HOMEWORK! HELP! is a blog series for parents written by Tutor.com’s Vice President of Instruction, Joan Rooney. Follow the posts and stay tuned for more tips on surviving the homework wars with your kids this school year!
Have you ever noticed how naturally curious young children are? They want to know what snow is and where cheese comes from. They go through that “why” phase: “Why is the sky blue? Why doesn’t the moon fall out of the sky? Why are your keys in the refrigerator?” They love being able to count and name things. They want to reach and grab and try new things. How can we nurture that spirit and encourage our children of all ages to become lifelong learners?
School sometimes has the unintended consequence of making students think that learning is short term or temporary. “ I need to complete this assignment to get a good grade.” “I need to learn algebra to pass the state test or the SAT’s.” Of course these are important goals, but parents play a unique role in encouraging students to continue learning outside of assignments and class work as well as in reinforcing and enhancing that learning.
Here’s a few ideas parents can try to instill a lifelong love of learning in their children:
Provide new experiences. Parents and communities often introduce children to sports. Consider also introducing them to art of all kinds, musical performances, science museums, parks and farms. Explore together the resources of your community.
Discuss your interests with your children or develop new interests together. Are you interested in the organic or locally grown food movement? Do you love the theatre? Are you a history buff? Seek out farmers’ markets, local galleries, open studios, high school or college theatrical performances, historic homes or buildings, or botanical gardens with your children.
Attend to your child’s interests and strengths. Budding scientists, engineers, musicians, artists, teachers and astronauts start at home. Parents can help nurture a child’s interests and create a lifelong passion.