Make Lifelong Learning a Family Affair

Most of us already know the positive impact our involvement in our child’s education can make. Countless studies confirm that parent involvement is the greatest indicator of school success.

What kind of involvement makes the greatest difference? While helping in the classroom is beneficial, learning with your child at home can have the biggest impact, according to the Michigan Department of Education. Simple activities like reading with your child, playing board games, and helping with homework not only build skills but also send a powerful message that you value learning and education.

Learning and education are not purely academic pursuits, limited to the school years. Learning is a lifelong pursuit that brings personal satisfaction and purpose. As parents, how can you cultivate a sense of curiosity and a love of learning in your kids? Here, four strategies to get started:

Prime your home for learning

Make your home a place of learning. Keep a store of fiction, non-fiction, and resource books on hand. Teach your child to find information on the web, and consider setting up a music library with a variety of genres to choose from.

To cultivate an interest in geography and exploration, keep a map in a visible location. Mark the places you’ve traveled to or the locations of family and friends, and study countries that interest you.

Get out and explore

Museums and libraries are full of valuable learning experiences — and fun for the whole family to visit. Check your local events calendar, and take advantage of the free educational activities they offer. Many art museums, for instance, have free weekend programs that let kids and parents alike try their hands at an art-making process — or teach them about the history and culture of centuries-old art on view in the galleries.

If you’re not up for a museum, consider a nature walk, bird-watching, or even a new sport. All of these activities give your family a chance to learn and grow together.

Play games

The simple act of playing a game together is actually a great way to bond as a family — and to model a love of learning for your kids. Try board games and card games like chess, checkers, and Uno; work on crossword puzzles, word searches, and math games; and test your acting skills with a few rounds of charades.

Learn something new

Kids are accustomed to learning from you, the parent. Now, position yourself alongside your kids by learning something new together as a family. Consider learning a new language, mastering the steps of a new dance, studying a topic of interest, or exploring a different culture and taste-testing new foods. All of these teach your kids that it’s never too late to try something new.

Supporting your child’s education is about more than just flash cards and math worksheets. Make learning a delightful, joyful end in itself, and watch your kids’ curiosity soar.