How to Foster Exploration

How to Foster Exploration

Every child loves to create things and mine are no exception. My guess is that yours are not either.

I am always amazed at the different things my kiddos create. Although, if I am perfectly honest, sometimes I get frustrated by all the mess—I know that I am not the only one who feels this way!  But I get over that by reminding myself that they are learning.

You see, exploration is the purest form of learning, especially for learning about science.

I can tell my daughter or my son that they need to have a certain number of sides to make a strong building and that a roof helps to give that building more structural strength.  She might even listen to me, but chances are eventually, she will forget.

However, if she sits down and tries to put together a building with cardboard sheets on her own . . . she learns through trial and error what gives her creation the strength it needs to stand. She internalizes this information and the next time she tries to build a house, she’ll remember what she has learned and apply it to her latest project.

So how do we as parents encourage exploration as a form of learning?

Here are three tips to get you started!

#1 – Foster exploration through materials.

I keep a box of stuff that is accessible to my children. It is filled with things like masking tape, paper, card-stock, paper clips, rubber bands, pencils, cotton balls, marbles, and so on.

My kids know that they can take things from this box without asking at any time and I won’t be upset. I also entertain all requests for other materials they need and within reason, I usually grant those requests.

Providing a box of materials that your homeschooled students can use to explore in their down time is one way you can encourage exploration.

#2 – Foster exploration with ideas.

We use curricula that encourages experimentation and exploration, but in addition to that we watch shows lots of nature documentaries. These types of shows not only provide scientific fact, they also spark an interest to learn more.

We also read a lot of living books because they are great sources for inspiration. These books weave fact into an interesting story-line, which keeps the students interested in learning.

The point is to provide an environment in which your homeschooled students learn facts that inspire them to explore the topics even more.

#3 – Foster exploration by modeling.

When your child asks, mom how does this work? Don’t be afraid to say I don’t know, let’s try to figure it out.

When you sit down with your child to figure out how something works, it sends a clear message to them that you think itis worth the time to figure it out.  This will serve to build their own desire to explore their environment.

Wrapping it Up

It is so valuable to give our children the opportunity to stretch their imagination and to try out their ideas through exploration. After all many of the great scientists discovered their love of the science through exploring the things around them.

Paige Hudson

About the author

Paige Hudson is an author, speaker, and homeschooling mom of two. She discovered her love of science early on, which led to her getting a BS in Biochemistry from Virginia Tech. These days, Paige and her husband share their passion for science with homeschoolers through their company, Elemental Science. You can also find her sharing tips and tools for homeschool science education at their company blogs – Elemental Science Blog and Sassafras Science Blog.

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