Sunday, August 28

Not Back to School pt. 5

How can I best give my children a life long *love* of learning?

Now that we are figuring out the way God created each of our children to learn - here are some ways you can instill in them a LOVE of learning! Learning is not mundane and boring! If it is - stop what you're doing, don't give up - there is hope! Here are the basic subjects and creative ways to make learning FUN!

Math - math games galore (and here and here and here and here) practical applications of math, math in the kitchen (I was recently sent an ADORABLE math in the kitchen dvd to review - watch for it soon!), math in the grocery store, visual math, manipulatives! Our younger kids use Flip Over Math books which are very visual and our older kids work through Saxon math. Saxon could be very monotonous, which is why I avoided it for years, but a homeschooling mama friend pointed out to me that I am in control of the lessons and I can work them however I like - and so we do Saxon some days but not all, odd number problems one day and evens the next and so one, with lots of games mixed in. Our kids do their Saxon math work on scrap paper so I can re-use the books. I've also not had to pay more than $10 for their books shopping ebay and homeschool used book sales.

Language - journaling, journaling! Journaling covers spelling, language, vocabulary, creative writing! You can either choose to give your children a journal assignment or let them choose what to write about. We switch things up. Some of the things my kiddos have done is: make an acrostic using the letters of their name that describes who they are....write a poem covering their recent Bible reading - Andrew's recent poem was a hoot! All about a wise man who chose to read his Bible. The kids have been reading the a chapter of Proverbs each morning...they've copied portions of scripture of their choosing, illustrated something from our history reading....illustrated a verse from Proverbs.... give the kids some fun vocabulary words, explain their meaning and assign them a number of sentences to write using them. These short stories always come out funny. Our younger kids also play a lot of word and letter games and puzzles but each have their own journal because they want to be like their older siblings. So sweet. :)

Now for the spelling portion, read over the journal entries, no red lines or marks on it, please, just re-write the misspelled works correctly at the bottom of the page and ask them to look them over and see how to spell them properly, if a grammar rule has been ignored you can look up the rule and have them write it out in their journal. We can encourage our kids to use colorful and descriptive language and if they've written rather plainly, suggest some more descriptive language that would convey their thought.

History - If your state doesn't dictate what they have to learn - ask your kiddos what they want to learn! Our kids chose ancient Egypt, ancient Greece and ancient Rome and so we've hopped into ancient Egypt with a mess of library resources and books found on the cheap via We have hieroglyph stamps and a book that shows in detail a pyramid, a story about a slave girl seeking freedom, and reading about the Egyptians fear of their many gods has brought to life so much from the Biblical account of Moses. Greek food and Egyptian food and Italian food will find its way to our table. We're making maps and finding where ancient cities were on the globe and curling up every afternoon with pillows and reading aloud. We're also wandering down rabbit trails, specifically a book my dad loaned us, a true story about a French boy who was captured by the Mohawk natives in New York, which covers our need for covering New York state history (a state requirement).

Science - when I asked our kids what they wanted to learn about, they asked to look under our microscope more, study rocks and fossils, paleontology, and inventors. And so we're using Jonathan Park for paleontology, visiting a local cave next week, reading biographies about inventors, collecting rocks, and using books from and the library. Rabbit trails abound in science, empty cicada shells are brought inside, a mama duck on our little homestead successfully hatches her eggs, a grub (shudder) is found in a chunk of firewood... Follow every rabbit trail.

Music - we have an ancient piano for lessons and have been listening to some great stories of composers with their music from the library. We're reading about orchestras and I can't wait to get the kiddos to a production of the local city's symphony to see and hear it in action.

Art - I earmark art projects I find online (another reason pinterest is awesome!) and we do one a week. We did this project last week and they came out awesome! So much fun! We also live in an area with several colleges that have art galleries which are free to visit. With a quick check online I can see what artists are being featured and whether the exhibits are kid friendly and appropriate.

Language - for now we're teaching our kids German, since Sean speaks it fluently. We use Pimsler cds, which are very good, in the van on road trips and lots of colorful German picture dictionaries and online games (and here and here and here, also here). We're thinking of having our kids learn another language also, something more culturally useful like Mandarin Chinese or Arabic. That decision is still up in the air but once we decide, we will invest in a Rosetta Stone homeschooling course.

Do you have a favorite resource or method to instill a love of learning? Please share!


Kathleen said...


Your posts about Home Schooling have got me so excited that I want to Home School my friends kiddos until I have my own. This one makes it sound so fun.

Emma said...

Hannah, a big thank you for sharing this!! I bookmarked your post and am planning on using your suggested websites as my sons get older.

My husband and I unschool our boys. We follow many of the ideas and teachings of John Holt. His book Learning All the Time is well worth the money ($10 through and free shipping) I plan on following it this year as my oldest son is kindergarten age. We read tons of library books, we can order kits that contain a book and a talking book cd on all kinds of subjects. My son is fascintated with this. He is learning all kinds of science things as we request books and kits on sharks, dinosaurs, lions etc. etc. and he is also being exposed to language and the written word while listening to the talking book. We alo use Leap Frog dvds, this is how he learned his letters a few years ago. The Talking Letter Factory not only helped him learn his letters, it made him very, very interested in the alphabet. We do science experiements. My son is asking me questions all the time--how big is a shark's tooth, how fast can a cheetah run etc. etc. I am using google all the time. So I get out our measuring tape and show him how many inches a shark's tooth is, or when we are driving in our car I will show him and tell him how many kilometers a cheetah can run. These are just a few ideas we do to incorporate a love of leaning. We also use the internet for games and the tv a lot. There are so many interesting dvds, one of his favourites is Planet Earth. It makes the experience so much more real when he can actually see what an alligator, for example, looks like and does. Then, by watching an alligator, he wants to read about it, get a kit about it, learning all there is to know. So, really learning just happens naturally. We don't have school, summer holidays and such. We just learn, and have fun. I've learned so much also.

Oh, one more thing that we do that may be of interst to you. There are literally hundreds of interesting math story books for kids. We read a cute one called The Greedy Triangle and then we acted out the story, to help him learn his shapes. If you type this title in on amazon, it will give many more recommendations of math story books. So, I look up the recommendations on our library catalogue and request some. It's amazing what you can find--dinosaur math story books, construction math story books etc. etc. Whatever your child's interest, I can just about guarantee there's a cute math story book out there to help them make a connection with numbers. I absolutely love my library card!!!

rebi edel said...

thank you so much for sharing! First of all I'm checking out maths. The others will follow.
Have a wonderful day!

Unknown said...

Great post!!! :) I just posted our school ideas for the year...I love how "delight-driven" you are!! I've needed a tad more structure so far so we use book lists from Charlotte Mason and some stuff from AmblesideOnline. :)

You are some awesome ideas!! Thanks for sharing!

Sally said...

I was so excited about this post, I got reading fast, and I think I missed half of it :)

Kimberly said...

What a wonderful post! Can't wait to hit the links when I have the proper time to do it.

I think one of the biggest, and often more neglected ways, to instill a life-long love of learning is pretty simple. They need to see US still learning. They need to see us struggle and remaining excited about a new task or subject. They need to hear about what we are reading and learning. And it should be things beyond what we need to just teach them. They need to see us learning for our own sakes.

I've seen too many homeschooling moms "too busy" to read for themselves. What message does that send to our children? Just my thoughts.

Unknown said...

As a teacher, I'd say it's still important for kids to practice their spelling (not just look over an adults correction) but this doesn't have to be boring - they can chant/sing it, write it in different colours, make it out of pipecleaners/clay/cookie dough yarn, what ever works for that child.

Also, another book that might be good for your New York State history is Farmer Boy. It's part of the Little House series, but about Laura's husband, Almanzo, when he was young. I've read it (or at least the start) to so many grades - I used to only use it for Grade 3 up, but recently I've started reading it to younger kids and they love it too!