We often associate “learning” with schoolwork. But learning isn’t an activity; it’s a process. That process can be happening, or not happening, at all times. Most of your child’s life will be spent outside the classroom (be that the traditional classroom or the homeschool classroom), so why not start teaching them now how to learn actively ALL the time? These activities all help stimulate an active learning process and, in so doing, help your child develop skills that they will always be able to apply, both inside and outside of the classroom.
1. Exploration. Give your child as much time for exploration as possible. Outdoor exploration, indoor exploration. Exploration on their own, exploration with others. Explorations involving observation, explorations regarding experimentation. The more your child explores the world around them, the more they learn through experiences, and the more they discover ON THEIR OWN. This empowers them to learn independently, which increases their overall capacity for learning.
2. Free Time. Give your child time to do whatever they want to do. Children innately love to learn, and if they have free time, they will often spend it learning something new. Choosing what they do also helps them discover their own talents and pursue their interests. It encourages them to be creative, because they have to come up with what they do instead of just following directions. You’re child comes to you during free time and says they’re bored? Great! Boredom isn’t a problem – it’s an opportunity that can greatly stimulate active learning.If your child is regularly complaining about being bored, here are a few ways you can help them.
3. Mixing with Multiple Age Groups. Make sure your child regularly interacts with children their own age, as well as older and younger individuals. We learn a lot from others, and mixing with different ages on a regular basis can help your children learn many skills (social skills, communication skills, justice, etc.), and can also let them learn things through others’ experiences, ideas and feelings.
4. Reading. Books bring us into other worlds of fantasy, fiction and reality. Books let your children experience the world from an author’s perspective and grow their creativity through the imagination of others. They introduce your children to areas of learning they might never otherwise see or hear of. They increase your child’s vocabulary and their own ability to communicate. They awaken a thirst for knowledge; many children, once they have realized how much they can learn through books, won’t want to stop! You’ve given them a lifelong learning skill that can help them at any age and with any topic.
5. Encourage your kids to make “inventions”. This not only stretches their critical thinking skills, but also requires them to learn how things work and come up with creative solutions. You’ll be surprised at how much stuff they can make from “junk” that’s just lying around. They might even come up with viable, if unique inventions that can be useful around the house! Even if they don’t, they’ll be continually applying the learning process and fine tuning their thinking skills.