As home educators it is a good idea to include the children in what they study and the order in which they study subjects. They don’t go to a school and thus don’t have to be in a situation where they are told what to do and when to do it. However, even in brick and mortar schools the students get to pick some of their courses as they get older.
Tiffany and I were talking the other day about this subject. Well, we were talking about how she dawdled getting her lessons completed once she was old enough to do them independently. We brainstormed some ideas that might have helped her focus a bit better.
One of those ideas was to communicate clearly that she could do her studies in whatever order she desired. I made a checklist of things that they had to do but she didn’t realize that she didn’t have to do them in the order listed.
Involve the Child in Planning
Another idea is to allow the student to pick a topic for the month or even just a week. Or pick an overall subject and then pick weekly topics to study. There are a lot of ways this can be done. By allowing the child to have some input into what they are to study, they are a bit more motivated to do the studies.
Another thing that we did do was to rotate between science and social studies; we did not study both in the same month. You can have a broad topic like mammals and the first week they can do some basic study about what a mammal is and make a list of them. Then they can pick a specific mammal to study the next week. Or have them pick a water mammal, large mammal, or small mammal to study each week. Oh and by the way, mammals are vertebrates, so you can study what that means. There are different types of mammals, see this website for some information.
Older children can be encouraged to dig deeper into the subject or find an unexpected example of the subject . . . e.g. the armadillo is a mammal. You can have each one write some questions about the topic (with their corresponding answers) that can be used to play games for review.
A Child is More Apt to Enjoy Learning about a Topic of Interest than Something Chosen for Them
Talk with your child about what you think is important that they learn and find out what they’d like to learn. Then find a way to include them in planning out how they learn.
It is still important to have times of study together, in as a group . . . Bible sharing/teaching and read aloud times are just two ideas of this but it can be anything you need to do with everyone. Teaching your child how to study independently is an important skill too but you don’t want to sacrifice family bonding.
Even the Youngest Child can Make a Choice
You can start this process even with very young children. It starts with letting them pick which outfit they want to wear or what they want to eat (choice 1 or choice 2). It can progress to do you want to play with this toy or that toy or do you want to play with clay or color.
As they get older, they can choose between learning about fire trucks or polar bears or whatever else you give as an option. This helps you learn your child’s preferences and can help you tailor their education in a way that delights them.
I hope this gives you some ideas on how to help your children enjoy learning. After all, learning is a lifetime endeavor, not just something done as a child because someone makes you.
Until next time, God bless,