Ingredients to Building a Life-Long Learner

Art Projects in a Scrapbook

I love being a homeschooling mom.

It gives me a really good excuse to play and to continue learning with my children.

But this post will not be another sentimental post about the days past but rather a post about how important I think it is to create a learning atmosphere in your family life.

It is something that any family can achieve and it doesn’t cost a lot of money.

Coffee Table books

1. Books: Quality books whether you own them or you borrow them from the library contribute to a learning atmosphere. Pretty books all lined up on the shelf are not valuable unless you actually open them and then read them. I have observed that setting out a few books on a table or low shelf will generate some interest. I use my coffee table in the living room since we seem to gather there in the evenings. Pick a few books to feature each week. I change my books when I swipe the dust off the furniture in the living room….hopefully once a week.

Displaying Art and Saving the Memory

2. Art Supplies: Keeping a stock of simple art supplies accessible and in sight will generate opportunities to be creative. Choose your inventory according the ages of your children.Participate alongside your child and model how to use the materials appropriately and then allow them some freedom. Let them create a mess or a masterpiece…it is all about the process of learning to think creatively. Make a place to display favorite pieces of artwork – the front of the refrigerator, a wall in your hallway, a board in your school area. After displaying, file away the most treasured pieces. I take photos of artwork and put them in their scrapbook instead of saving every single piece. I frame artwork and it really does contribute to the happy atmosphere in our home. Creativity is an aspect of learning that will be the foundation of so many good things in adulthood. Whether your child goes on to be a stay-at-home mom, to be self-employed, or continues on to college, being creative is something that will help with critical thinking and problem solving. You can find some ideas for art supplies on my Squidoo lens: Art Supplies for Kids.

Adventure Boy Style

3. Spend time together every day: Share your child’s world. Watch for interests as they pop up and then try to build on those interests. Expose them to as many things as you can including great music, great art, people with passion, and opportunities to try new things. This simple idea has generated a whole way of homeschooling in our family. We are a partly structured and partly project-based learning family. The projects are many times built on activities that I see my boys enjoying. I would have never known my son’s interest in baking, his interest in videography, or his desire to learn about medicine if I didn’t watch and listen to him carefully. All of these things we have explored as part of our school life but they spill over into his free time as well.

Travel Books

4. Share adventures: This is a variation on #3 but it takes it to a new level. Spending time away from home, whether it is in your near-by park or on a far-away road trip, builds a shared learning experience and levels the playing field with your children. This is the time you can follow their lead and let them chose the activity. Visiting a new place opens up a world of learning opportunities around your whole family and as you experience it together you are fostering that learning atmosphere. You are not expected to know everything and you can model how to take in knowledge, feeling the sweet satisfaction of learning something new. I have learned far more as an adult alongside my children than I ever did in my school years. Modeling that will help your child see that self-education into the adult years is a wonderful way of life. Learning doesn’t have to begin and end with official school days.

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