I've had people ask me what the Love of Learning looks like in action. For many people, the "look" is very different than what they are used to. We have a kindergarten-aged son who, like many young boys, is not known for his interest in sitting quietly for long periods of time, yet that doesn't stop him from learning. It certainly makes his learning look different, though.
If you've read the book, you know that reading to your kids is one of the most important things you can do. Math, on the other hand, isn't as simple. Or is it?
My wife is really good at matching learning materials with kids. She recently bought several math story books and we've read them to the littles numerous times. They teach counting and number recognition. There may be some basic adding and subtracting built into a few of them. They aren't complex at all, but they are interesting to kids.
Our little guy can write his name on his paper (and even the coffee table), but that's all we've ever encouraged him to do with writing letters or numbers. He'll get it when he's ready. Here's where the Love of Learning philosophy kicks in. The other day I walked into the kitchen to find him sitting at the counter with a paper in front of him and a pencil in his hand. He also had a ruler and was neatly copying the numbers one through twelve on the paper. We never asked him to do this. He saw the ruler (an opportunity) and decided he could make one of his own.
Granted, this is one vignette is not going to make him a genius. What it does do, however, is demonstrate how a child who loves to learn will find opportunities to learn in his own time. That little ruler incident provided more opportunities for me to talk with him about numbers. At that point, he was interested in learning, so the time was right.
You may have heard me discuss the need for the homeschool parent to provide opportunities for learning, but the concept goes both ways. Sometimes we provide the opportunities and sometimes our kids provide the opportunities. That's when it's up to us to seize the moment.
By now most of our kids have started their Christmas vacation and the end of 2020 is now in sight. Whether you are of the homeschool persuasion that slows down your schooling during the holidays or you are the type that uses this as a chance to make up for lost time, the end of a year presents us with the opportunity to reflect.
What has worked? What hasn't? What can I do differently in 2021? Which of the changes brought on by COVID will I stick with? One thing that has stood out to me lately is the fact that education is about far more than just learning academics. While reading and writing are important, education is also about shaping character. Have you used a year of loss to sharpen the edges of your child's character? Are you taking advantage of the time you have with your kids to mold them into the men or women God has designed them to be?
Change, disappointment, and fear can all be channeled into one amazing opportunity after another. Each time something goes wrong, we as parents have the chance to turn it around. Sometimes all that's needed is a long hug. Other times it's wise counsel and sometimes it's up to us to create a new opportunity.
What new opportunities will you be seeking in the new year? How will these opportunities shape the character of your kids? Don't get so focused on the curriculum and the lesson plans that you lose sight of their character. Teachable moments abound in the homeschooling world. Take advantage of them. Sometimes it's best to put the books away and just talk. Or go do something fun with your kids so that talking can happen more naturally.
You know your kids. You know what makes them tick. Make it a goal this year to talk with your kids in new ways. Quite often, when we look for new ways of talking, we learn new things and, in turn, create opportunities to shape their character.