In my interactions with other people throughout school and in the professional world, I have noticed a marked difference between those who love to learn and those who do not. Generally, people who love to learn are more adaptive and are able to pick up new hobbies, tasks and assignments with ease. They are able to carry on interesting conversations on a variety of topics. As they age, people who have continued to learn throughout their lives have better memories and are often happier than those who have not continued to learn. One of the best ways to help a child be successful in school and in all other areas of life is to encourage a love of learning.
When I want to stimulate my son’s imagination and encourage curiosity I like to take him exploring. We don’t necessarily need to go anywhere exotic so that we can find new things. There is a world of adventure waiting in our backyard or even down the street. There are many different ways that you can help your child experience new things or look at the world from a different point of view. Here is a list of ideas that you can use as a springboard for coming up with ideas and adventures for your child:
- Visit a local zoo or museum
- Take a road trip and stop at historical landmarks along the way
- Visit the ocean, a lake, or seashore
- Go to a farmer’s market
- Do service at a retirement home
These are only a few of the things that I have done in order to open a dialogue about worlds outside of our experience. Doing new things will help children develop a bigger vocabulary. Knowing many words can help children recognize written words that they haven’t seen before and better understand the things that they read. It is also a great way to help children recognize that learning new things can be an adventure.
Take time to talk
Discussion allows adults and children to explore new ideas without even leaving their home. When you and I talk to our children about current events, relationships, values, and other things, it is important to establish a safe environment where our children can feel free to express their opinions. When it comes to many topics, there is no right or wrong answer, but the journey of discussion helps us to develop our thoughts and to learn to think critically about issues. While learning, at its most basic level, involves memorizing facts, higher learning requires critical thinking and the ability to question. A child who questions things is often much more open to learning than one who does not.
Reading books is another way to experience the world from a different point of view. When I read with my son, we not only build a bond of trust and shared experience, we also are able to develop creativity and learn a variety of different things. High reading fluency is the single most accurate indicator of success in school. It is also a marker of a child who loves to learn. According to studies done by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), students whose parents read with them frequently during their first year of elementary school received significantly higher scores at age 15 than those whose parents did not read with them on a regular basis.
As we teach our children to have a habit of daily reading, as we read to them, and as we talk about the things that we have read, we are fomenting a habit of lifelong learning that will not only help in school, but that will also foster success in other areas of life.
Get involved in their education
When children are in school, it is important that we encourage them to talk about the things that they are learning. Being involved in their education means more than just making rules and helping them get good grades. If your child doesn’t naturally want to share the things that she learned in school, you might consider contacting her teacher so that you can bring up topics that go along with classroom study. By helping children see how classroom learning relates to the real world, they are a lot more excited to learn.
People who love to learn have many advantages in their schooling, in their jobs, and in their relationships. As you follow these tips, you can help your child to develop a love of learning and education.
Guest Post By Emily Taylor, writer and supporter for SchoolTutoring.com.