In my previous articles on thinking like a homeschooler, I discussed using homeschooling methods with your public school child such as taking charge of their education, and spending time doing home instruction. The most important thing you can emulate that homeschoolers do is to make your child a natural learner.
By the time they reach their pre-teen years, many homeschoolers have begun to take charge of their own education. They have discovered what they are most curious about. They begin to learn more about their favorite subjects without ever being asked. They even begin to surpass the parent’s knowledge in some areas.
This happens because parents purposely pass a love of learning on to there children. This can be accomplished in several ways:
Set an example: A parent who smokes can talk until they are blue in the face about the hazards of smoking, but chances are that one or more of their children will smoke. Children learn by example. Let your child see you reading books, exploring pursuits, and tackling academic subjects enthusiastically, and they will do the same.
Allow time for exploration: Don’t over plan your child’s life. Make sure they have a couple of hours a day, without the distraction of TV and video games. For a public school child, this may be easier to do in the summer and during vacations. During these times, you will want to set aside a time period where your child can read, wander outside, or tinker around without distractions. You will be amazed with what they can come up on their own.
Supply a means of research: When I was a child, whenever I asked my mother a question about one of life’s mysteries, she should point to the wall of encyclopedias in our living room. At an early age, she taught me to look up whatever subject I was curios about, and then when I got to the end of the information, to look up the information labeled “see also…”. These days we have computers which makes research a lot quicker. It is important to not only supply a computer for research, but also reference books, and library access. Never let your child have a question that goes unanswered, and don’t answer the question for them. Just point them toward the information.
Encourage them in their pursuits. Take interest in their solo activities. Purchase books and supplies they request. Find instructors if your child needs them. Allow them to change directions as well. Let your child develop a passion or two, and do your best to feed it.