhood, town, or city.
  • Subscribe to a newspaper or a periodical of special interest.
  • Join an internet discussion group devoted to a topic that you think might be interesting.

Does this sound anything like your homeschool?

It doesn’t sound like mine, but I think we can all learn from this list.  True education and a love of learning starts with your interest.  From there, reading, projects & groups help us learn about that topic or interest.

How can you implement one of these activities next month?

Captain Bob Webb suggests that children love to learn through the age of 13.  And a love of learning helps us to learn on our own, not being dependent on others to teach us.  Wouldn’t that be nice for our kids? Not being dependent on others, but having the tools of learning on our own.

how to create a love of learning with projects-from HowToHomeschoolMyChild.comAfter the age of 13, we all take one of two different directions.

Those that are not dependent on others to learn will excel in life.

Those dependent on others (to learn a trade or professional skill or grow personally) will be average.

So how do you love learning & gain the tools of learning on your own?  Captain Bob goes on to share 4 methods of acquiring knowledge that will last a lifetime.

  1. Research & Analyzing – Knowing how to find the right information & analyze it to make good decisions
  2. Self Education – Self-educated people learn to take responsibility for their own education. Time or money is not a hindrance.
  3. Trial & Error, Learning by Doing – We learn best when we try & fail.  Learn your lesson and move forward. We do not learn best when ordered to do something & fail.
  4. Instinctive Learning – Innovation, inventions, or winning strategies are produced by mixing experience with instinctive knowledge.

Again, how much of your homeschool incorporates these strategies?

I’m not saying you should drop everything you’re doing in your homeschool and only use these strategies.  I would suggest you choose one of the methods listed above and use it with your kids over the next month.  Choose a topic of your kids’ interest and “go for it”.

Motivating Your Child to Love Learning

Let me close with the movie Dead Poets Society. Not that I endorse the movie, but you can learn some lessons from the story.  (taken from Dr. Ben Dean of UPenn)

dead poets societyAlthough the Robin Williams strategy is largely humorous (and not recommended!), there is a lesson here. Research (ii) suggests that individuals are more likely to take ownership for their learning when the following conditions occur:

1) They are given a compelling, meaningful reason to do the task (e.g., to woo women).

2) They have options to make the task more interesting (e.g., sneaking out in the middle of the night to recite poetry in an abandoned cave).

3) Social networks exist to support the learning (e.g., the Dead Poets Society) so that individuals fulfill social needs as they connect with one another through a topic or project of interest.

Okay, so you don’t want your kids wooing women or sneaking out in the middle of the night. But what do we learn about motivation?

First, your kids need a purpose for a task. This includes homeschooling. Do they know why you study certain subjects?

As your kids get older, they need options to make the task more interesting. Do you only use textbooks, workbooks & lectures to teach?

Finally, your family needs to work together for a cause or project.  You might also work with other families on a task. Have you tried hands-on activities? projects? mission trips? service projects?

I know this may be more factual than other posts, but I hope it has been enlightening.

In closing, I’ll share a comment my son made.  He listened to a guest speaker discuss imagination in his Environmental Design class at Texas A&M.  He couldn’t remember the exact percentages, but it went something like this. A 5 year old has 90% creativity abilities. By the time you get to college, you have 5% creativity abilities. What happened between 5 year old & 20 year olds?

Have we suffocated our kids as they grow up?
Have we suffocated their love of learning?

Question: Do you agree or disagree with this research or its application in your homeschool? Why or why not? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Research for this post came from the following sites:
http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/newsletter.aspx?id=71
http://www.motivation-tools.com/youth/learning_tools.htm



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