Is Your House a Home for Learning?
I feel really fortunate to have grown up in the environment that I did. Education and learning in general were both strongly encouraged and opportunities were provided to nurture them. I also never worried about “failing” because my parents and family were really supportive. Creating that kind of home takes some work, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Here are three ways to make your home a place for learning.
Make Your House A Home:
There’s a difference between a house and a home. A house is a place you live, a home is the comfort you feel together with your family. I remember on a few different occasions I would visit friends and it always seemed like their houses were places for show, not family fun or bonding. I’m not sure how you can be comfortable in your own skin if you’re worried about making a scratch on the furniture or getting a spot on the white carpet. My parents, of course, didn’t encourage us to destroy the house or make a mess, but it also wasn’t the end of the world if a window broke or someone spilled something. My mom often remarked that she’d be able to set out breakables “When the boys are grown”. So you might not have found Waterford crystal setting out on our coffee table but we were always comfortable and all our friends felt it, too. Knowing you have a place to just be yourself is the first building block in making your home a place for learning.
I also think there’s a difference between learning and schooling. Schooling is important (I did teach high school, after all), but true learning is more intrinsic. It does have to be nurtured, however; how do you know you like learning about dinosaurs if no one ever introduced you to them? So providing lots of opportunities for natural learning to take place is key. Make books of all kinds available to your children and take the time to read them to them. Keep crayons and paper handy to encourage artful expressions. And while it’s good to fan the flames of a particular interest, don’t stop offering a variety of toys. Just because you have a little Princess on your hands doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still buy her a truck now and then.
Model Desired Behaviors:
If you want your children to love learning you have to show them that you love it, as well. My father wanted me to love literature and so not only did he read to me nightly and fill my room with books, he would sit at night and read himself. My Mom took me to the library as often as I asked her to and when they had family nights or reading challenges during the year, both of them would go with me and we’d participate together. My father also thought science was important, even though it wasn’t exactly my favorite – or best – subject. But he would take me outside at night to see the Milky Way or let me stay up really late to watch a meteor shower. It was never just lip service with my parents; they both did things to show me that learning could be fun and that it should be a life-long pursuit.
What about you? How do you make your home a place for learning?
As a member of Clever Girls Collective, I was selected to participate in the Healthy Habits program sponsored by Kimberly-Clark and Colgate-Palmolive. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own. #healthyhabits #cgc