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Longterm Vision for Creating a Learning Culture

Longterm Vision for Creating a Learning Culture

It’s that twilight zone of a week, the weird non-week between Christmas and New Year. A busy December has left me tired, I don’t want to do much to be very honest. The weather has been truly rotten this festive season, so we have spent much of it in doors. The year we enforced a no video game/ console games ban for Christmas presents and it has worked, so they have not spent this week playing new electronic games. Every morning the boys like to check if it’s still holiday time, if they still don’t have to do any work. And they are delighted to learn they are still off! I’ve not been super-mummy making a lot of fun activities happen, to be honest I’ve tried to do as little as possible.

But something wonderful has been happening. Jude’s miniature digital piano he was given at Christmas has become a focal point of learning. The three oldest children all spending time each day trying to learn the piano, and not just plonking on keys in an annoying fashion, actually working at mastering little songs. Noah has picked up a chapter book- and this boy who has lacked so much confidence with his reading and the ability to read independently; he is going off alone and is reading, then telling me excitedly what his little tale of rabbits is all about.

My only organised activity was the creating of thank you notes, this led Noah to look at Youtube videos on how to draw, which has led to all the boys spending hours (literally) drawing, and trying to do it well, to master something. As well as this the boys have been putting on dance performances to entertain us. And Jude has been creating wonderful things in lego. I’m amazed at how much “learning” has happened this week… and the boys are none the wiser :).

What this has taught me is: by limiting gaming, by creating an atmosphere where learning is natural children will by themselves choose this path themselves. This does require longterm vision. It means working with them so they acquire the tools to go further themselves. Although Noah has found reading a struggle we have focused on making good quality books a central part of our home, so reading is part of the family culture, so as he himself gains the skills to read independently he will choose it as a natural past time. But if we furnish children with easy boredom fixes- copious gaming devices, endless television, DVDs a plenty then they will choose the easy option. In the same way you develop a child’s diet by giving them good nutritious food and not McDonalds every night; you develop their mental tastes by creating a home environment where literature and good things are on offer. Do not lose heart in this process, it does not happen over night, and it constantly has to be guarded and reviewed, it takes intentionality and long term vision.

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