Do you want your child to have a life-long love of learning?
Most parents do.
So we show them stuff.
We buy them books; special toys to teach them skills like coding; subscription kits that arrive every month.
We take them to museums; to music classes; to gymnastics.
We try to keep them off screens; we spend too much time browsing activities on Pinterest; we strew ‘provocations’ designed to catch their interest.
And we teach them what we know.
But what if the way we’ve been interacting with our children was actually not only not supporting their life-long love of learning, but was actually working against it?
More than 80 years ago, renowned philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer John Dewey observed:
“The most important attitude that can be formed is that of desire to go on learning.”
Yet two psychologists, Mark Lepper and Melinda Hodell wrote in 1989:
“The young child, outside of school seems blessed with a seemingly limitless curiosity, a thirst for knowledge, a will to learn...
Observe these same children a few years later, however, as they sit in elementary-school classrooms, and one sees a different picture. For many of these children, motivation is now a problem.
Attention strays; minds wander. Extrinsic sanctions are now required to motivate children to learn their assigned lessons..."
So What Happened?
If we know that intrinsic motivation to learn – learning simply for the love of learning – is so important, why are so many of our students unmotivated to learn in school?
Well it turns out that parents may be at the start of this process, when we tell them to stop asking questions so we can have a moment's peace.
It continues in school, where children quickly learn that it’s the teacher’s job to ask questions, and students are rewarded for supplying the (correct) answer.
And this has lead to what researchers Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman have called The Creativity Crisis – while IQ scores are consistently inching up, we are becoming less and less creative.
Children also aren't learning how to collaborate; how to think critically; how to try something audacious and fail and have the courage to stand up and try again.
And what can we do about it?
We need to start early.
We need to listen to our children, and follow their lead.
We need to be the “guide on the side, not the sage on the stage.”
But HOW do we do this?
The Your Child's Learning Mojo membership helps you to truly support your child's intrinsic love of learning
The Your Child's Learning Mojo will help you to:
How It Works
In your first three months as a member we cover core topics related to supporting your child's learning
Starting in Month 4 you get ongoing help in implementing these ideas - whenever you've got questions, we've got answers.
You gain the confidence that you're truly encouraging your child's love of learning - and having fun while you're doing it!
Sign up to unlock membership benefits
A Guide gives you a deep dive into a different aspect of interest-led learning in each of the first three months
Get support through monthly group calls (chat with me live or watch/listen to the recording) and a private Facebook group
Receive ongoing help from me and other parents to improve your skills and take your child's learning in new directions
Know that you are developing critical skills in your child: a love of learning, and knowledge about how to learn
What will I learn?
In the first three months we will cover the following content:
Month 1: Getting Started
- Deep dive into how children learn, which will help you to support them in the most effective ways (hint: the kinds of strewing and provocations that you may often see on Pinterest are only a tiny part of this process!)
- The materials we'll need to engage children's creativity (with options for both budget and top-quality products, allowing you to spend or save where it makes the most sense for your budget)
- How to start a Learning Journal, which will form the backbone of our work in coming months
Month 2: Your First Learning Exploration
How to use the learning journal to guide your child's explorations, including:
- Identifying questions to research;
- Recording first thoughts and hypotheses
- Where to search for information, and what was uncovered
- How to extend (through both deepening and broadening) the topic of inquiry
- Overcoming challenges
- Demonstrating learning
- Metacognition (learning strategies to learn)
Month 3: Using nature as a muse
Learn how nature can inspire your children to learn (even if you live in the middle of a city...)
- Discover some basic activities to increase your sense of awareness in nature
- Start a nature journal of things you notice outdoors to heighten your observational abilities
- Learn some key skills to help you draw and paint what you see in the natural world (even if you "can't" do these things!)
- Deepen both your and your child's learning about the natural world (even if you know nothing about the natural world right now!)
Starting in month 4 we'll continue to refine your learning and approach. When I reopen the group to new members, you may repeat the core content to deepen your own learning at no extra charge!
What current members are saying...
I joined because I have long felt that my ability to take learning to a deeper level, beyond the initial curiosity and overview stage, was weak. I am hoping your class will strengthen my ability to facilitate learning for my child, and hopefully even myself. What you are offering is so precisely what I have been wanting support and guidance in learning that I couldn't not sign up for the program!
I love the community aspect - hearing from others who have similar ideas about child led learning is such a pleasure. It is also valuable to hear about the various directions people can go when they start from the place of following their child's interest. I also like that your content provides a structure to my rather drifting and unfocused approach to learning that doesn't conflict with my beliefs about learning being something that should and does come from within the child.
I think the most impactful thing I've learned has been the simple act of actually creating the learning journal and having the intention to write down questions. It gave me just a tiny big of structure from which to support my son's curiosity, and I think it gave him the feeling that his questions and ideas were being honored. - Ayla H.
I was already a homeschooling mom and had been doing research on metacognition and the various education styles for years, but all of these ideas were kind of swimming around in my head like jello that wouldn’t quite congeal. I had a vague idea of what I wanted our homeschool experience to look like but I was also being pulled by outside expectations and preconceived notions.
I had been following Your Parenting Mojo for a while and felt like I could really trust the information coming out of it. When Jen started Your Child's Learning Mojo it felt like permission from someone I trusted to make the right decision regarding her child and all her knowledge and research skills.
I knew this is what I’d been waiting for. Permission to really pursue what I knew to be right.
This membership was the final push I needed to shift my thinking from what I’ve been told my whole life to what I knew to be right in my gut. I feel more confident in my decisions now as an educator and I can more easily ignore the naysayers and doubters. Whenever I start to doubt myself I can look back through the Facebook group or our learning journal, take a deep breath, and know we’re just winding our way through our own path and that it won’t look like anyone else’s. And that reassurance has been a blessing during uncertain times. - Rachel D.
I had realized that a traditional public school was not working for my son, and while we were lucky to find a much better alternative, I wanted to figure out how I could help to preserve both my children's intrinsic love of learning at home.
My children's creativity and excitement over learning has been exploding, and that Jen guides us in such a way that each family's experience can be unique. Until last week, my only concern was that we would never get to all the projects we thought of based on their interests.
Now home because of the coronavirus, we have no shortage of meaningful activities to fill our days for weeks or even months to come. The Your Child's Learning Mojo membership has put me in a position where I can turn lemons into lemonade. - Sara N.
Want more info?
In this video, YCLM member Lucinda tells us about her 4.75-year-old twin daughters' learning exploration of water and sewers!
How long will this take?
The learning aspect isn't incredibly intensive. It requires more of a mindset shift than the memorization of massive amounts of new material.
You could spend an hour or two in each of the first three months reading and thinking about the Guide, and an hour attending the group call or watching/listening to the recording.
After you've learned the new approach you can dedicate as much or as little time to it as you like.
During periods when you and your child are both really enjoying your explorations, you might spend quite a bit of time asking questions, reading relevant books, watching videos, visiting museums, drawing pictures of what you'e learned, etc.
At other times life bubbles up, and you might not formally work on any explorations for a while - but you will always have the knowledge you need to pick up an exploration when your child expresses an interest and you have the time.