"What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child."
George Bernard Shaw
I saw this great quote today. I completely agree, unfortunately I feel like we are in the latter stage of the quote... "knowledge in pursuit of the child." We have a schedule and they enjoy our curriculum, but if they had the choice they would choose to play 90% of the time. It is exhausting. I don't want to be the one pushing them forever. I want them to take some interest of their own. BTW, my kids are (boys) 11 & 9 and (girls) 8 & 5.
So how do you get your kids to pursue knowledge? All suggestions are welcome!
Here's an interesting article on something called "strewing". I struggled with this issue as well and then we tried this and it worked for us. My kids are now 15 and 13 and we started strewing a few years ago. Could at least give you a jump start.
First of all, who are "WE." Second, what does it look like "to see the child in pursuit of knowledge?" Who decides what it looks like? At what age? What does it mean by "knowledge in pursuit of the child?" (There's no "knowledge" in my house chasing around my kids! lol)
Congratulations! You have normal kids!!!! If most adults had a choice of going to
work or "playing", I assume most of them would play! Well, at least in my family! And my husband LIKES his job!
There is nothing wrong with teaching a child to be disciplined where they do their school first (work?!? gasp!) and play second. Your kids are young, so you would need to teach them discipline, it's not something they would just know. It's part of character building. Just because your kids want to play instead of do school has absolutely nothing to do with whether they have a desire to pursue knowledge.
(How many adults in this world have the desire to pursue knowledge just for the sake of pursing knowledge?)
I've always been a traditional, neurotic (lol) homeschool mom, meaning, I followed the basic public school model where they are expected to get their assignments completed daily and finishing their books by the end of the school year. I believe in a "well rounded" education (Math, Science, English, Bible, History) and believe that an education is never wasted. (Am I the big ugly "knowledge in pursuit of my children? GASP!) I believe in exposing my kids to several subjects, topics, etc., because you never know how the Lord will use it. How is a kid suppose to know what they like and don't like if they are never exposed to it? My main goals, other than teaching them God's Word, includes teaching my kids how to learn and to expose them in as many areas as possible through homeschooling. When asked, my kids admit to liking homeschooling not because of a deep desire to be in "pursuit of knowledge" or the "love of learning", but because of the freedom they have..
My (teenage) kids desire to learn involves many factors. My dd wanted to learn French this year, so, she's learning French because her friends are learning it. My son wanted to be in the same grade as a friend when he was in 1st grade, so he doubled up on his school and was a grade ahead. That had nothing to do with a "pursuit of knowledge". My 17 yr old has 21 college credits. It has nothing to do with wanting to pursue knowledge, it has everything to do with saving money and the goal of having a BS by the time he's 19. It fits his career goals. My 19 yr old is doing amazing things on his vehicle so get better gas mileage which has taken hours of research. It has everything to do with survival. (lol).
Having the desire to play instead of doing school has nothing to do with a child having a desire to be in "pursuit of knowledge". Seems pretty abstract to me.
Continue to do what your doing and pray for the Lord to "fill in the gaps". As my kids would say...."Don't worry about it!" The day we stop learning is the day we die. It's part of life.
I wouldn't say our school life is a primrose path and we never have a "sorry, you just gotta do it" moment. But I do think my kids love to learn. Two things come to mind:
First, don't discount what they are learning by playing. Play IS how we learn. It's taking new things and trying them out, or going over old things in new ways. The time they spend drawing, building, reading, exploring, re-enacting, imagining, listening to stories, IS learning, and probably better than what I can teach them. I like to tell them stories of children who liked to take apart and make their own toys (and grew up to invent airplanes); who liked to build cities in the backyard (and grew up to be architects); who liked to write and act their own stories (and grew up to be famous writers). I hope they know that we highly value the time they spend learning to direct themselves and pursuing their own interests. If you feel like their play is of a low quality (mindless consumption) then you might need to clear some things out and make room for creative boredom--or you might just need to reevaluate how you look at what they do.
Second is making sure our school respects the child and their capacity--not talking down to them, oversimplifying, dragging things on and on, but being direct, brief, using the very best literature, and always moving forwards. There is a place for discipline there, of doing things every day, but I would say they do genuinely enjoy much of what we do and sometimes even delay lunch because we are so engrossed--and that it is only when their mind is actively engaged that they are doing anything that might be called learning.
I think so much of that depends on what you mean. If you mean how do I get my kids to jump out of bed and do all their schoolwork with a huge smile, then I have no advice. My kids grumble and complain about doing their schoolwork. I think most kids do. I think that a kid pursues knowledge through play and through asking questions more often than through ways adults use. So my kids will ask how a pencil is made, or how eyeballs work, or what an ear looks like on the inside, etc. None of this is in any way related to what we're learning through our curriculum, but they are wanting to learn. I encourage this by taking the time to answer their questions, often by looking things up on the computer. I also let them have a good amount of say in what curriculum we buy. For instance, we looked at Apologia's various science books online and I let them choose. This seems to help them want to read the books, because they chose them.
I've also wondered this. I like the idea of my learning by reading books they want to read and explore things on their own, but mine would also choose to not do anything and just play with their toys all day. So I feel like I have to lay down the law so they will get some work done. I would like them to take initiative, though, and I don't know how to lead them in this direction.
you know when they ask all of those questions. Why is the sun yellow? Why are ants small? that is the child pursuing knowledge.
Even if you just let them play something will occur where they will start drilling you with questions. I think the key is to reduce video game/tv time. Let them get bored then they will use the old noggin to figure something out.
This is not in response to this particular post by Jennifer U. My reply box isn't working.
Anyway, kids do want to learn. They just don't always want to learn what we want them to learn.
As adults this actually can be fairly easy to understand. If I am forced to learn something, it becomes a drudgery and a chore instead of something enjoyable. For example, if I were to take another history class (which may happen...), I would probably not enjoy it. I would have to cram the facts in to pass the tests and write the papers. I most likely wouldn't get much out of it in the end. However, I have been reading about history on my own for the past couple of years. Am I an expert? Hardly, that would be a joke. Have I learned more doing this than taking classes? Yes, I believe so.
However, we can't (or I don't think we can) let kids chose not to learn some essential skills and academics. I don't think that it is wrong to tweak our requirements and change the way we define learning. I don't happen to think tests are the best way to measure learning. I have not given my son a test in about a year or so.
I think it has to be kept in balance. What future do your kids want? Well of course they may not know now and they may change their minds, but it is a worthwhile thing to consider as they get older. It is a risk, but so are many things in life. Not all children are college bound.