Four Ways to Instill a Love of Learning in Your Kids

learning
Image via Katie Hurley

There is a lot of talk about test scores and accountability in the world of education today, and many classrooms are experiencing a shift to increasing rote learning as the common core curriculum takes center stage.  While teachers do their best to make learning fun and engaging in the classroom, memorization can be boring for kids (particularly kids with a passion for creativity and projects).

Now more than ever, it’s important for parents to help inspire young learners inside and outside of home in order to instill a love of learning. 

Curiosity is innate.  Babies begin to explore and test their muscles the moment they gain just a little bit of control over them.  And when they develop a grasp?  The possibilities are endless.

Parents play an important role in ensuring that curiosity continues over time.  Kids might have to memorize math factors and spelling words in the classroom, but they can take those facts into the real world and build on their knowledge.  And parents can help make sure that learning is fun.

Four ways to instill a love of learning in your kids:

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Image via Flickr/endolith

Be passionate:

My daughter’s kindergarten teacher loved to travel.  She told a lot of stories about her trips and talked passionately about the places she still wanted to see.  Week after week my daughter came home with interesting stories and hundreds of follow up questions.  We spent afternoons at the library reading about the places her teacher described.

When parents share their experiences and areas of interest with their kids over dinner, their kids become passionate about learning more.  You can read as many books as you want, but stories about real experiences are fascinating and engaging for kids.  They hang on every word and often replay these stories in their minds for days to come.  

 

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Image via Flickr/USDAgov

Get out into the world:

It’s one thing to read and talk about the fact that tadpoles grow into frogs, but wading through a pond in search of tadpoles and frogs is an entirely different story.  Classrooms are limited by the resources they have, but parents can take kids out into the world to engage in experiential learning.

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Hit up your local duck pond, find an interesting museum, or just go hiking as a family.  Get out there and learn with your hands.  Kids are more engaged and have more fun when they can get their hands dirty.  Prioritize fun family adventures to show your child that learning is fun.

 

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Image via Flickr/lisaclarke

Make it fun:

Just because the homework seems a little dry and boring on paper doesn’t mean that actually has to be boring.  Take a few minutes to find some fun ways to get through the dreaded homework hour.

Treasure hunts and scavenger hunts are always a hit in my house, so I incorporate the weekly sight words and math factors into the fun.  You can also try sight word bingo or obstacle courses that include a spelling word at each stop.

A little creativity can go a long way toward getting through the parts of learning that aren’t always fun for kids.

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Image via iStock

Learn together:

Do your kids ever ask complicated questions that leave you scratching your head?  Mine do.  Admitting that you’re not sure about something and then taking the time to learn together makes learning fun and engaging.

While Google always comes through in a pinch, it’s more fun to get out into the world to get an answer to whatever your child happens to be wondering about.  When we let our kids lead and take their questions seriously, they learn that their thoughts are important and interesting.  And when we take the time to actually learn together, we inspire them to keep seeking answers.

How do you inspire a love of learning in your kids?

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Four Ways to Instill a Love of Learning in Your Kids

Katie Hurley, LCSW is a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and writer in Los Angeles, CA. She is the author of "No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls" and "The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World". She earned her BA in Psychology and Women's Studies from Boston College and her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. She divides her time between her family, her private practice and her writing. Passionate about he ... More

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4 comments

  1. Nat says:

    I love using youtube for those learn together moments! great ideas this could easily be titled “how to homeschool” most parents don’t realize that they are doing a lot of the teaching of their kids. I know local public school second through fifth graders who have 2-4 hours of homework a night and I always think to myself “Why do they go to school then? Mom is doing all the teaching at home anyway why spend the time at school?”

  2. Cheryl says:

    Common Core does not increase rote learning. It is a shift AWAY from it. Please read the standards themselves, along with the old state standards, and compare the two. Then look at released test questions from the California CST test and compare them to sample test questions available online from the new SBAC. All this is available online with a Google. Mind you, high-stakes testing such as the CST and the SBAC is a terrible thing, and test scores are being increasingly misused in our education system, but rote learning and Common Core? You’re misinformed.

  3. EbyMom says:

    My toddler watches children’s program and there is a particular episode that names fruits and also counts so once he sees the same picture in the book he immediately identifies them. So when we go shopping I take him to produce section and he sees those pictures live and you will see that he is excited and those images will never erase from his memory. I totally agree with this blog on exploring the world and it’s realities with your kids.

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