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Learning is a discovery, an experience, and a marvelous, creative journey (or at least, it can be!) But sometimes learning is also messy, slow, loud, scattered, spontaneous, and completely unorthodox. This can leave parents feeling frustrated that learning is taking too long or wondering if their kids are really learning anything. But could parental haste actually be hindering learning? Judge for yourself as we take a look at three things that are counterproductive to learning.

Rushing Being in a hurry is the enemy of learning because learning takes time—it’s that simple! Sometimes we are in a hurry because we are impatient. Sometimes we are in a hurry because we have not given ourselves (as parents and teachers) enough margins to be still and wait for our children. Many times, we are in a hurry because we are overcommitted. Taking a look at the calendar, together as a family, is an opportunity for parents to help their children learn about time management. An empty calendar doesn’t always indicate an absence of learning; sometimes it means that you are making more time for discovery!

Sitting Although busyness is a deterrent to learning, spending most of the day sitting indoors doing copy work is not the most effective way to learn every subject. For many kids, sitting still for long stretches of time crushes learning. There are several alternative options! The first is games. Bringing a hands-on approach to learning is a great way to learn critical thinking skills. Another option is to go outside and explore your big back yard. Build a fort, search for constellations, or make treats for birds and keep a log of all the ones who come to visit. Playing games helps children learn, and it also helps create a love of learning. Once you have made time on the family calendar, be diligent to avoid time-wasters like constantly checking social media, texts, and email (again!)

Talking There’s a difference between talking and teaching. Telling your children how to do everything and correcting every misstep crush learning. Instead of lecturing, consider asking your children questions like:

  • Who can tell me what we learned yesterday?
  • Today we’re going to learn about this lady. Look at her clothes. Where do you think she lived? When do you think she lived? What makes you think that? What else was happening in the world when she lived?
  • Ants are getting into the hummingbird feeder. How could we solve this problem?

And then listen to your children wonder about their world. Wondering is good! Thinking about things in a new light is how discoveries are made. Talking is one of the ways that many children process their world, and listening to your children is one of the ways that we show them that we care about them. It shows them that their thoughts are valuable, and it helps instill confidence. But listening takes time. Are you seeing the pattern?

When parents slow down, there is time for learning– learning about reading, writing, and arithmetic, and also learning about one another. Meaningful family conversations are one of the greatest parts of a home education! Slow down, and enjoy the journey!

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