It’s easy to kill your child’s curiosity, but what can we do to encourage curiosity? Is it something we can support?
To me, there is nothing quite so sad as a child who is bored by everything.
I’m not exactly sure how this happens, but I hope there is a way to recover their sense of wonder.
Encouraging curiosity is rather simple and doesn’t cost a fortune. Our interaction and response to the world around us provides all the opportunity needed. So what can we do to pass this wonder on to our children?
The Power of Strewing
Strewing is one of the most influential tools in your homeschool mom toolbox. It seems so simple and casual, yet it’s ability to encourage curiosity is great.
The power of strewing comes from its lack of expectation.
Strewing doesn’t come with a schedule, tests, or requirements. It’s an open-ended invitation to be curious.
The difficulty for the homeschool parent comes when our invitations are declined. What do we do?
Gracefully accept the declination. It doesn’t mean that the invitation will never be accepted, it just isn’t something they’re curious about right now.
Allow Time for Boredom
Boredom is hard to find in today’s world with information and entertainment at our fingertips, but this passive consumption comes at a cost.
Our children are rarely bored, and many parents see it as their duty to ensure their children are always stimulated. The words “I’m bored” sends many a mother scurrying to find something to keep their children engaged.
But perhaps we need to disengage sometimes?
Why do some of our best ideas come while in the shower? Maybe because there is nothing else vying for our attention?
The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.
Our children need a little boredom to wrestle with their thoughts and ideas. It’s hard to wonder why the sky is blue and the trees are green if all your time is spent in a car, staring at a device, while being shuttled from activity to activity.
Give them the gift of boredom which will allow them time to wonder and ask questions about the world.
With six children in the house, discussions are often chaotic, but they are so crucial to creating an atmosphere that encourages curiosity.
Of course, there are the Big Juicy Conversations, where you tackle all those deep, interesting thoughts and connections. But there are also the smaller interactions which create the foundation for the Big Juicy Conversations.
Whether it’s discussing a news story or an interesting video you saw on Facebook, those conversations have the potential to spark an interest that requires further investigation.
My job is to take the time to have the conversation and respond to further questions. I won’t have all the answers, but I can take the time to help them find the solution.
Value all Learning
Valuing all learning seems hard when you’re listening to a 45-minute monologue about Minecraft, sports statistics, or a Disney show plot, but look a little deeper and think of all the skills they are cultivating.
They recall a significant amount of information. They organize and convey that information in a manner which someone can understand. If it isn’t understood, they find another way to explain what they want to convey.
Our STEM-focused world values Calculus and Coding while rolling their eyes at Art History or Literature, but even Silicon Valley is beginning to question this mindset.
We should widen our understanding of learning from the eight subjects per day of school and instead embrace the infinite possibilities of learning everywhere.
Ask Real Questions
I prefer to ask real questions. My children find it patronizing to be asked a question to which I already know the answer.
And so do I. Don’t you?
Why do we do this? Probably because we spent our entire childhood answering questions for people who already knew the answers to prove we were learning.
But asking real questions, to which none of you knows the answer, will promote curiosity for everyone. Or even better, maybe your child knows the answer and can teach you.
The older they get, the more this happens.
Pursue Your Interests and Self Education
As a mother of six, pursuing my interests and education can seem an exercise in interruptions and frustration, however, this is one of the most powerful ways to encourage our children in a life of learning.
Why is this so important?
Because they need to see learning as a lifelong endeavor, not just a box you check and call it done.
School was a series of boxes I checked, but learning never ends. It’s everywhere.
To see you struggle to do or understand something, let’s them know it’s okay to struggle. When you’re excited by your achievement, they see the value in perseverance.
Encourage Curiosity in Our Children
My highest goal as a homeschool parent is to have curious children who want to know more. Isn’t this the greatest gift I can give them? Won’t this lead to a fulfilling life?
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
I think so.
Adults who have lost their sense of wonder and curiosity become jaded pessimists who see life as a tedious exercise in futility. This is not a comforting thought.
Let us encourage curiosity and give our children a rich life full of learning.
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