How to Foster a Love of Learning Outside the Classroom

Since the beginning of the Pandemic and the start of distance learning and homeschooling, I have been screaming from the ceiling that the only three things that matter this school year are: 1.Your child maintains a love of learning, 2. Your child maintains good mental health, and 3. You maintain good mental health.

To that end, we partnered with Laura Pearson, founder of an online resource for parents and teachers, to help guide us. Below are her tips for you.

Laura writes:

All children are different, and while some thrive in the classroom, others struggle. When coursework is a challenge for children, they tend to withdraw and can even grow resentful of learning as a whole. It’s understandable — the constant feeling that they’re not reaching expectations erodes their self-esteem and hinders their ability to be present in the classroom. 

Discover How the World Works 

If your child is struggling with scientific concepts, exploration and experimentation might be the solution. In the classroom, science is mostly lectures and diagrams, with the occasional experiment thrown in. However, kids often respond best to getting a chance to discover how things work for themselves. 

Embrace this curiosity with some backyard science experiments. These can be as simple as exploring the yard with a magnifying glass or as involved as gathering yard items in a bucket of water to explore different densities. If you want to help your kid burn off some excess energy, try a super fun hot air balloon experiment. Not only will they be amazed as the balloon begins to rise, but the process of running through the yard to fill the bag with air will work out some of those mid-afternoon zoomies. 

Get Gaming 

Many parents shy away from video games due to screen time limits and expert recommendations. However, the guidelines on screen time are shifting away from simple prohibition and toward effective screen usage. That is to say, if your kids are learning during their screen time or using it to connect with friends and loved ones, it’s not bad for them—in moderation. 

To that end, look into setting up your family with a gamer station. Games have a lot to teach children, from storytelling principles to hand-eye coordination, rhythm, and more. Plus, thanks to virtual reality technology, they don’t even have to be stationary these days. Take the VR game Beat Saber. This game will have your little one learning how to recognize rhythmic concepts while getting in an excellent workout. If you have a solid WiFi connection, your child can even play against friends online. 

Lean Into Creativity

There are plenty of kids out there for whom core classes just aren’t going to create that spark of excitement for school. Often these kids will respond well to art and music classes. Unfortunately, these are being phased out of many curriculums. Make an effort to bring these concepts home instead.

For example, you could help your child write their own song and make a video or recording to share with friends and family. Or you can check out cool art projects which encourage creativity while teaching artistic techniques and concepts. You might be surprised at just how much your little one can do. 

The most important part of bringing creativity into your home is to encourage agency. If you’re doing crafts together and they want to go off-book, let them—even if you know it won’t work. Making decisions and seeing how they play out is a really important part of development. It’s much better for your child to see that you trust them to make their own choices than it is for their handprint art to look perfect in the end. 

Kids struggle in the classroom for a variety of reasons, from learning disorders to anxiety to just plain boredom. However, if you focus on their interests and talents outside of the classroom, you can combat the self-esteem issues that often come hand-in-hand with poor academic performance. Plus, you might just help them figure out the learning style that works best for them!

We hope you enjoyed this guest blog by Laura Pearson, founder of an online resource for parents and teachers.

For women’s mental health and wellness tips, look no further than the Nurtured Well blog.

Photo Credit: Pexels

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