Children Want to Learn

Part One Here

Children need knowledge, ideas to feed their minds the same way they need milk and later solid foods. They hunger for knowledge. The mind needs regular, healthy meals. Children are born loving to learn. Do you doubt this?

Has anybody ever had to teach a normal child to ask why? Do we imagine that they only started wondering why once they had the word for it? Isn’t it more likely that they have been hungering to learn and find out, and this is why one of their earliest words is the abstract “Why?”

We need to feed these hungry minds.
We do this through ideas, not mere naked facts without context. The goal is knowledge. child needs knowledge just as much as he needs food.
He already has:
The desire for knowledge (curiosity).
The ability to take in knowledge by paying attention.
As much imagination, reflection, judgment, etc. as he needs to deal with knowledge, without the need for outside props.
Natural, inborn interest in all the kinds of knowledge that he’ll need as a human being.
The ability to retain and articulate that knowledge, and assimilate what he needs

Knowledge is the sole concern of education proper, as distinguished from training, games, gimmicks, and lists of facts. We are reaching children’s minds and hearts, not merely helping them memorize. And that *knowledge* is not merely utilitarian or materialistic, but spiritual.

You and your children are learning for the love of knowledge. When that is not your goal or philosophy than you will be using other tools, such as bribes, contests, material rewards, prizes, games, praise, appeals to vanity, scores, grades, stickers, charts, and other gimmicks. When you use these, you communicate that knowledge itself is not a charming enough goal.

All these things can be stumbling blocks and distract from the knowledge itself. It’s like pouring sugar in a drink to get kids to drink it, and they no longer drink plain water because they are thirsty and water is good and refreshing, but because they crave sweets- and they have lost their taste for water. When we do this we not only spoil their taste for knowledge, but we communicate that learning and knowledge are so unpalatable that it had to be sugarcoated to be taken.

That’s why it’s important to think through what you believe about education, how children learn, and about the children themselves. If you don’t have a pretty good idea what your goals and beliefs are, you stand at risk of choosing methods that at best clash, at worst, undermine your goal.

What is knowledge? What do we mean by ideas?

More later.

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