When you ask most homeschool parents what their goals are for homeschooling their kids, an answer you’ll hear time and time again is “I want my kids to love learning” or “I want my children to hold on to the love for learning they had as little kids.” As homeschooling parents, the love of learning is even written into our personal homeschool’s mission statement: “The mission of our school is to create lifelong learners…..”
How in the world do we hold on to this love of learning for our children? How do we keep them from being bogged down in our schooling and the things of life? We’ve found the answer has been to cultivate an attitude of adventure throughout our lives and their childhoods! We’ve been purposeful from the time our children were very young to point out the positives in each challenge and to teach them to learn from their(and our!) mistakes. Here are four of the top ten ways we continue to cultivate an attitude of adventure in our family:
We are willing to press pause….on the schoolwork. Is schoolwork important in our homeschool journey? Yes! There are certain concepts that our children need to know and have to practice. However, they’ve got years to get the concepts before they actually have to know them! If an opportunity arises that takes your family on an adventure, work the schoolwork around it.
It’s ok to take more than 9 months to finish a textbook or a subject. If you’re in a state that requires documentation, make sure you are hitting the necessary information and leave out the clutter in the curriculum, and document their learning from your adventures. As long as you are meeting the requirements and showing growth, you are doing your job correctly. Your kids are going to learn more from time together doing something fun and engaging than they ever will from a textbook or worksheet. Be willing to put the schoolwork away for a real-life learning experience.
We invite our taste buds along for the ride! Nothing is more adventurous than trying something you think will be gross and then discovering it’s pretty good! As kids grow, their tastes will change and they will be open to a whole world of experiences. From the time they are young, keep offering new foods and they will learn that trying new things is not a bad idea.
Everyone has foods that are favorites, but be willing to bring new foods into your home or try new restaurants from time to time. With the advent of Pinterest, there’s a plethora of recipes available with a simple search. You can even make it a family project to find a recipe for a new ingredient and work on it together.
“That sounds/looks fun, let’s try it!” has become a regular statement in our home. Before children, I’d never done a ropes course, climbed a rock wall, or even thought I’d spend hours watching people tackle obstacles. Now, these are all regular occurrences for our family, and we love doing them together. Do I look like the most fit person in the gym while we are there? Not by a long shot, but I’m on the wall with my kids, and they are going to remember Mom up there climbing with them. We are enjoying a challenging activity together, what could be more of a family bonding adventure?
You don’t have to climb a wall, but be open to new activities and adventures with your family. You never know what could spark a lifelong love or talent for your child or family! We would have missed out on many fun memories and bonding experiences if we had not been willing to try a new activity together.
“Do as I say, not as I do,” doesn’t work when you’re working hard to cultivate an attitude of adventure for your children. If you want them to be lifelong learners, and see that there is joy in learning as you grow, you’ve got to step in and learn right along with them! (I know I am so preaching to the choir here! What homeschool mom doesn’t keep learning?) Instead of just learning along with your children in their schooling, let them see you grow your skillset as they grow up.
If there’s been something you’ve always wanted to learn, but put it off, while your kids are homeschooling is the perfect time to start learning that skill. Just think, if you learn a little bit of that skill each year your child progresses through schooling, you’ll be 13 years in by the time they are done. 13 years of progressing towards a goal gets you a lot closer than waiting until they are done to start working on that goal.
Even better? When the kids see mom/dad involved in learning something new, they will become involved as well. The two skills I’m working on are photography and Spanish. One of my children has also fallen in love with photography, and it’s given us something to share and bond over. One of my other kids is picking up Spanish better than I am, simply by hearing my lessons and practice! Show your kids that you are willing to learn a new skill and the payoff will continue for years!
These are just four of our top ten ways to cultivate an attitude of adventure in your children. Look for Part 2 next week where we will talk about scary goals and selective friendships….
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