Fostering a love of learning

My daughter is pretty good about eating her vegetables. She’s wary of spinach and broccoli, but does well with the rest – I don’t have to sneak veggies into mac and cheese, like other parents do. She’ll eagerly eat lima beans, cauliflower, lentils, peas.

No, what she abhors is learning.

Which does. not. compute.

I’m a learning junkie. I wasn’t fond of school, for various reasons, but left to my own devices I am a greedy knowledge sponge. For instance, I’ve learned more history since I got my hands on a search engine than I ever did in school. And one of the things that gives me the greatest hope for the future is that I could not possibly live long enough to run out of things to learn. There are so many cool things to know, see, do, hear. How on earth can you hate that?

“I don’t want to learn!” she shouted at me the other night. “I just want enough money to buy toys!”

My god, I thought. She’s a future trophy wife.

But I’m not all that worried, because I know she doesn’t actually hate learning. She hates lessons. Which, unfortunately, probably means she’s going to hate school. But I can work with that. I hated school, too. The classroom setup, where we were treated like cars on an assembly line – going to this room for our math, that for our history. The dry, boring lectures delivered by dry, boring teachers, with no indication why we should care about the subject at hand. (I still have no use for algebra, and at this point I doubt I ever will.) How we were treated like a bunch of juvenile delinquents in the making. The crappy food. The horrible lights, the industrial walls and floors.

Does anyone really like school? And if they do, why do they?

But learning. She learns all the time. I let her help me fix dinner, and she learns how to measure, how to follow directions, how to prepare meals. We do crafts together, and she learns how to envision a project and see it through to completion. She watches YouTube and learns facts and trivia – even some spiffy dance moves. She sits down with one of the nature books Poppy has and learns about bugs, plants, trees, clouds.

She doesn’t think of these things as learning. She thinks of them as fun. And I agree that learning should be fun.

I just need to find a way to make the unfun stuff fun for her. Because she’s got too much potential to be a trophy wife.

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