Homeschooling Insights: What is “Love of Learning” Phase?

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”.

How to Do It

  1. 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.
  2. 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!

For more on Love of Learning:


About the Author:

Rachel is the co-author of Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning and the audio series Core and Love of Learning: A Recipe for Success, and the author of the award-winning educational resource, This Week in History. She is an accomplished musician, writer, literary editor, public speaker, consultant and momschool organizer.


  1. Kimberly May 28, 2011 at 8:36 am - Reply

    This is so hard to do. I am not sure if he is in Love of Learning or still in Core. How do you know if they are just not being lazy? Or is being lazy sometimes a good thing? I personally have a lot of trouble following through with things and I want to make sure my kids don’t end up like that. I just feel that my oldest who is 9, just want to play all day. I try to allow him this time, but I feel like I am failing him by not teaching him math or science or history.
    We read a lot of fictional history and other classic stories, but I can’t help but feel we are missing something.
    Do you ever know for sure?

  2. Rachel DeMille May 31, 2011 at 10:13 am - Reply


    A few thoughts occur to me on this subject:
    1. It’s pretty common for the oldest sibling to hang back a little with his younger brothers and sisters until he’s got company in Love of Learning. As the next one or two move ahead, or at least get closer to transitioning, the oldest commonly moves right along and even leads out. Also note the boys are often more likely to transition a little late than girls.
    2. If you have a inspiration-rich environment, without addictive distractions like too much friend time or electronic entertainment, you can be fairly confident that the children’s play is rich with learning experiences. Review the lessons of Core Phase (see the sample download of Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning, link below) to see what amazing things they’re learning just by being kids and being part of a family!
    3. Family time, including socializing, work and play is a great thing to focus on during this period of impending transition.
    4. Reading together as a family helps build shared experiences and gives you a jumping-off point for projects that build interest and skills. (A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion has some great content on family reading)
    5. Remember, while your children are young you can focus on expanding your own educational repertoire and establishing a family culture of self-education. If you are taking advantage of the small moments to read and discuss, write and share, you will have greater depths to draw from to help your children have good habits of intellectual inquiry and personal development. Remember: You, not Them.

    A few resources come to mind that might be of special benefit to you in your situation:

    * “A Thomas Jefferson Education in our Home: Educating Through the Phases of Learning” (available as a free download here:
    * Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning – goes into quite a bit of detail on the phases and their transitions, how to facilitate them, and the pitfalls to watch for:
    * Core and Love of Learning: A Recipe for Success – 5 hours of audio specifically designed to supplement the above book’s content, focusing on the years from 0 -13. (

    Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions:

    xoxo rd

  3. Katherine June 2, 2011 at 9:55 am - Reply

    Thank you Rachel! You are such a comfort. I think may of us feel as Kimberly does at one time or another. My oldest is almost 13 and he was showing great signs of transitioning to scholar and then poof! nothing. I was feeling quite discouraged. I realized that his social life right now is really slowing his progress. Our church is putting on a dance festival and they have practice twice a week and then they also still have their scout/mutual night on top of that. While it is a good thing to be doing I finally understand why it is not good to have to much. This summer I am going to make sure my son goes back to core and love of learning so the hopefully he will be ready to begin transition again when the season beckon him. It was a comfort to hear the oldest kinda lingers back until they have a buddy. I kinda felt that maybe that may be the case here as well. Thanks for all you do. These emails are so inspiring and uplifting.

  4. Marie Arnold June 6, 2011 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    Thank you!!!! I love the idea of love of learning should “feel like a treasure hunt.” My kids have always loved treasure hunts…I am going to keep that imagery in my mind as I plan/structure each week at FEC. THANK YOU!

  5. Kelsey Eastburn April 3, 2018 at 10:40 pm - Reply

    Thank you for such succinct and clarifying direction! This gives me so much focus!

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.