I have found with being a parent first, working with kids in the school system, and then homeschooling my own kids that there is a defined path to learning. I call it 3 C’s, curiosity, creativity, and courage. It seems that education follows a rigorous path with its own agenda of teaching kids what it feels is important. What I don’t think is considered is that for the child to learn something they first must be interested. The challenge for those in education is to connect the child’s interest in the education that the system requires. The most important focus should be on not losing the child’s spirit of learning.
Curiosity is a natural quality that we all possess. Some of us entertain our curiosity more than others. You can see curiosity in a baby’s eyes at the age when they start reaching for things. For example, while being held they see big hoop earrings hanging from your ear and they move when you turn your head. As the baby reaches for the earring, he/she is curious about what is and attempts to grasp it. They don’t know that if they do, it will hurt your ear until it happens. There are many encounters of curiosity as kids grow because there is so much to learn about the environment around them.
Curiosity is only the first step in learning, but it is an important one. It sets the tone for what a child will learn in a given moment. Too often I have seen this destroyed in young children. They are halted to be quiet from asking too many questions or told to sit still and not engage in their environment. These types of rules only make the child less curious over time from being trained in the hands-off approach to their environment. Engaging the 5 senses should be encouraged in the learning process for children when possible. Allowing children to ask questions until their curiosity is piqued should be encouraged. Furthermore, children should be allowed to explore their environment. A child’s environment should be kid-friendly filled with books, learning toys, things that they can create something with like boxes, crayons, paper, play dough to name a few.
Creativity should always be allowed to be expressed. It is one of the things that makes us unique individuals. Creativity can stem from the imagination, ideas, even curiosity. Though we are naturally curious, our creativity needs to be learned. This is an opportunity for parents first and teachers second.
Parents should be the first to introduce creativity to their children. Sometimes it’s as simple as allowing kids to be kids. Give a child a big box and observe how many ways they use it during play. I remember using blankets to make tents all over my bedroom as a child. What could your child create if left without restrictions and given all that they need to create something?
The practice of being creative can benefit the child and adult in some of the same ways. Those ways include problem-solving, expression of one’s uniqueness, and with learning. Creativity integrated into learning is necessary, especially because we may each have our own way of learning something. In education, there may be more than one way to solve a problem. If the child is struggling with a problem, discover a way that helps he/she understand it better, that’s only one way how creativity can be weaved into learning, but there are other ways.
Courage is something that needs to be taught to kids. It plays a key role in the learning process. Courage can look like a lot of things, so it’s important that kids have a good understanding of it. One thing I have learned about courage is that you can’t have courage without fear. Often kids are taught to not be afraid, it doesn’t matter what it is. But fear is what brings about courage and having courage allows them to step up. The negative side of fear is that it hinders their progress because it causes them to give up.
There are several ways courage can be displayed. Sometimes the brave acts of courage don’t look so brave. Courage is often identified in gestures like standing up to a bully or rescuing someone from a dangerous situation. But courage can also be introducing yourself to someone new, walking away from a hurtful situation when you have done all you can do, doing a math problem until you get it right, or standing up in front of people sharing something you have done. Courage in education is what keeps kids energized to learn more and more. Sometimes, as parents and teachers when we see that courage is missing, we must affirm it for that child. Our response should be one of praise, example, and coaching them through the process.
When attempting to build a solid foundation for learning it’s hard to not embrace the pieces that make it a true learning experience. Curiosity, creativity, and courage are the natural and necessary components that build off one another. It’s hard to have one without the other. I not only encourage you to promote your child or classroom in expressing themselves in the 3 foundational pieces, but I also challenge you to provide the environment and situations for them to feel comfortable doing it.
For more tips and learning about ways to engage your children in learning visit our Homeschool Heals Facebook page or read my blogs at the following link,