It's Gotta be Fun!

Question:

This is our second year of homeschooling. Our first year we homeschooled our kindergarten son and were very actively involved and had learning experiences outside of the house. This year, we enrolled him in an online academy. We have not yet finished our first week of lessons and I already hate it! The lessons are long and tedious. Much too academic for our style from last year. Also, we have no more time for our beloved outings to the park or the zoo. I feel like a slave to this program because of the load of work and no real learning going on. My son is starting to hate anything to do with the word “school” or “lesson”! Any advice on this would be really appreciated!

Answer:

In my opinion, school has to be fun! It has to be enjoyable and pleasant; something to look forward to each day. If your learning experiences don’t fit that description, I would say you took a wrong turn, and you better turn around fast. This is not to say that we won’t do challenging work, and stretch our brains, and think deeply, but that the overall sensation is satisfying and happy. Tedium doesn’t belong in the world of a 6 year old boy. He won’t learn anything but to “shut off” whatever interests he had in learning new things if he is continually pressed and wearied by too much academia at his age.

I have often found it amusing and interesting when looking at homeschooling statistics to find that 80% of first year homeschooled children are boys, usually between the age of 7 and 10 years. I think there is a real message in that for us. Little boys are wiggly creatures that need to climb trees, build things with their big muscles, dig holes, wrestle and tumble, ask questions, and discover the world of nature. It is somewhat cruel to put their bodies in front of a computer or book for long hours. There is a lot to be learned without ever opening a book. And when little boys are tired, they will gladly lay on the floor and listen to Mom read aloud some classic literature that vividly engages their mind. And there is time in their day for a few hours of schoolwork, if it is interesting, involves lots of interaction, discussion, hands-on projects, pictures and stories and learning tastes delicious to them!

Please go to the park and the zoo and the museums! Get lots of books from the library with bright pictures, books about space and animals and trains and everything else you can think of to give him a feel for the joy of learning. Teach him how fun math is. Play number games and math games after he has 1/2 of his math page done, as a break and a reward. Read aloud to him. Let him do all the messy science and art experiments you can think of!

Most of all, enjoy! Learning is so very satisfying!  You can feel very confident that he will grow, progress and learn if you give him a happy, interesting learning environment.