Confession: I don’t have a child who loves school. I have dreams of being that homeschooling family where the child is excited about every school day, where we spend hours curled up on the couch reading good books and where hands-on crafts and science projects happen every day. I would love for my child to excitedly tell our friends and relatives about what she is learning (and to demonstrate how well she is doing homeschooling!)
Now, all of these things do happen, but not every day. I am an organized, box-checker and our school reflects that more than I would like. Plus, I want her to master things like math and spelling that she doesn’t really like.
I just asked Emily if she liked learning and she responded, “Yes, especially science, because I love experiments! I love trying out new things. That’s so awesome!” She is definitely a hands-on child!
She has enjoyed studying the American Girls books with the accompanying cooking and craft books. We’ve also done mapping and hands-on activities with the Little House series and other books. I have found that Emily has both retained more and enjoyed school more when we take the time to add hands-on learning. We also love to read biographies and historical fiction books to supplement or even replace text books. In my opinion, there’s nothing worse than a textbook-only curriculum to suck the fun out of education!
I struggle with the balance between what she needs to learn (math!), but doesn’t really want to and capitalizing on what she loves to make learning exciting. I also struggle with allotting the necessary time and energy to do the hands-on projects that require my assistance. We tend to run out of time in our days to get everything done!
What I really love to see, though, is her self-initiated learning. For example, she loves nature. Many Saturday mornings, she will gather her notebook, camera, and bird-identification book and head out for some bird-watching. I have been encouraging, but this has been all on her own. She also loves to discover lizards, bugs, and flowers, and will often do some research on her own to learn more about what she has found outside.
I’d love to hear how you encourage delight-led learning in your home!
Visit the TOS Blog Cruise this week to get more ideas for instilling the love of learning in your child. I’ll be there AND will be taking notes!