This week’s focus is CURIOSITY, QUESTIONING, AND HAVING FUN.
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”
“What we learn with pleasure we never forget.”
Last week we talked about keeping the big picture in mind, seeing the end from the beginning. That is a great start. But now you have lessons to complete and projects to do. How can you keep children focused and wanting to learn? School should not be miserable!
I understand that this is a time of attempting to embrace challenges you were not prepared for, parents. Your example of grace under fire will speak volumes to your family. You won’t be perfect everyday. But children will pick up on your willingness to do your best to jump into their education for this short season of time (even if they don’t say they appreciate it all right now!).
At any age, we need to be engaged to be actively learning. The BEST way to engage the mind is to come to any learning with questions.
Let’s take an example. You are working on reading. Before your child opens the book have them come up with as many questions as possible about what they are going to read. Example: Why do you think the author chose that title? After looking at the table of contents, ask your child what he/she thinks this book might be about? What seems interesting about this book? Are there any pictures to give you clues about the story line? Stop often while reading and either you ask the child questions about the content, or have them come up with questions to find the answers to. This takes practice. But it will engage the mind and hopefully foster more enjoyment in the work. This works very well with any subject. Most of us are very familiar with this in the field of science. No matter what, asking questions and becoming curious, is the foundation to stimulating a love of learning. Learning new things IS fascinating and can be very exciting. Give it a try. YOU will enjoy the school work more as well!
An excellent example of what I am talking about is the curriculum called Five in A Row by Jane C. Lambert. She offers a couple of volumes to cover ages 2-9 years. She integrates many different subjects around excellent picture books. My daughters and I have very fond memories of the wonderful books we read using this curriculum. I HIGHLY recommend it.
Having trouble with math? When you are asked why they have to work on all the math problems, give them plenty of real world examples. Math is everywhere. It is in the kitchen, in the garage, in the sewing room, in arts and crafts, on the construction site, in music, and on and on. When we understand WHY we need information it helps us all engage. Ask them to go on a hunt for all the places they can find math being used. Offer the classic question starters:
WHO WHAT WHERE WHEN WHY and HOW
Who uses math in their jobs? What kind of math is used most often in …..? Where will I ever use math? Why do I have to learn algebra? How can I have fun with math? You get the idea.
To answer the last question about having fun with math, try another favorite book of mine called Family Math by Jean Kerr Stenmark. There are great short fun games to play to reinforce all sorts of math concepts. This book offers so many ways to make math interactive and is a welcome break in a day with lots of worksheets!
One last way to increase engagement in a subject and have fun is to physically move with the information.
Jumping jacks to the times tables – walking and reciting history facts to a little tune like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star – marching in place while reviewing parts of speech, or the elements on the periodic table, or the bones in the body.
Remember, right now, it is not about coming up with all your own material. For now, just take the material that is part of your child’s schooling and do what you can to add curiosity, questions, and a bit of movement and fun. Enjoy your week!
Our very own Georgeanne at nuHealth is a master Home Schooler due to her home-schooling 4 daughters, yes, that’s 4! She’s homeschooled for 10+ years, creating curriculum, leading co-ops, as well as spending some time teaching at a private Christian school. She loves designing content and finding ways to creatively include important facts into what she’s teaching, while using methods that interest the children she works with.