Why do we stop learning?
You come into this world with an insatiable thirst for knowledge only to be relieved you don’t have to learn anything else by the time you leave school. What kills that curiosity?
Anyone who’s ever spent any time around a 2 year old knows first hand the never ending thirst for knowledge they have. Nonstop questions are expected at this age.
There comes a point and time in every toddler’s life where someone teaches them that their quest for knowledge is irritating and unacceptable. They learn that asking questions doesn’t give them answers it just makes people upset and irritated with them.
Most parents have been that teacher if they’re completely honest.
Stop Asking So Many Questions
Busy, stressed out parents and overwhelmed, overworked teachers are the main killers of every child’s quest to learn everything they possibly can. Now don’t freak out on me for stating the truth, I have also been that parent.
As a parent we aren’t taught the importance of our child’s desire to learn. We aren’t told how to teach a child to focus this desire into something productive. Instead we’re told it’s a faze that they thankfully grow out of.
We merely put up with it or get tired of it and unknowingly squash it.
What do we learn in school?
Have you really taken the time to think about how our public school system teaches your children? Or do you just assume that everything must be fine and go about your day?
Or maybe you’re a parent that knows something is seriously wrong but does nothing to proactively push for change?
There is a reason why homeschooling, and alternative schools like Montessori are becoming such a rage today. Parents are starting to wake up and realize that public schools do more harm than good.
Not just parents, but teachers are also getting fed up. They are tired of the politics and bureaucracy that limit their ability to be effective in their work.
As an adult, try to picture yourself having to sit in a classroom for 8 hours a day reading the most boring books ever created on subjects that hold no interest for you.
Oh wait a minute, you did that. Are you having flashbacks? Did that motivate you to want to learn? Or was it just a necessary evil that you had to attempt to get through before you could “do what you want “?
I’m not here to bash teachers. I believe that for the most part, teachers are doing the best they can given the restrictive nature of their jobs. Many teachers feel their creativity is stifled. But that’s a whole different story.
Our schools are designed to teach the basic facts on each subject and get as many children to memorize those facts as possible to get high scores on standardized tests. That’s it.
If you want your child to be able to think outside of the box and be innovative or allow their creative minds to be led by their own curiosity, they won’t achieve that by memorizing facts all day, every day.
The public school system was created for a rising industrial nation that no longer exists. As things shift and change so should how we teach our children.
Why We Hate Learning
By the time a student graduates from high school or college, they are so burned out. They are relieved to never have to learn anything again.
What if there was a school that allowed children to learn about anything they were interested in? All that was required was that they chose subjects they were interested in and put in the time learning about those subjects.
Children would quickly figure out what they want and do not want to do as an adult. They would definitely not hate learning. They wouldn’t spend hours memorizing facts they soon forget, and that have nothing to do with their ultimate career choice.
So What’s the Answer?
- Be patient
- Think outside of the box
- Be open to alternatives
- Push for change
- Encourage a love for learning
Patience isn’t easy. Especially when you have a million things to do and you’re feeling frazzled. Quick to do breathing techniques are my go-to in these situations. It’s freaking amazing how well they work to quickly calm you down and help you deal with your chaotic life.
Another great tip for those with children that are questioners. Ask them questions. I’ve found that many times when a child starts asking endless questions, they are merely looking for conversation.
Have an actual discussion. Help them learn to focus their thoughts on just one subject at a time. This will help them in every area of their lives as they grow.
Keep in mind that there are great resources available to help you focus your child’s curiosity in a productive manner that will instill an enjoyment for learning. You don’t have to do it all, or even know it all.
One great resource that I found years ago and recommend highly is Rainbow Resource. They offer over 40,000 educational materials for all age groups and interests imaginable. Omg their catalog is amazingly huge at almost 4 inches thick. If that’s a bit overwhelming to you their website is great too.
This company is mostly geared toward homeschoolers, but there are some really great unit studies, science kits, and learning tools for all ages and every interest available.
Think outside of the box
A love of learning can be encouraged wherever you are and wherever you go. Taking a walk, a trip to the park going to the grocery store or library are all great times that you can incorporate learning into your child’s life in a fun and enjoyable way.
Encourage your child to cultivate their interests. Find someone locally that’s knowledgeable in the subject they’re interested in, and that you trust to be your child’s mentor. Many adults would love the opportunity to mentor a child. Especially those that are empty nesters or retired.
Teaching your child basic life skills is probably my favorite. My kids really surprised me when they got so excited to learn basic skills that we as adults take for granted. And it was so easy to do!
Be open to alternatives
Alternative Teaching methods
- Self directed learning
- Interest led learning
- The Montessori Method
- Steiner/Waldorf Method
- The Harkness Method
- Reggio Emilia Method
- Sudbury Teaching Method
- Experiential learning
- Charlotte Mason
- Carden schools
- Progressive schools
Push for change
- Attend Board meetings
- Ask questions
- Learn about academic standards and performance
- Become an advocate for change
- Talk to the principal, staff, and even school district to find out how any concerns that you have may be addressed.
- Educate yourself on new and alternative teaching methods
- Write your senator and congressman
- Start a group
- Start a movement
Encourage a love of learning
The very best way to encourage a love of learning, is by example. Be a learner yourself. Your children will see the example that you set for them and see the results of how learning and expanding your life creates more opportunity and freedom as an adult
They will be shown that learning is a lifelong endeavor that is inspiring, rewarding, and produces results.
For Further Reading: