The Power of Enjoyment

Published with Permission
Written by Diana Waring

When it comes to education in our culture, there is a deep trench between the unpleasant, dentist-filling-cavity experience of school, which one endures by necessity, and the passion-driven endeavor of hobbies, which one anticipates with delight. For many of us who began homeschooling in the 1980s, this was a chasm we sought to cross. Our learners, no longer dreading school, could actually thrive in their studies since they were in the nurturing environment of our homes.

Rather than conformity to the standard model of education—a lecturing teacher, subservient students and rigid class periods—we tried new approaches: a tuned-in observer, interactive students, and freedom to conduct experiments or write stories or fashion clay figures, heedless of the clock. In this laboratory of learning, many of us discovered that our unique children could each find something that motivated them deeply. Amazingly, we saw that when our children are motivated they have a self-imposed zest for ferreting out information, a zest that extends beyond Legos and bikes to academic subjects such as science, history, and literature.

This discovery of the power of self-motivation, or “hunger to learn,” was like a new invention or a magic wand. Eventually, we discovered that as homeschoolers we were actually on the cutting edge of education—traveling a path of learning that educational researchers and scientists were also studying. What we had stumbled upon in searching for the best approaches for our children was being legitimized through academic studies on how the brain works and how people learn best.

Here are six general points from the researchers on increasing learning through environment and relationship. Read the list and consider how your home is the best place for this to happen: (more…)