A wise man named Socrates once said, “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” What the philosopher meant was that a sign of an excellent education isn’t just the delivery of knowledge, but also the instilment of a love of learning.
Dr. Dale R. Hoyt, the Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Hartford, states, “Our educators are cultivating an integrated, innovative and rigorous curriculum that promotes lifelong learning and fosters development of the whole person.” In other words, in addition to our students doing well academically, we also want their search for knowledge to continue well throughout their adult lives. Accordingly, here is an example from our Sixth Grade Language Arts Curriculum Standard: “Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others; become a responsible digital citizen.”
So while our schools are working hard to develop your child’s love of learning in a lifelong context, here are some things that you can do at home to reinforce that desire at any age. After all, learning begins at home with you, and when it comes to educating your child, we are in this together.
- Be enthusiastic about your child’s learning. Ask about the school day and its lessons. Show an interest in your child’s homework and work completed. Children really do like it when you hang their A-graded papers on the fridge. You have a huge influence on your child, and when you show that learning is important to you, it really will make an impact.
- Share your own experiences of adult learning with your child. Discuss how proud of yourself you are when you learn something new. Learning can include anything from figuring out how to program your DVR to following a new crochet pattern.
- Engage in learning activities with your child. Whether you are watching an educational TV show or playing an educational game, you can show your child that learning can indeed be fun, plus you will be spending quality time with him or her.
- Promote critical thinking. Give your child opportunities to problem-solve and make his or her own choices (as long as they are not detrimental to the child).
- Introduce your child to new learning experiences, especially those that meet his or her interests. Visit a museum. Go book shopping. Enroll him or her in a painting or martial arts class.