What are you doing these days? A new job? A hobby? Fixing something? Cleaning the floor in your particular way? If I see you at it, I will probably ask at least five questions about how you do the thing. A child will ask you twenty.
CHILDREN ARE Always, Daily, Learning Something New
Children are born curious. They’re born learners. They want to know why, and they want to know how. We lose our curiosity over time, especially if we are in schools or jobs that offer little more than rote memorization and mindless tasks. When we allow a child to remain curious, we relight the flame of curiosity in ourselves. The child will lead the way.
Let the baby be the lesson
Life is full of learning opportunities. We do not have to be anxious about education. It can happen naturally. When our family was made up of a six-year-old, a four-year-old, and a two-year-old, I was pregnant and worried about the upcoming school year. I was already overwhelmed with trying to “do school,” how could I continue to do it with a toddler and a newborn? A mother further along in the homeschooling journey advised, “Let the baby be the lesson.”
And what a lesson she was! She was a lesson in sibling patience, in baby care, and in responsiblity. But even while the “baby was the lesson,” there was more learning going on than I would have guessed. We read books together, talked and played together, and went on nature outings along with a few family ‘field trips.’ We didn’t intentionally learn, but they still learned.
We lived in a state where we had to assess the children at the end of the year, to see if they’d learned more than the previous year. In the typical fear of messing up the firstborn, I was worried about that assessment. I didn’t need to be worried, as you likely guessed. A child naturally progresses each year over the last. Naturally!
the simplest, most natural acts lead to learning
Even when “the baby is the lesson,” we keep our eyes and ears open to learning opportunities. A child will progress in education even if we only:
- read books aloud
- work on practical skills (such as trades, arts, crafts)
- do daily responsibility tasks (such as chores)
- focus on self-discipline habits
- spend time outdoors
- converse often
Yes, some days are hard, but we can be innovative
We do not need to make excuses.
If it is difficult, for example, to gather the children for reading aloud, enlist help. Ask the grandparents to record themselves reading, preferably, from their favorite books. On his commute, Daddy could speak into his phone and tell a historical story he knows, or speak on a topic of interest to him. Maybe a working parent or a helpful aunt or uncle could help, making audios or videos of:
- poetry (do you have a childhood favorite, or one memorized?)
- math drills (here’s a good one for a commute – speak out times tables or addition facts)
- geography facts
…or other facts that you want the kids to hear or to memorize. Have the child play the file while going to sleep at night, or during daily quiet time.
It is exciting to learn, and even more exciting to know you can learn anything. Imagine! If we open our minds to learning, we no longer have to admire others who are doing something we think we’d like to do. We don’t have to stand back; we can dig in and learn! Children intuitively love to learn – let’s allow them to lead us.