Age: (Commonly) 7, 8 or 9ish to 12-13ish—boys often just a little later on both ends.
The emphasis here is on Love above Learning. This distinction is only necessary because so many of us have a conveyor belt hangover, and we tend toward duplicating our own experiences with conveyor belt systems.
These are the years when children dabble with subjects, getting to know “what’s out there”. If they have come from the Core Phase in good order they are often fearless, feeling like almost everything will be interesting and believing that they will be able to do whatever they set their minds to.
Children learn accountability through their family obligations, chores, personal grooming, attitude, etc. School time is simply “fun,” with no sense of obligation to be responsible or committed to a particular path.
In any endeavor: let them get what they came for (fun, curiosity, exposure, ???) and then move on when they want, however short or long that time might be. You are the parent with the right and obligation to set healthy limits during “School Time” (like: no friends over, no video games, no [certain type of other diversion]), but be sure you aren’t limiting something for the wrong reasons.
Keep your eye on the prize! The most important thing to learn during this phase is Love of Learning. Just remember: by supporting their love of learning they will truly excel in some areas that will later be a spring board for learning in other areas that they might not yet be interested in. And if they enter their youth with a profound excitement for and love of learning, there is absolutely nothing that they can’t “catch up.”
We can’t reasonably cover everything in these years. We can’t reasonably cover “everything” in 90 years! Of all the lessons they master in these pre-adolescent years, the most important value, the one that will enable the child to really learn what they do study and successfully cover later all the rest, is the Love of Learning. That value governs the whole concept of “Inspire, not Require”.
How to Do It
- Avoid committing to a curriculum or lesson structure that has external demands (financial commitments, practice schedules) you are not willing to compromise. In most cases, you can find a way to gain the value of that experience without the Scholar-level requirements. In the few cases you cannot, strongly consider letting it wait until Scholar Phase.
- Be patient! The time for such demands and structure is coming soon during Scholar Phase! Love of Learning should feel like a treasure hunt. Parents, especially those who thrive on structure and follow-through, need to be on track in their own progression in the Phases as a means of gaining confidence in this time of high-energy/low-demand. The more you want to push and manipulate the kids, direct it at yourself! Remember: Inspire, not Require!
For more on Love of Learning:
- Core and Love of Learning Seminar Highlights
- Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning
- A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion
- Audio Download: The 7 Keys of Great Teaching
- Blog Post: Nurturing the Foundation
- Blog Post: The Key of Keys in Leadership Education
- Newsletter Article: Does Force Equal Rigor?
- Newsletter Article: Love Changes Everything
- Blog Post: What Homeschoolers Want Most
- Blog Post: Leaving the Kids’ Calendar Blank
- Blog Post: The Chemistry of Genius?
- Blog Post: How do you organize homeschool for a large family?
- Kidschool Resource: This Week in History
- Kidschool Resource: Math Classics for Kids
- Blog Post: The Master Within
- Blog Post: With our Aprons On
- Newsletter Article: Them, not You – A Problem We Can Solve
- Newsletter Article: Are you just reading to them? GIGO.
- Article: Classics for Young Children and Family Reading
- Blog Post: Leader in Progress – Please Do Not Disturb
- Blog Post: Homeschooling a Large Family, 2
- Article: Living Math
- Article: Biblical Highlights for Young Children
- Article: Classics for Young Readers
- Blog Post: Poetry and Kidschool
- Blog Post: Language through the Phases, Part 1
- Blog Post: Language through the Phases, Part 2
- Article: Caldecott Award Winners
- Blog Post: The Family Library
- Blog Post: Homeschooling for Excellence – A Thomas Jefferson Cultivation
- Blog Post: Flawless
- Blog Post: Raising Acorns
- Downloadable Resources: A Thomas Jefferson Education in our Home, Lists of Classics, Let’s Learn Times Tables, and more
- Blog Post: Kindling, Carrot Sticks and Kidschool