Each of the Demme Learning products encourages children to explore and learn side-by-side with an engaged parent. The parent’s role may be as the primary instructor or as a supplemental instructor in their child’s education. We recognize that engaged parents are crucial to children’s success in becoming lifelong learners.
At Demme Learning we talk a lot about being lifelong learners, from blog posts (like this one) to having the occasional Learner’s Lunch (that’s what we call them) during lunch breaks. Someone will do a short (15-20 minute) presentation on something that they’ve learned to share with everyone else.
What are some other ways that we can be lifelong learners? We read several blog posts on this topic, and included some of their tips below. We recommend going to the source to see what else they have to say.
12 Ways to Be a Lifelong Learner
1) Pursue Your Own Interests
“So here’s the big question to encourage you: What do you want to learn about? If you take a deep breath and ask yourself what you’re interested in, what comes up? It might not be what you expect. It might not seem very practical. But that doesn’t mean you have to ignore it.
Here’s an example: I have always loved birds. I think they’re beautiful, and I smile to see them fly by. So I bought a bird feeder, and I keep it stocked. I have a few bird identification books to peruse as I see birds at the feeder. And you might laugh, but it is such a thrill for me to be able to identify unusual birds that sometimes stop by.”
2) Make Time to Celebrate
“Celebrate the successes, whether big or small! When my son first started out working on sight words, we celebrated with a trip to the ice cream shop anytime he accomplished his goal. Now he is reading almost anything he picks up! By celebrating, it helped to create excitement and enjoyment. This is an important part of the process.”
Source: SPED Homeschool
3) Learn WITH Your Kids
“Like mine, your household is made up of different individuals with varying interests and personalities. It isn’t important WHAT you continue learning but THAT you continue learning. And that is the key to not being a hypocrite while raising lifelong learners. Keep learning yourself.”
Source: The Pioneer Woman
4) Don’t Make Learning Competitive
“Sure, competition may motivate a person to accomplish a task, but it puts the focus on the wrong goal and, in education, it degrades the role of knowledge. Education is not about using knowledge to compare yourself with someone else, it’s about feeding your mind so you can grow as a person.”
Source: Simply Charlotte Mason
5) Have Conversations As a Family
“We often had animated discussions at the dinner table to encourage their love of learning. One time, we were a divided family as we discussed whether or not Barry Bonds should keep his home run record. (Yes, we’re a sports family). Steve took one side; Gentry the other. We all “learned” how to support our ideas through the discussion. Who cares if it’s on the topic of sports. Any topic can encourage learning to support your stance.”
Source: How to Homeschool My Child
6) Ask Good Questions
“Lifelong learning isn’t about following a prescribed plan or curriculum, it’s about knowing how to ask questions and seek out one’s own answers.”
Source: Raising Lifelong Learners
7) Model a Love of Reading
“My husband and I both read voraciously. My husband reads history and political biographies and I read entire sections of the library, depending on what I am interested in at the moment. I recently read every book our library had about gardening, and prior to that I read the entire nutrition section. We both also read plenty of ‘brain candy’. My husband loves fantasy, while I love classics, especially Jane Austen.
Every one of my kids love to read, too. So much so that it is almost problematic at our house. My children are constantly disappearing from family work and learning projects — to read. It is pretty much impossible for them to dislike reading, when our entire family spends so much time enjoying it.”
Source: Everyday Graces
8) Learn Creatively
“When I came up with hands-on activities for science, took my kids to see historical sites, or figured out a clever little song to help my kids remember math facts, an amazing thing happened. Not only were they likely to remember things learned creatively, I learned too! We’ve taken a creative, problem-solving, out-of-box approach to everything from using textbooks to earning technology credits. Customizing an education for your child’s goals and interests is a creative learning experience that helps them achieve success in homeschooling and beyond.”
Source Heart and Soul Homeschooling
9) Go on Field Trips
“Field trips are an incredible way to bring history to life. We have enjoyed open-air museums, aquariums, botanical gardens, and historical sites. Everyone in the family remembers something different from the trip, but all benefit. Traveling with kids can be challenging. Keep in mind, though, how much learning is taking place. There are benefits beyond the obvious educational ones.”
Source: Triumphant Learning
10) Encourage Curiosity
“Children are naturally curious. It is important that we do not squash that part of them. Instead we should be actively encouraging it. We can be intentional about the kind of responses we give to their questions. Try the following:
-That’s a great question!
-I’m glad you asked.
-What do you think?
-I’m glad you brought that up. Let’s find out.”
Source: Breathe Belief
11) Frequent Your Local Library
“While I haven’t always been a big reader, the kids and I utilize our local library for many free resources every single week.
Magazines, books, DVD’s, or even just general information about various topics have all come in handy as I’ve tried to learn about various topics and subjects over the years.
Our library also has lots of fun events for families and kids — so it’s a great way to meet people in our neighborhood, do something fun, get out of the house, and learn something in the process.
Also, if you think your local librarian is just a person sitting behind a desk, you might be surprised to know that librarians are HIGHLY trained and almost always have a masters degree or higher — so please utilize them as a valuable resource if you’re seeking information on a specific topic or trying to learn more about a certain subject matter.”
Source: Andrea Dekker
12) Allow Your Children to Lead Their Learning
“In order to love learning, our children have to be given opportunities to follow the interests and gifts that God has given them. While you may still require that they use a specific curriculum for Math and English like I do, handing over the rest of their learning will allow them to spread their wings and fly!”
Source: Year Round Homeschooling