Make Learning a Challenge, Not Just Fun
© Beverley Paine
For many years I thought that learning had to be fun or children wouldn't be interested, and then I slowly worked out how I'd been brainwashed to believe that. It wasn't until I was homeschooling my own children that I began to realise that they learn when they are ready to learn and that they love a challenge, no matter how difficult, if it isn't forced down their throats.
They aren't that interested in the idea that having fun is a prerequisite to learning. I've witnessed very frustrated children plodding away at getting something 'just right', or trying exceptionally hard to understand something, even when emotions ride high and their cranky, upset, disappointed or sad. Learning is something we naturally do until we're taught that it's something we can avoid, and that we don't really have to learn for ourselves because there are always other people that will do our thinking for us.
Wendy Priesnitz writes about this in her book Challenging Assumptions in Education. She has a lot to say about the cult of the expert: it is these same experts that are telling us that learning has to be fun for children. It's weird how they don't say that learning has to be fun for adults, as though we're 'over' the need for fun! I believe that children don't learn at school if they don't want to learn at school, and they are happy at school because they get to see their friends.
No amount of contriving lessons to be 'fun' will change that. Make the lessons challenging and personally meaningful and then the children will begin to enjoy the learning process again.
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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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Beverley Paine, The Educating Parent
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