Ask Away!

“My mother made me a scientist without ever intending to. Every other Jewish mother in Brooklyn would ask her child after school: “So did you learn anything today?” But not my mother, “Izzy,” she would say, “did you ask a good question today?” That difference – asking good questions – made me become a scientist.”

Isidor Rabi

Ask_AwayI’m a firm believer in never letting go of our love of learning. Even as adults, we ought to continue increasing in wisdom. But while some might think learning is merely a matter of intaking knowledge, learning is also the asking of great questions.

One of the many reasons I love our pastors at church is their openness. They are willing to admit they don’t know everything and are constantly encouraging us to test everything we hear against Scripture. Why is this important? We aren’t to simply intake information, accepting it for truth; we are to search truth out and verify what aligns with God’s Word, not man’s.

Shouldn’t all learning be this way? When learning anything new, we ought to break it down to the innermost parts. We ought to weigh the arguments being made, turning them inside and out. Everything we hear, read, and see should be carefully considered and thought over; weighed against God’s Word.

Some parents are afraid of their kids’ questions, especially those about their faith. However, there is no need for fear. It is okay to ask questions. It is good to ask questions! There is no question too big for God; He knows them all and their answers.

Let me be clear, I do not believe in teaching our children to be skeptics; they need to trust our word and what we share with them. But we also want them to be inquisitive and examine the world around them. It’s also important to note: not all questions are because you doubt what is being learned, but because you are attempting to build an argument for why something is true.

In our home, our children understand they are welcome to ask us anything. They are able to question our beliefs and ask why we believe what we believe. By asking these questions of us, in the comfort of a loving family, they are able to have their questions answered fully and truthfully. We are laying a foundation for all the learning to come and the questions they will receive from the world around them.

If we don’t ask questions of our children and encourage them to ask in return, how are we preparing them for the world outside our front doors? We need to learn not only to be open to questions, but welcoming. Wisdom and knowledge have been gained through many a good question. Why not start asking more today?

“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11

🔔Time to Chime In: How do you help your children determine the difference between asking a good question and just questioning authority?

We’d love to see a picture of your inquisitive kiddos! Instagram your homeschool inspired pictures with the hashtag #A_HomeschoolMom & you might find your picture featured on AHM’s Instagram!

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Raising Motivated Learners: Twenty Questions

Raising Motivated Learners SeriesOur goal as parents and educators is to work ourselves out of a job; to raise our children to become responsible adults.

Join us as we share tips on how to raise motivated learners and equip them with the skills to pursue the path the Lord lays before them.

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Remember those days; the ones where your kids asked twenty-million questions about everything around them? They wanted to know what made the sky blue, the birds sing, the flowers grow, and why people got mad. If we’re honest with ourselves, those questions could become tiring after a while. Just how many questions can this little person have? When will the questions stop? Perhaps you’re there now and wondering these things even as you read. Allow me to encourage you with this: If we are doing our jobs right, our children will never stop asking questions and, trust me, that’s a good thing!

One of the swiftest ways we can kill a child’s motivation to learn is by discouraging questions. Being curious and seeking answers is one of the key methods of learning. If we want to raise motivated learners who are prepared for the future, we need to cultivate their curiosity and encourage them to seek the answers.

Lead Them to Ask – I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, but our children follow our example. If we want our children to be motivated learners, we need to be motivated learners. Our children should see us question the world around us and find the answers. Don’t be afraid of being curious, asking tough questions, and researching for truths. Your children will see learning never stops and understand knowledge is a lifelong endeavor.

Teach Them to Ask – Most children are instilled with curiosity and the motivation to learn. They want to find answers, but don’t always know the right questions to ask. As parents and educators, part of our job is to help them ask the right questions and show them where to seek the answers. As we teach them to read, we ask them questions about the book; modeling questions they should ask themselves in the future. As we explore nature, we ask questions and share thoughts; modeling questions they might be asking. As our children see us question things around us, making sense of life, they too will learn how to ask questions and seek answers.

Note: Don’t be afraid to re-word questions our children ask, sharing how the question should have been worded. Part of learning is not just in asking the question, but in asking the right ones. In addition, don’t be afraid of not having answers! Our children need to see us model humility, understanding adults don’t have all the answers. However, use this time to lead them to the person (or resource) which does.

Encourage Them to Ask – As our children begin to grow curious, we need to be open to their questions. While exploring and learning, it helps to ask if they have questions, if they understand everything being learned, or if they would like to share their thoughts. As the questions come, we need to be patient, understanding, and open to hear more.

Applaud Them for Asking – One way our children understand their curiosity is not only welcome, but wanted, is to applaud them for their efforts. Thank them for their questions, congratulate them on asking great questions, commend them for asking questions you hadn’t thought of (hey, it happens!), and pat them on back for seeking knowledge. When our children see we reward their efforts, they are more likely to continue and, therefore, become motivated to learn about the world around them.

Let us be clear… being curious and seeking knowledge through questions should not be confused with questioning authority; these are separate issues entirely. Our children are encouraged to continually be seeking knowledge and are free to ask any question which comes to mind. They are not, however, free or encouraged to be rebellious. Our children are allowed to ask why we do something and should expect an honest answer, but, at the end of the day, they are expected to obey authority unless proved to be immoral.

Questions are a good thing, even if they can try our patience at times. By modeling, teaching, encouraging, and applauding curiosity, we are helping our children become life-learners, motivated to pursue whichever path the Lord sets before them. Let the questions commence!

Time to Chime In: Are there questions your children might ask that you are afraid of; which ones and why?

“Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
– Proverbs 22:6

Once Is Enough

There is little more frustrating than being asked the same question over and over and over and over. To this end, a new rule has been put into effect: “Ask one time; once is enough. Ask me twice and the answer is automatically no.”

Keep in mind, we are not referring to the forgotten questions where I was asked to get someone cocoa and forgot in all our business. No, these repeated questions have already been given an answer and addressed. My children are now asking because either I am not moving fast enough for them or they are trying to change my mind.

Once Is Enough

You know what I mean. “Mom, may I have —, please?” “Maybe.” Two minutes later…. “Mom, may I have —, please?” “I already gave you my answer.” “Oh, right!” Ten minutes later…. “Mom, did you have an answer yet? Can I have it?” “I’m still thinking about it.” The questioning goes on and on until I either give in (bad move on my part) or I get frustrated (also a bad move).

To skip both of these errors, a new rule seemed to be needed. Get my attention, ask your question, and wait for my answer. If my answer is “yes”; more power to you. If “no”; live with it. If “maybe”; wait patiently or the answer will become no.

I am not trying to avoid answering; I am not ignoring my kids. There are some decisions which require thoughtful inquiry and prayer before just popping out an answer.

On the off-chance I do fail to get back to them, I am completely open to them asking politely if I have come to a decision. My only stipulations are that they ask nicely and after I have had some little while to think the matter over or discuss it with my guy.

As a side note: I am also okay with them asking why a decision was “no”. There is nothing wrong with wanting a logical explanation. As long as they are being respectful and seeking the truth (not just being argumentative), I have no problem with this discussion.

What I am trying to avoid is the constant asking which, in my opinion, is the sister to nagging. Once your request is made known, let it be!

How many times can your kids ask for something before the asking needs to stop?