Guest author and entrepreneur Valerie Grison is the Founder, CEO and Creative Director of StoraLab, a company creating exciting, engaging online & mobile experiences for kids age 7-14.
How do kids learn? How do kids actually remember what they learn? Could it be that kids learn much better when they get the answer to something they are already wondering about?
We know that kids don’t really learn when we are trying to pack their brain with information or knowledge. The information goes out of their brain as soon as they have no reason to remember it. Those of you who are parents of Middle School to higher grades have surely experienced that.
You work on a history exam with your child. She/he will eventually be able to remember the lesson and the details that go with it, but they only manage to do it by making effort, sometimes without you having to get mad at them. Proud parents, you did it, they know it almost by heart!
One month later, the same topic crops-up in a discussion, and you're very happy, proud because you know your kid will know, but...nothing. She/he doesn't remember a single word of it, and worse, doesn’t even remember having learned it!
Every parent has had to help their child with homework and knows how painful it is and how little reward both of you get from it. It can even ruin a kid/parent relationship.
So what is the best way to get kids to learn? Kids remember very well what they want to know. (Actually, this is not specific to kids. Every human being is like that.) Finding the answer to something you are already wondering about is satisfying. Satisfaction leads to a better chance that you’ll remember it. At least, you remember you already thought about the topic and might be able to fumble around in your memory to get it back.
So, getting the answer fills you with satisfaction...Asking a question is the best way to open, widen your mind. A question leads to an answer or to another question. Wondering is the essence of human life. (Animals don't do it.)
Here we come to Socrates: "Wisdom begins in wonder." Wisdom is all we wish for our kids and for ourselves...
The most valuable thing is not to answer; it is to encourage wondering.
So let your kids wonder, encourage them to take that path. They will broaden their mind, They will look all around them. Learn about the word. Learn to accept the difference. Learn to become tolerant. Learn life.