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Woodstock Magazine

Instill a Love for Learning in Your Children

Nov 30, 2014 09:13PM ● Published by Erin Frisch

Your kids are a reflection of you, but they’re also a reflection of their surroundings. With information coming at them from every direction, and high expectations for success in this current era, it can be tough to help them succeed while also letting them figure things out for themselves. With all the technology available, it’s time to use it to your advantage. If you’re thoughtful about the digital avenues you encourage your children to pursue, you can give them just the push they need to learn and grow. Here are four ideas for making this happen.

Explore the World, Hands-On

Even though traditional school can impart many skills, the world around can be the best place to learn. And learning by viewing can be helpful, but learning by doing can be exceptionally memorable. Foster this by giving your young one a springboard for getting familiar with science and technology. Consider checking out a service like Xplore Box, which offers a monthly package that includes a themed, hands-on science kit, toys and goodies so the little one in your life can learn through play. Another great site to look into is Code.org, which gives kids tutorials about Javascript, building apps and fun ways to embrace computer science.

Learn on Their Own Time

Some kids excel while in the classroom, and others simply prefer to learn on their own time in their own setting. If your child is interested in gaining new skills from the comfort of your home (or anywhere), you can help your child do just that. A service like Coursera is available for a variety of ages, and is free to use. Your budding pundit can choose from a multitude of subjects from languages to the arts to the sciences, and complete courses and quizzes in their own environment.

Prepare to Hit the Road

Driving is one of the big milestones in a teenager’s life. It’s synonymous with independence and trust, and your teen is likely counting down the days until he can cruise in the car solo. But as a parent, this can be a terrifying time. You trust your kids, but you also worry for their safety. Since you can’t keep them within arm’s reach forever, the best gift you can give them is to help them prepare for the great big world of driving. Point them to a site like Driving-Tests.org, where they can take free permit practice tests and get immediate feedback on how they fare. With some time invested in learning, your teen will be more confident in his driving skills, and you’ll be able to breathe when you think about him at the wheel.

Education via Giving

One of the greatest traits you can nurture in your children is a proclivity for giving to others. While you can’t exactly learn to give by browsing a particular website, you can get your little one excited about helping others by exploring a site like Volunteer Match. The website allows your child to narrow volunteer opportunities by location and type, so giving to others becomes a treat and not a chore. Is your little girl into puppies? She can find an animal shelter nearby in need of a dog walker. Does your teenage boy like working outside? Maybe there’s some landscaping work he can do for an elderly person. By spending time together (or separately) on a website like this, the importance of a generous heart will be indirectly emphasized and cultivated.

When it comes to helping your children learn, the opportunities are nearly endless. It’s always beneficial to be a support system to your young ones with their homework and school lessons, but there’s a lot you can do beyond their school day to give them what they need to be successful in life. Try to encourage them to see the world as a hands-on classroom, learn in the ways they prefer, prepare for important events (like driving) and get excited about giving back. You can’t teach them everything in the world, but you can teach them to love learning.

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