Hey, that’s the point, right? We all want to be able to learn anything for ourselves. And we want to keep learning our entire lives. So, as educators, how do we encourage lifelong learning? Here are 5 simple steps — things to focus on when developing a lifelong learner:
Lifelong learners are explorers. They are curious and interested.
When your child or student expresses an interest in a topic, feed it. That is the surefire way to encourage and develop someone’s curiosity. Let your student work at his interest until that interest wanes.
You’ll find plenty of ways to continue to feed the fire here:
- 6 Ways to Encourage Your Children to Pursue Their Interests
- 4 Ways to Provide Time for Productive Interests
- 14 Ways to Plan Studies Around an Interest
Home educators instinctively know this. Must be in the genes or something. We began reading to our firstborn around the age of 2 days old. No kidding. And we never stopped.
Begin by reading aloud to your children. Do this early. And often.
As they learn to read provide them with age-appropriate books: books that challenge them…just a little.
Then they will be ready for chapter books, after which, they are off and going.
- Create an age-appropriate reading list. Our list started with the Bob Books and progressed through Paradise Lost, and books on economics.
- Continue to read aloud — even after your children can read to themselves.
- Make time in your schedule for reading. If you don’t schedule it, it will not happen.
- Make reading the basis for many of your content studies, such as history.
As you feed your child’s curiosity you’ll be amazed at how much they learn about their favorite subject. When they (or you) don’t know the answer show them how and where to find it.
Provide your student the tools he needs to find out anything for himself.
Thinking takes time. It falls in the be category rather than the do category. For this reason it can be deceptive. It takes deliberate effort to encourage those who will sit and think. It takes focus to create a time for just being — thinking.
Again, scheduling this time is crucial to the process. All children need time to just be — unscheduled time that they can spend with their own thoughts. This is when all of this information and curiosity form into thoughts that can be told.
What goes-into will goes-out of. Telling, writing, narrating, creating — all part of the lifelong learning process. And one that is a natural expression of the other four processes.
Creativity finds its way into many, many different outlets: words, performances, drawings, mechanical devices, and simple conversations.
Think out of the box. In other words, don’t expect a written report every time.
7 Ways to Identify Real Learning
This is what we are aiming at.
Process vs. Product
You’ll get more bang for your buck by investing in the process rather than forcing a product!
8 Things to Make Time for … No Matter Your Method
Another way to look at it.
Creating a lifelong learner.