“It’s quiet time, boys. Go ahead and play while mama works.”
Every afternoon I lay my toddler down for a nap and stick my boys in their room to play for a while. Then I settle in at my desk to edit podcasts and blog posts, watch a few moments of an online class, or draw. While I do learn best in a semi-uninterrupted state (let’s face it, that’s the best it gets if they are awake) I do talk to the boys about what I’m doing. I want them to know that mama’s still learning, still dreaming, still doing.
Education doesn’t end when you’re finished with school, whether that’s high school or college. My husband is pursuing his Ph.D. currently and I’m chasing #personalgradschool, where I’m learning to do bits and pieces of my work better. The boys see this and it changes the way they look at school too.
One of the things I love about homeschooling is that it doesn’t relegate learning to a 7:30-3:00 time slot for nine months of the year. We follow a year-round schedule for this reason and try to have a reasonable flow between “school” activities and life activities that are just as much as important a part of education.
If I can teach my boys anything through educating them at home I want to teach them to love learning. I don’t want them to get to a point where they think it’s easier to not grow or pursue something new. It would be easier at times but not as worthwhile.
Modeling life-long learning can be as simple as saying, “I don’t know the answer. Let’s go look it up together” to pursuing your own degree but here are some cheaper and less complicated ideas than a Ph.D.
1. Read books. Let your kids see you reading. And I don’t mean what I wanted to do when I was reading Harry Potter. (There’s a reason I don’t read much fiction and it’s because I don’t want to put it down until I’m finished.) Tell them what you’re trying to learn. Read a few pages while you’re waiting in the car or while they do a workbook page.
2. Learn something new– with the kids or alone. Family projects can be a great thing to do together. Later this fall we’re all going to start learning Spanish. Learn to knit or sew or do woodwork. Learn to play the guitar or learn a coding language. Talk to them about what you’re learning and why just like you talk about what they are learning.
3. Listen to podcasts. Podcasts are one of my favorite ways to learn because I can play them while we’re cooking and traveling and don’t have to stop life to get something new.
4. Subscribe to a magazine or take an online class. You don’t have to have a classroom setting to learn something new. The world is technologically smaller and there is so much available for just a little bit of money.
5. Talk about education as a privilege not a punishment. Don’t quit fun things to do school; take school into the fun things (Although I certainly think there’s a place to just buckle down the do the work. We all need to do algebra- even if I’m still sure I don’t use it in everyday life). Don’t make school the downer whether you actually go to school or do school at home.
6. Refer to learning as part of life and not something that only happens in school. We learn at church and in our personal Bible study. We learn reading and listening. We learn going to concerts and attending lectures and watching documentaries.
Curiosity sparks a fire in the mind that can grow and grow as you age. I want that for myself- and force myself to chase it when it would be easier to just cook dinner and get everyone in bed- because I want that for my kids too.