The quickest way to kill the atmosphere of learning is to suggest that it’s time to learn!
If you announce “Time to learn” you’re telling the child that without an adult, they aren’t learning. The truth is: learning happens whether or not you intend it. What’s being learned? That’s up for grabs!
The temptation is to say: “Let’s learn how to divide fractions.” What might get learned instead is that math is boring.
The best way to kick the door open for learning? Try this.
- Tie what you want your child to learn to something they value, like fractions and baking.
- Notice learning in action: “You divided the recipe in half! Did you know there’s a way to do that on paper, not just with measuring cups?”
- Learn without words (I know, it’s hard!). Sidle up and do the activity together. Draw the fractions on a page and work them next to your child so they have time to hover and notice, rather than having to hear instructions.
Learning is already going on.
Drawing, building, reading, talking to self (that’s consolidating what they are learning), asking for help, making a snack, playing a game with a friend, completing a puzzle, wandering around the house (that counts too!)—if these are happening, your child is learning.
TUNE IN and take notes. Observe and name what’s going on.
Try these kinds of words to describe what you see:
- Giving selfcare
- Gaining vocabulary
- Discovering cause and effect
- Playing independently
Yes, your child is learning. No need to make an announcement. It’s already happening without you! Hop on board and ride that train.