Making Lifelong Learners

Posted on March 06 2013

Fostering a love for learning, exploring and discovery will help ensure your child’s success in the future. One of the hallmarks of career-growth would be an attitude of constantly wanting to learn, the willingness to try new things and to think the process through. Whether your child wants to pursue a career or start his own business, being a lifelong learner would surely be an asset. What’s more, seeking to learn just for the sheer enjoyment of it will help your child grow and enrich his life.

So, how can we, as parents, help our child embrace learning as a lifelong quest? Here are a few simple tips:

  • Help your child learn his way. Some kids learn better by acting it out, by doing something physical. Some kids would actually prefer just to sit down and read or listen. How does your child learn? Is he a kinesthetic, who learns through movement? Or is he a visual learner, who has to see diagrams, words, pictures? Is he more of an auditory learner, who needs an oral review of key concepts? Or is he a combination of two or three? It is important to understand how your child learns and help provide him with an environment that supports that way of learning. With an online high school program, you can be more involved in designing a learning environment that suits your child’s needs.
  • Lead by example. It is important for the child to see that you are a lifelong learner yourself. You can set up a time for you to read together as a family – you don’t necessarily have to read the same books but you can be in the same room and yet enjoying your quiet time for reading. Let them see you ask questions and find the answers. Let them see that you don’t know the answers to everything, but you welcome the opportunity to ask your own questions and seek your answers. Let them see that learning can come in both formal (online high school lessons) and informal routes.
  • Discover his interests and help him discover new ones. In the scope of his online high school classes, you can incorporate learning activities that cater to his interests. If he is a budding numismatist (stamp collector), have him collect stamps and discover the history behind each stamp. If she is interested in the arts, you can go to museums and make a personal project of tracing the development of art across history. Help him to also discover new interests. He may not know it but he may be a gastronomist or a photographer in the making.
  • Celebrate successes. These may be big or small and the “celebrations” don’t have to be that grand. You can go out for a pizza, have a movie night (complete with popcorn) or you can go on an outing to celebrate a certain learning milestone. But it is important to remember to focus not just on achievement (how high his test scores are) but also on progress (how far he’s gone) and effort (how hard he’s trying).
  • Keep a positive attitude. The fear of failure is one of the greatest deterrents to learning. Set standards but do not set unreasonable ones so much so that your child feels scared of not meeting these standards or of “messing it up”. And, if your child does mess it up, have him feel that you still are there to support him.
  • Track his online learning progress. A virtual high school is actually a good breeding ground of lifelong learners. An online high school education requires students to be responsible for their own learning, set their learning goals and be self-motivated.
  • Provide him with experiences. Learning does not just come from books, but through experiences. Various situations and real-life problems will challenge your child’s ability to solve problems and think critically. Immerse them in your community and help them see how their lessons connect with problems in that community.
  • Let your kids have fun while learning. Learning activities should be something you and your kids can enjoy. Make use of games and interesting experiments. Give time for breaks where your child can simply relax and take pleasure in being a teen.

As Socrates once said, “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” Make it a commitment to be a lifelong learner as you try to pass on this flame to your children.