“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.”
I find this quote encouraging, because things don’t always go as planned with homeschooling. For that matter, things can quickly come unraveled with small children whether you’re homeschooling or not. My children are always curious, so we always learn a lot even on those difficult days when we haven’t gotten much “school” done. It really is enough if we do merely a little every day.
Here are 5 ideas to encourage curiosity in your children:
Read good books. I try to select quality books for my children; our favorites are timeless classics like Babar and Blueberries for Sal. My four year-old and I are enjoying The BFG by Roald Dahl right now. I read a variety of books to my children. We enjoy science books (especially animal books lately), math books, poetry, fables, folktales, and fiction. We have read about many different people, places, and ideas. Reading one book often leads us to search for another, either to research a topic more throughly or to discover a brand new topic that might have come up while reading. We read multiple books every single day and it does inspire curiosity.
Enjoy nature as a family. My children always have endless questions about things when we are outside. “What does that bird like to eat?” “Why is the water in that river moving?” “What kind of flower is this?” “What kind of rock is this?” Sometimes I know the answer to their questions and sometimes I don’t, but I always try to supply them with some sort of accurate answer. We try to have a nature walk every Saturday so my husband can enjoy them with us as well.
Let art and music fill your home. I find that my children are more creative when we do crafty things together and listen to music. When art and music projects have fallen by the wayside after a period of illness or right after a new baby, none of us are as creative as we are capable of being. Looking at works of art is great for curious minds. We love the Come and look with me series of books. We have talked about art techniques and discovered new colors together after looking at art books. We have discussed the places in the paintings and the museums that hold the paintings. Music is another wonderful tool for encouraging curiosity. We like to play quiet music in the background at dinner. Usually we play a classical music CD or a world music CD. Lately my children have been enjoying a variety of Spanish music. Music has prompted curiosity about sound, different instruments, and they way we feel when we listen. I can’t imagine our home without art and music!
Get up and move as a family. Children who are sitting idly in front of the television tend not to have as much curiosity as children who are moving and doing. Take walks together, move aside the coffee table and dance in the living room, build blanket forts and block towers together. I gurantee your children will be curious about something as they are doing all of this moving. Remember that things like visiting the zoo count, too. Who hasn’t walked miles to see all the animals with their children?
Instruct your children in the ways of the Lord. My children have developed curiosity about things from our Bible stories and memory verses. We have discussed many things from geography, science, character, and family while having our Bible time together. We always have good discussions on the way home from church about what they learned in Bible class, and I try to relate particular verses to our daily life as often as I can. We have been making a special effort to study prayer together lately and I am hoping to incorporate a kindness project into our studies soon (be looking for a post on that!).
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