Instilling a Love of Learning in Your Child
To help their child attain academic success, parents must show an active interest in education. This is, in fact, one of the most natural things for parents to do, and it doesn’t depend on their level of education. All you have to do is set aside time every day to talk to your child about school.
Find the time of day your child is most willing to talk about school. If you are a working parent, who is not at home when your child returns from school, make sure that you speak to them as soon as you get home or at least the first chance you get. Making sure that you periodically talk to your children demonstrates your genuine interest in their lives. Also, the lines of communication are kept open and strengthened.
Ask questions. What was the best part of your day? What was the worst? What was your best subject today? What was your worst? What was the hardest? Easiest? What did you do today that you are most proud of? What could you have done better? What experiment did you do in science? Who did you discuss in History today? What do you like or hate most about school? Do you like your a teacher? Why not?
Ask questions about every aspect of school, but be sure to keep the conversation from becoming an interrogation. Show children that you trust them and that you are always in their corner. Your questions should be a jump-off point for a two-way conversation. Try to focus on open-ended questions that require more than yes or no answers.
An essential element of showing interest is to examine your child’s schoolwork and homework. You should always stay abreast of what topics your child is studying, and the activities teachers are assigning. Since report cards are mailed home only a few times a year, this is an excellent way to keep up with your child’s studies and grades.
Be a positive role model. Learning is a life-long discipline. Show your child that you have a love of learning by picking up a new hobby, keeping up with current events, or reading a book. These actions will show your child that not only is one never too old to learn, but that learning should continue throughout life.
Have reading materials available. A child’s success in reading comprehension is directly related to the availability of reading materials at home. Filling your home with culturally relevant books, whether your own or from the public or school library, will develop a child’s comfort with books. He or she will learn that books can serve as entertainment as well as sources of knowledge. Visit the public library often. In addition to loaning books, many libraries have programs and events for every age, from toddlers and teenagers. Make visiting the library a family tradition.
Build on academic learning. Many children think that once they leave school, learning is over. Demonstrate to your child that learning does not just occur at school. One way to do that is to plan family activities that support what your child is currently learning. If your child is studying different animals or their classifications, visit the zoo, an aquarium, or even a farm.
Take your children to local historical sites when that time-period is being studied in history class. Visit government offices to get a firsthand view of how our local, state, and federal governments operate. Teach them the importance of voting and the hardships that many cultural groups had to go through to secure this right. Take the opportunity to talk to them about racial profiling and police brutality. It does not matter where you visit. What is most important is that parents support and enrich their child’s educational experience.
Observe your children so you can find out what interests them. Some children will tell you what they find interesting by discussing it endlessly. Other children need their interests to be drawn out. This just takes a bit of investigation. What topics do they bring up? What books do they check out from the library? What is their favorite subject in school? Start with an area your child already finds interesting. If you are at a complete loss, ask a teacher or one of their friends.
Tie learning to the real world. Children often feel as though they are just learning because the teacher told them to do so. The solution is to connect learning to the real world. To do that you must first find out what your child is learning, then connect it to everyday life.
Educational opportunities are everywhere. While grocery shopping, have your child practice math skills, whether it be counting bananas or calculating sales tax. Have your child map out the best route to the park or mall. Learn about the birds that arrive in your backyard each spring. Practice your child’s new skills throughout everyday routines. Play word games and math games. Discuss what you and your child observe as you each go about your day, apart and together.
Instilling in your child a love for learning is truly simple to do. A parent must first demonstrate his or her own love for learning. A parent can then spark a child’s interest in a topic and continue to fan that spark by showing interest.