The 7 "R's" To Promote A Love Of Learning
It’s sad that many people—adults as well as children—associate “learning” with boring school lessons, and can hardly wait to “outgrow” it. The truth is, someone who has stopped learning has stopped growing, and is stagnant and barely alive.
If your children groan at the word “learning,” show them its real definition: acquiring knowledge through experimenting, experiencing, or absorbing. It isn’t about memorizing facts or getting the highest grades. It’s about continually challenging yourself to expand your horizons and improve your world—regardless of your age, education, or IQ.
You’ve heard of the “three R’s” of traditional education. Here are “seven R’s” for showing your kids (and possibly yourself!) how to love real learning for its own sake.
- Read. Admittedly, many people groan at “reading” as well as “learning”—frequently thanks to pressure to read “good literature instead of junk,” though in this generation such authors as J. K. Rowling have proved a good story needn’t be either incomprehensible or shallow. In any case, kids deserve not to be bullied into spending their leisure hours on reading they hate—and to choose whether they prefer fiction or nonfiction, graphic or all-text, short or long, online or off. Help them find reading they enjoy, even if it’s not what you’d choose. You may be surprised at the insights and skills they develop.
- Regard. As in “look, observe.” Go to the window and take turns noting what you see outside. Play observation games where you close your eyes and answer questions about what was on the table. Take a break from hurrying through daily duties; really notice the larger world.
- Relate. Set aside regular times when the family shares personal experiences, hopes and dreams, or made-up stories. If your household is neglecting shared meals and bedtime chats, make room for one at least weekly; they’re perfect for getting to know each other better.
- Resolve. Puzzles and challenge games are ideal learning settings as they exercise thinking skills while being genuinely fun. Crosswords and jigsaws can be group as easily as solo activities; checkers and Scrabble lose none of their appeal. Dig out and share the games you loved thirty years ago!
- Review. Encourage kids to look deeper at what touches their lives, be it books, social relationships, or even “I hate broccoli.” Ask questions that require thoughtful answers: “Why do you feel that way? How would you have done it differently? What can you do to make things even better?”
- Romp. Believe it or not, sports and active games are good for the brain: they provide practice in quick decisions and teamwork, and they keep the mind healthy by keeping the body healthy. Of course, not all “active” activities require a formal “goal”; you can learn a lot about personal capabilities, each other, and new ways of doing things by rolling down a hill or wrestling in the basement.
- Rove. Explore and observe new places, indoors and out. Go bird-watching, collect leaves, visit that small museum downtown.
All the above ingrain the truth that real learning is fun. Who knows: they might even help your kids see their “regular” schools with new eyes!