Most young children begin their educational journey with an eagerness to learn. A few years in a classroom and suddenly their favorite subjects are lunch and recess. Although kids are not going to like every school subject, it’s essential to teach them to take ownership of their education and develop a love of learning.
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The very first year I began to homeschool, I asked my son what he wanted to learn. He insisted he wanted to learn to read, and by the end of that year he was reading. That simple question has continued every year with each of my kids and has taught me the importance to include them in lesson planning.
Over the years my kids have wanted to learn about dinosaurs and how their bones are found, medieval time weaponry, how to identify birds, and so much more. I have used their requests in our lessons whenever possible. They became junior paleontologists one afternoon with an indoor dino dig, our history study of medieval times included building mini catapults, and we spent an entire year studying flying creatures with science curriculum from Apologia. We enjoyed studying birds so much that bird watching has become a family hobby.
By incorporating my kids’ interests into our school lessons, they can take ownership of their education. They are more eager to dig in and study topics that pique their curiosity and develop a love of learning.
Every student will have subjects they want to avoid. For example, none of my kids eagerly requested to learn long division. Shocking I know! When I noticed the use of a calculator when not allowed, I address a heart issue. One of my children struggled with math, and just wanted to push through the assignment to get it done and over with. Kids must come to understand the only person they are hurting are themselves.
When my kids realize that not every new concept will be easy, we are able to work together better. For math challenges, I have learned to occasionally add hands-on math application projects both in and outside the classroom.
Regardless of what you have planned for your next homeschool year, take time to listen to your kids. Find out what they want to learn, and encourage them to take ownership of their education. Even their less favored subjects can improve once they develop a love of learning.