|By Karen Pennebaker|
Every time I hear someone say they don't have time to learn anything new I wonder what they do have time for!
I grew up in a family who read books and magazines, discussed things at the dinner table and loved to learn. When I was growing up, I most likely thought that was how everyone lived.
Of course, that was in the "dark ages" before everyone had TV, long before computers and video games and when you had to go to a theater to watch a movie.
History is one subject that life time learners should brush up on. They will discover that formal education isn't how people learned until the Industrial Revolution.
Before that, children learned from their parents or tutors. Children who see adults interested in learning will pick up on that interest. If they see their parents spending all their free time watching TV or scrolling through Facebook, what are they going to think the rest of the world does?
If their parents read, have hobbies, make crafts, cook from scratch, etc., then they will pick up on this and get interested in various things.
From what I know about children, they all like to learn. Most of them are not happy doing traditional school work for very long at a time. So it falls back on the parents and teachers to make learning relevant.
This time of year, homeschoolers and public school children alike would rather be outside than cooped up indoors "learning".
The advantage of home schooling is you can go outside and learn.
You can learn the multiplication tables on a swing in the park just as well as sitting in a classroom. I am a great believer in unschooling.
When a child shows an interest in a subject, you use that interest to the fullest. With a small child, you teach the basics using that interest as a focus.
With an older child, you encourage research, experimentation, writing about the subject, and anything that encourages learning new things.
Yes, everyone should know how to read, how to write legibly, and how to do basic arithmetic. Once a child can do those things, there is no limit to what he or she will be able to learn. The teacher should be a mentor, not a dictator.
If you have children in public school, keep track of what they are learning. Make sure they learn to make good choices, to think critically and not just absorb and parrot facts that they don't understand.
One of the most important thing any child should learn is how to make good choices in life. Too many adults today were never given the opportunity to learn this skill.
It's not magic and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to be able to learn this skill.
Growing up, we all make some bad choices but we should learn from them. Allowing your children to learn decision making is much more valuable than all the things money can buy.