Welcome to my homeschool blog, which offers insights into loving learning, loving your family, loving history, loving homeschooling, and enjoying your life! With your cup of coffee in hand, take a break to laugh with me, to have your heart refreshed, to be reminded of how cool your kids really are, and to consider the amazing adventure of being a homeschool mom. AND, if you are interested in the History Revealed curriculum, be sure to check out my Teaching Tips!

Should Learning Be Fun?

As you begin reading this, check in with your own heart. Are you already feeling a bit defensive (“That’s a CRAZY idea! No one would know grammar if learning had to be fun!!”)? Or, perhaps a bit guilty (“Oh, NO! She’s going to tell me I’ve been doing this wrong!”)? Or, even a bit intrigued (“Is it possible that I would have liked school if my teachers had thought learning should be fun??”)

Give them the key 

What we are pursuing here is what will give our children the very best education for them. If your academic goal for your kids is to give them a love of learning (along with proficient skills needed to learn), then finding the optimum environment for that love to develop is a primary task. It will, in fact, give them the key that will unlock the marvels and mysteries of any subject, anything they want to know.

This is where the paths diverge. Some people strenuously believe that students will learn life lessons of perseverance if they are set an unpleasant task and held to it until the task is completed—and that that is the best path toward an educated person. Think “unyielding.” (I’ll address that in a moment.) Others believe that if fun enters the equation, it ceases to be educational and becomes merely entertainment. These folks think “real learning” isn’t happening unless it’s painful. Think “stern.”

What would happen if our kids actually enjoyed their learning experience? How motivated would they be to do more? How much deeper would their learning be?

Not What I am Suggesting!

As I’ve presented this concept through the years, there have been comments like, “You make it sound like we’re supposed to always put on a show to entertain our kids!” So, let me quickly assure you that that is NOT what I am suggesting!

Instead of education as entertainment or a “it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you have fun, dear” approach, think about how you can honestly connect learning information—subjects like science, history, geography, music, art, math, literature—with what interests YOUR child. You don’t have to do it every moment of every day for every subject, but if it happens regularly, in ways that makes them sit up straight with wide eyes to say, “Really??? We get to do that????”, then you have used the power of fun to help your kids develop a love of learning.

Start small if this seems really unfamiliar. Every day, read a chapter or two aloud from a funny book that will make your kids laugh. Take a field trip to a living history museum. Build a birdhouse together and watch for baby birds in the spring. Have them do puppet shows of their latest lit book. The list is nearly endless.

Finally, let’s consider the issue of perseverance and its place in homeschooling. Of course our children need to learn how to persevere, how to develop a “don’t give up” attitude. My only question: where is the best place to learn this? For those who suggest that having children persevere through their math problems, even when they’re crying, I would counter that those children are, indeed learning. But what they are learning is different than what the teacher assumed. Rather than learning to persevere in math, those students are learning that math is painful—and to be avoided at all costs—and that mom and dad are unyielding and unsympathetic to the child. Even though that’s the last thing you want, it’s what makes sense to the child, it’s what seems self-evident to their child-brains.

So, with that in mind, a far healthier place to develop perseverance is something NOT connected to academics (since you want them to learn to love learning!). Instead, why not set up a chore chart to teach perseverance, diligence, and how to do a distasteful task with a good attitude?

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April 2024
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