How to Teach a Love of Learning

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These Sonlight children love to learn!

Sonlight seeks to promote a lifelong love of learning, but what helps children love to learn and what can hinder that outlook? Let's look at some possible answers.

When I asked my wife about this topic, her first response was, "Parental attitude." In observing the behavior of our four homeschooled children, parental attitude really does make a strong impression, either pro or con depending on the attitude we exhibit as parents.

For example, did we have a bad experience with math when we were children? If we vocalize a negative attitude, our kids may inherit our bad attitude about math. If, however, we express positive experiences about learning, children will notice.

Siblings, too, can influence one another, pro and con, when it comes to whether or not a love of learning is cultivated or smothered. As parents, we need to keep an eye on sibling interactions and, where we can, encourage a love of learning.

Access to positive learning tools can also stimulate a love of learning. This means, for starters, maintaining a good library of resources in your home. Supplemental videos, too, can help, so long as they are engaging and of good quality.  Maintaining a learning home is helpful, too. If kids don't have access to stimulating educational tools or are in an environment that is not conducive to learning, developing a love of learning will be more challenging.

Knowing the learning styles of children can also help parents better shape the homeschooling experience, so that a love of learning is promoted rather than stifled. Children are unique individuals, so we can't expect them all to learn or thrive in the same ways, but we can seek to understand how each child learns best and cater to those strengths whenever possible.

Great, engaging literature also stimulates a love of learning. When children connect with characters in a story, they can't wait to read more about what happens. If a story is worthwhile when it comes to its message, children can develop a love of reading, which in turn contributes to a love of learning. Conversely, bad literature can hinder a love of learning. Children may begin to think that books are "boring" and have nothing to offer. That's why Sonlight spends a lot of time selecting quality, engaging literature.

There are many other points we could add that can either help or hinder a love of learning. What do you think helps children develop a love of learning? What do you think hinders it?

Robert Velarde

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