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Keep the Joy of Learning Alive, Even If You’re Not Homeschooling

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Keep the Joy of Learning Alive,

Even If You’re Not Homeschooling

By Linda Dobson

homeschoolingA preschool child in a new environment is a wondrous sight to behold. Her eyes light up as each new stimulus turns the ever-burning spark of her intrinsic curiosity into fire. All that natural child energy rises to serve her as she plunges into exploration, moving from one discovery to the next in perpetual motion as she feeds an insatiable hunger for meaning and connection. She is nothing short of a little learning machine.

Fast-forward to your child’s school years. In a paper he wrote, Nicholas H. Apostoleris asks, “Is a declining love of learning as children grow developmentally appropriate and inevitable? Are the learning environments a factor? Is it love of learning which is waning, or is it a love of the subjects taught in school?” (Apostoleris’ papers are available here, but to give away the answers, they are no, yes, and the latter.)

Take a Habit of Homeschooling Families

A useful habit for homeschooling families is to do everything possible to keep your child’s love of learning alive or rekindle it if something, usually a series of unpleasant learning experiences, has extinguished it. Rick Martin, a teenager in a Seattle suburb, knows why his parents saw a change in him after he attended kindergarten. “I was being forced to learn,” he recalls. “By the end of the year I wouldn’t complete the art projects I loved at the beginning of the year. Pure and simple, I was becoming depressed with school,” Rick realizes.

See also “These 6 Scientist Traits Will Help Your Homeschooling

His mom, Janine, knew Rick as energetic and strong-willed and saw the very qualities she loved about her child slipping away. “In order for Rick to get re-energized, I knew I had to give him as much free rein, educationally speaking, as possible,” says Janine. “So when he got home from school, I made sure his time was his. I knew he felt as if his beloved art had been ‘stolen’ from him at school, so I purchased more drawing materials and left them on the coffee table. After a few weeks I saw him doodling again,” Janine remembers. “Within two months he was painting up a storm again, as well as reading about twenty books each week – no kidding! He was glad to do it ‘his way,’ and I was just thrilled to have my little boy back.”

Want to know more about helping your child enjoy learning? Check out Linda Dobson’s books, including The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas, to get you going!


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