This article is entitled “Something to Love“, and it is written by Oliver DeMille. He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education, among other books. Here are a couple of great quotes from it:
“Give the student something to love. This is essential to helping them fall in love with learning and, later, hard study. The learning environment matters. . . .
Moreover, when a student is deeply in love with one thing—from a sport to a topic like math or Shakespeare, to a club or genre of books—it is easier to help inspire her to excellence in other arenas.”
Read the whole article. It’s great food for thought.
I don’t think Captain was even two years old when he first asked me to read St. George and the Dragon to him (the one by Margaret Hodges and Trina Schart Hyman). Now, this is a long book for such a little guy to sit through. So, at first I just told him the story using the pictures rather than reading the actual text. However, Captain kept bringing me that book to read to him, over, and over, and over. Finally, I decided that I would just read him the full text in the book…yes, to be quite honest…in order to perhaps discourage him from picking this book so frequently. (Couldn’t he pick something a little more fun to read, like One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss?)
But my plan to bore him with the book failed. He loved the whole story, and after that wouldn’t even let me get away with just telling it to him in my own words using the pictures. Pretty soon I had a little two-year-old who would tell me, “Mommy, I’m fighting a dragon, grim and horrible!”
Pretty soon he discovered swords. Then armor. Then knights in shining armor. For his third birthday, we got him a play suit of armor and matching weaponry, as well as a homemade shield crafted by a good friend. And we kept reading that book to him, and he never got tired of it.
Boy, did he have something to love. And this love has branched out, just as Dr. DeMille said that it would. As Captain got older, his interest led him to other books about knights, into medieval history, then ancient history, and then modern. He wants to know about all the wars, the strategies and weaponry used. He’s enthralled with samurais, revolutionary war heros, zulus, and the nations of Greece, Rome, and Britain—among others. Captain asks me to read him history stories every day. Tales of heros and warriors every day. I could go on.
Of course, he’s only scratched the surface of all of these. I mean, he’s only seven. But. He has something to love. And just so you know, it works, because it’s given him a whole world of things that he wants to learn.
It may start simple. But it works! If it’s a wholesome topic, don’t discourage them. They will branch out, and they will have a passion for learning.
What do you love to learn?