Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Making the Most of Every Opportunity to Learn

Just because we have slowed down our schedule this summer, it doesn't mean we have slowed down our learning.  Everyday there is an opportunity to learn something new and different.  We simply have to be willing to find it, ask about it, or try it. 

Getting out in the community provides wonderful opportunities for learning. 

Every summer I schedule the children's appointments. In these warm months, we will visit the eye doctor for annual eye exams, the pediatrician for well visits, and the dentist for a cleaning. It is simply just easier for our family to schedule these appointments during our summer break.

Today, as I write this, two of my children had an eye doctor appointment. {When you have multiple children with multiple appointments, combining appointments is a necessity.} All the children and I went. If it weren't our summer break, I would totally count today as a field trip, as we asked all kinds of unrelated questions about how the machines work, who does what, etc. During this trip we even got into a discussion about how many combinations the lens machine has, who cleans it, and how he does it. As an added bonus, our tour guide, I mean, eye doctor's assistant, told us how much it costs to have it cleaned. We completed our visit with a lecture about eye anatomy, development, and degeneration from our eye doctor. He even showed the children the charts he filled out on each of them. Our youngest got to 'examine' the forms up close, and 'sign' his name.

Our recent trip to the doctor for physicals resulted in a discussion about how urine is tested, why it is tested, what is checked for, and what each of those results could indicate. The time before we discussed some of the tools the doctor uses for examinations. The children particularly liked learning about reflexes.

Dental trips typically result in teeth related discussions. How best to care for them is always a top priority for our dentist. However, last time, we asked about the technology they use. There are x-rays, digital and old film. There is a computerized program tracking patient progress, complete with digital diagrams. There are microscopic drills, and special glasses and plates that help the dentist see to use them better.

Each time a child asks a question, they are met with in depth answers and patience. Never once has someone declared they did not have time to answer a child's question. In fact, quite the opposite. It has been our experience that people respond quite positively to our children's curiosity.

Aside from these appointments, we run errands differently during the summer.  When we have to do some banking, we will skip the ATM and drive thru.  Instead, we will go inside the bank and make a deposit while conversing with a real live person.  At the grocery store, we will have our older children wait in line at the deli and place our order with the deli clerk, not through the computerized system.  We will visit the post office to ship packages or purchase stamps, in lieu of using the automated pick-up and delivery system.

Conveniences are fantastic, and I feel blessed to live in a country that has so many technological advancements to offer people.  We use most of them frequently.  However, I still want my children to know what the inside of a post office or bank looks like.  I want them to realize a lot of people work to make these automatic conveniences happen. 

Summertime, when we have slowed down our pace just a bit, makes for a great time to learn these lessons.

This summer, might I encourage you to seize the learning opportunities that naturally surround you and your children?  Facilitate your child's curiosity.  Ask some questions of your own.  Encourage them to think of something they would like to ask.  If a child is unsure how to inquire, ask the question for them.  One of our children had the best questions, but was too shy to ask them.  She needed to see me modeling how to ask questions and listen to responses.  Now, she asks her own questions freely and often. 


By making the most of every opportunity to learn something new with your children, you will be helping to create a pattern for lifelong learning. 

Dorie enjoys being outside, photography, art, writing, a strong cup of coffee, and good conversations seasoned with much laughter. She and her drummer husband, Jerry, share a life built on faith in Jesus, love, and grace. They have been blessed with four active children. Each day, whether easy or trying, is a wondrous part of this grace filled journey, and Dorie blogs about them all at These Grace Filled Days. Their homeschooling adventures can be found at Homeschooling Just Next Door.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...