To create a culture of learning in your home, it is important to pursue your own interest and passion for learning. According to “Motivated Minds,” parents can increase a child’s motivation to learn by role-modeling. The author gives an example. “My friend Debbie has fond memories of jumping up from the dinner table to find the dictionary or an encyclopedia volume to answer questions and settle family debates. Debbie’s parents taught her the joy of learning by modeling their own. Role-modeling your enthusiasm in the same way will help create a culture of learning in your family. If you do not know the answer to a question your child asks, help her to find it. Search the World Wide Web, visit the library, or call a friend who might know. In addition to modeling curiosity and pleasure in seeking knowledge, you’ll teach your child valuable strategies for finding information.” She goes on to say, “when you can, pursue your own intellectual interest and hobbies. Whether your passion is jazz, photography, reading, antique trolley cars, Civil War memorabilia, or international politics, introduce your child to it. Take your daughter with you to a concert, a political meeting, or to work. Share with your son the fun you’re having and what you’re learning in a gardening or computer class.
Talk about your own passion at home while you do the dishes with your child, or while riding in the car or standing in line at the bank. Mention what interests you have in movies, plays, or television shows you’ve watched together. Share something you learned watching the History channel or in a magazine or newspaper. “It says here that the loss of the Mars Polar Lander is making NASA change its strategy for exploring Mars,” you might say. Or “Did you know the government is trying to make gun makers manufacture guns that will be safer? Does that make sense to you?
If you visit a museum, science exhibit, or zoo, don’t walk around passively. Show (or pique) your curiosity by reading pamphlets and signs that explain the exhibits. If your child isn’t interested, don’t read him every single bit of information; instead, pick out facts or explanations likely to intrigue him, given his age.
- “It says here that there are only eleven white alligators in the entire world.”
- “Did you know that the Impressionist preferred painting out of doors, in natural light? That must be why they used bright colors.”
Show your child you enjoy learning about what you see. If you don’t enjoy it, get some background information to perk up your own interest before you go next time. Or go only to places you know you’ll enjoy”(23-24).