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How do you nurture a love of learning in your child?

People sometimes ask, “How do you instill a love of learning in your child?”   

I think that’s the wrong question.  Children are naturally curious and eager to learn, and God has instilled this in them.  Instead, the question should be, “How do you nurture this love of learning?

Here are some of the things that seem to keep our family learning almost constantly. Do note, however, that this love of learning has nothing to do with textbooks, in most instances.  In fact, my children agree that less formal schoolwork is the most important ingredient in encouraging a love of learning.  (Hmmm!)  The unschooling model really appeals to me as well, but I haven’t quite figured out how to make it work.  

So here’s how we nurture the love of learning … and, yes, we do significant amounts of rigorous, formal schoolwork as well.

  • No TV, and strict limits on computer games and DVD’s.
  • Lots of classical music  (because we love it, not because it’s good for the kids; that’s a fringe benefit).
  • Enough time for curiosity and boredom, although sometimes formal learning gets in the way of this.
  • Lots of good books and very few low quality ones.
  • Very little formal schoolwork at an early age.
  • Encouragement to stretch beyond their comfort zones, especially when they are older.
  • Ample scope for initiatives, mistakes, and messes.
  • Responsibility and freedom, within reason.
  • Lots of physical activity.
  • Lots of time in nature.
  • Many kid-directed free time activities, and few mommy-directed ones.
  • Freedom to explore their own interests with suitable mentors.
  • The example of parents who are constantly learning new things.

As one of my children pointed out, “Learning is the reward.”  That statement was such a blessing to me. 

How do you nurture the love for learning in your family?  Please share what works for you.


  1. jenn4him says:

    I'd have to say you covered it all very well. 🙂


  2. Anonymous says:

    Oh, this is great! And the "learning is the reward" comment? I think I'd start crying if one of mine said that!

    Debra at http://debrakb.blogspot.com/

  3. AnnieKate says:

    Thank you, Jenn.

    Debra, yes it was a very, very special moment!

    Annie Kate

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