When kids love learning, they will be able to learn whatever needs to be learned in any given circumstance. It won’t be terribly crucial if they are “missing” something. Their curiosity will drive them to find a way to satisfy that appetite. They will fill in missing pieces because of their urge to know. This is what happens when kids love to learn.
The children are hungry! They have an appetite for knowing and experiencing.
It is the strong, real world that interests them so much, where the unexpected can happen and there is wonderful mystery.-Susan Schaeffer Macaulay For The Children’s Sake
My Experience Starting Out Homeschooling
When I started out homeschooling, I relied almost completely on my experience as a public school teacher. I printed out the state standards for Kindergarten. Using this as my guide, I was confident I was going to give my child a solid education!
We began our year, doing the same work that kids were doing in school. We did not have a classroom and schedule like everyone else, but we were doing essentially the same work except with a little more freedom and flexibility.
As we worked our way through the year, I started noticing something that I did not expect. What I observed was that my son started to WONDER. He was curious about everything.
- Look, there is a bug on that leaf. What is it? A bee. Oh, what kind? What is the bee doing? What does a bee eat?
- Why is the sun at noon directly above our house in summer, but at noon in winter, it is along the tree line?
As we encountered real problems in our home or out in the world, his curiosity grew. In the afternoons as I read story after story to him without limitations on what we read or how we read it or how long we read, he wanted more. He had more questions.
“Keeping Up with Kids in School”
My determination to “keep up with the kids in school” shifted as I found that we were doing more than the state required in some ways.
And in other ways, some of the things he was interested in or I thought were important for him to learn didn’t line up with what we were “supposed to be learning” for that year. I found that he was absorbing and retaining so much in addition to what I was teaching him.
He was fascinated by the world around him and had a zest for learning. At home, we were able to get our school work done in a few hours leaving him with an afternoon of free time. With a condensed school day, short lessons, quality time with books, free time to imagine and to create, to go outside and play, I watched my son thrive.
This is what happens when kids love to learn.
Yes, he still had mornings that he didn’t want to do his lessons. We had our moments arguing over his work. There was still the hard stuff that he had to diligently plod through, but his school work was done in a relatively short amount of time leaving him free to do the real learning that was most important to him.
After School Hours: The Real Learning Begins!
And what did he do when we finished?
He would go out and shoot his bow and arrow in the yard. Or finish the book he had started the night before.
Sometimes he would go outside and figure out how to put the chain back on his bike. Other times, he might find a snake in the yard and want to keep it, so he would research everything he could about what a snake eats, what a snake needs to survive. As he encountered real-life problems that only happen in the real world, he wanted to try to solve them.
More than ever, he wanted to explore, to grow, to produce.
He wanted to learn.
My heart swelled as I watched my child THRIVE in the pure freedom of learning for enjoyment!
I have observed this same experience homeschooling all our kids.
Stifling Their Curiosity
When I think of the alternative of my kids sitting in classrooms all day (especially now with so many kids having to wear masks for long hours or even sitting at home in front of a screen cyber-schooling), it makes me sad to think of so many kids learning for long hours of the day this way. It is a poor match for a child’s developmental needs, especially young children.
When kids are stifled by their environment, they will grow to despise learning. And when they hate learning, it doesn’t really matter what we teach them anymore, it will not sink in.
I suggest that the opposite is also true. When kids love learning, it’s not terribly crucial if they are “missing” something. Their appetite will drive them to find a way to satisfy that curiosity. They will fill in missing pieces because of their urge to know. This is what happens when kids love to learn.
Extraordinary Kids, Ordinary Parents
Here’s a question. Have you ever met a homeschooled child who surprised you in a good sort of way?
His mom must be a teacher….or have oodles of patience….or have the right personality- a supermom for sure!
I’d like to suggest that kids like this are a reflection, not just of their moms (and/or dads) who homeschool them, but of homeschooling itself!
They are a reflection of a child set free. A child fed a rich diet of beauty…and given time to reflect on it. They are the outcome of a childhood of one-on-one time with a person who is invested in them for life.
Have you ever considered that maybe these kids have ordinary parents? That being in a home environment can be a wonderful place to learn?
Could it be that the reason some kids are thriving in a homeschool environment is because the homeschooling model encourages a love of learning?
What happens when kids love to learn?
Here are some things I have observed when my kids love learning something.
- Are motivated.
- Experiment and try new things.
- Create and imagine.
- Solve problems. When they don’t understand something, they find a way to figure it out.
- Take ownership of their work.
- Get excited about their ideas.
- Take initiative for projects.
- Are always learning new things.
So, though our schedules, curriculum, and plans for the year have their place, let’s not forget to help them love to learn. While it is important to work hard and push through some of the tough spots of school, remember to give them space to enjoy it all.
Our children are hungry. Let’s give them something REAL. As Susan Schaeffer Macaulay writes in another place, “Life is just too interesting for boredom!”
Hi, I’m Sheri! I am a Christian saved by grace, married to my high school sweetheart, and a thankful mom to ten incredible kids. I’m a former public school teacher who never thought I would someday be a homeschool mom! Drawing on 13+ years of homeschooling experience, follow along to find help for getting started, tried and true homeschooling advice, life skills learning, simple Morning Time ideas, and interviews with everyday homeschool moms just like you!