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Learning is Like Eating

  • You have to do it, or you won’t survive.
  • There are a million different ways to do it, and almost that many opinions on which way is the best.
  • You can survive on a bland, monotonous diet, but with a little variety to spice things up, you can really thrive.

There are so many delicious styles and customs of eating on this planet; So many different ways to meet our bodies’ needs for nourishment. At any given time, there are a zillion different opinions about which foods in which forms and quantities confer the most benefits, even within the culture of a single country, like the United States. I can’t be the only one who has noticed a similar tendency in the area of educational theories, as well!

Through our experiences with sampling different foods, though, we develop a sense of what flavors agree with us, suit our sense of taste, and appeal to our particular appetites. Those of us with the freedom to experience different educational approaches also learn to identify and seek out the routes that work the best for our own circumstances.

Although some of us have a bigger appetite for culinary adventure than others, it’s interesting that most of us seem to tire of a diet that is too monotonous, too much of the same dull combination of flavors. Our bodies crave variety, seeking to ensure an adequate supply of all the various vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and sugars that we require for optimal health.

Similarly, we often crave a generous variety of learning activities and opportunities. We can get especially excited by learning new things in new ways, and even more so if those ways are well suited to our learning styles, interests, and abilities.

To be sure, we can survive on a bland and limited subsistence diet. Indeed, many on this planet have precious little choice. Too many are lucky to get even meager crumbs of nourishment.

Likewise, many families have comparatively little say in the quality or form of their children’s educational experiences. They may find that their children are stuck in hostile and toxic educational environments, ill-suited to meet their educational needs, and without the flexibility to adapt. They must then settle for a subsistence level education.

Homeschooling families, however, are lucky enough to have the freedom to select their preferred educational flavors. They enjoy the liberty to season their experiences with a variety of strategies, approaches, and activities.  They, and afterschooling families as well, are always looking for the best ways to inspire their children to reach their full potential.

What is the best way to whet an appetite for learning?

The answers to that question are as varied as all the cuisines of the world, and can only be discovered one person at a time. While there are infinite ways to fulfill our basic needs, each person will have preferred approaches that suit their culture, their experiences, and their constitutional make-up.

And even after we identify our preferred ways of learning (or eating), and get into a routine that suits our families, we still benefit from a little variety, a little spice to keep our interest and enjoyment levels high.

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10 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. That is a great comparison! Thanks for sharing it. :)

  2. Anna

    I’ve never thought of it this way! I have a new response to virtually any homeschool ‘issue’. Very nice blog. :)

  3. april

    Hi Anna and Summer – Thanks for reading, and I’m glad the comparison was helpful!!

  4. Nice analogy and very true. Not only is a little variation nice for the palate, it is important to remember the main food groups. : ) They can be dressed up a variety of ways, but they create a foundation for life.

  5. april

    Good point, Dana. There are lots of ways to get your veggies in, right? Thanks for the comment!!

  6. april

    I love it Anna! Way to take an idea and run with it, ;-) Seems this analogy just keeps going . . .

  7. So, what’s the educational equivalent of Ben and Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Cookie? I know it’s bad, but it’s SO GOOD. Would that be, like, memorizing pop music lyrics from the 80s? Hehehe.

  8. april

    . . . and going . . .

    Hilarious, Lydia! We now know that the analogy works with junk food, too!

    Thanks for the contribution!

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