There have been many benefits that have come from the way that we’ve chosen to homeschool. I could talk about the relationships we have as a family, the great moments that we’ve spent learning together, and the opportunities for fun and learning that my kids have had that they would have missed out on had they gone to traditional schools.
But one of the biggest benefits that our style of homeschooling has had is that my children have turned and are turning into lifelong learners.
Lifeschooling in Our Homeschool
We are definitely what I would call eclectic homeschoolers. We’ve used a mix of structured curricula and life opportunities for learning. My goal is to do what works for each child. So there are times that I had a child using a textbook for history while another was doing literature-based studies of the same subject, reading great living books to learn.
One of my goals as a homeschool mom was to impart to my kids the idea that learning isn’t something that just happens when you’re completing a workbook and taking a test. And it doesn’t end at some magical point when you are “through with school.” Learning continues on throughout life. I wanted my kids to really embrace this idea so that they could go on to be independent learners who had a desire to continue learning, to find answers, to get new information.
And, guess what? It’s working! I now have two high schoolers and two young adults who are each in college- one at a four-year university, the other at our local community college. Both of my college kids have commented to me that they are constantly surprised at how many college students can’t learn independently. Both of my kids have done this without any trouble because they’ve been learning independently for a long time now. They are truly lifelong learners who know how to learn what they need to when they need to.
So how can you encourage your kids to learn through everyday life and become lifelong learners? Here are a few ways.
Get excited about learning yourself.
I don’t have to fake it. I love to learn. My kids know this. I’m constantly listening to educational podcasts and reading books and looking up any information about a subject I’ve become engrossed in. I love to learn.
Even if your natural response isn’t to love learning, find a topic or two you are interested in and get excited about learning. Let your kids see this excitement. When we show kids that learning can be exciting, then they’ll develop that desire to learn about new things as well. And they’ll take every opportunity to dig deep and learn.
Model for kids how to learn.
What do you do when something in your home breaks? Maybe you need to research a car that you are going to buy. Perhaps you are interested in a new diet that you think will benefit you. When something like this comes up, how about modeling for kids how to learn?
Find books. Search online. Talk to people who know about your problem or situation. All of these are ways to learn what you need to. And when you are doing these things, talk to your kids about it. Show them how to learn what they need to solve a real-life problem or to understand a real-life issue.
Take advantage of real-life learning opportunities.
We recently got bees. Actually, my husband got bees. The rest of us are just sitting back and watching for the most part. But this beekeeping venture has been a great way to take advantage of a real-life learning opportunity. Why not learn all we can about bees?!
When things like this cross your path in life, take the opportunity to learn. Are you going to start keeping chickens? Building a house? Buying a car? Remodeling? All of these provide real-life learning opportunities. The whole family can take advantage of these learning opportunities, and you can learn through the real life that’s happening all around you.
Creating this excitement about learning in real life situations and equipping kids to learn by modeling for them results in lifelong learners. You’ll have young adults who can- and who want to- keep learning through real life.