Is there a best way to get our children to develop a liking for studying? I've been rather lucky in this respect. My first daughter was always a book worm. Or, was it I that turned her into one? - either way she homeschooled through middle and high school, and always without a home tutor.
In the beginning she did ask me whenever she could not understand something, but my answer was invariably "I'm sorry. I don't now. Why don't you look look it up?" In a matter of just a short few weeks the number of questions diminished; a couple of months later they disappeared all together. Think what you may, I assure you'd be wrong to give me the "Worst Dad Ever" award, and this is because I did it all on purpose.
While growing up, I like many other children had my good share of subjects to learn. My dad, someone you'd nowadays probably tag a "Tiger Father" (from the more common Chinese "Tiger Mother" figure), enrolled me in as many courses as he could and kept me busy 6 days a week 7 am to 8 pm. By the age of 10 I could play the piano and flute. I had my own portfolio of drawings and was a black belt in judo and green in karate. I also had extra math classes, but I only excelled at that many years later as a result of some improbable happening.
I had lots to do, yes, but my dad did reserve a slot, in his busy schedule, to play with me. Long story short; though, this play time never allotted to much, and adding a lack of common interest to the equation, we simply ended drifting apart.
I've never been much of a listener, and tend to be a rather dominant and harsh group leader. I grew up dealing with schooling myself - it was always too late for me to develop the bad habit of asking others when I didn't get something. I learned to do the research and to teach myself. Thus one of my life mottos: "Want it done right? Do it yourself." Now an adult I find it hard to understand when people ask so many silly questions, so often. I have erroneously made myself believe I'm a normal person that looks for answers and fills in the gaps on autopilot. Presenting a problem without a set of possible solutions has become a commonality among the majority.
When it comes to learning methods, the sad truth is most of us have become victims of practicality, sheep in a flock willing to take the road presented to us, regardless of what logic and common sense may dictate. It's easier to say 'Yes', than to say 'No' having the knowledge to back it up. To us teachers, are carriers of the indisputable truth. We fail to question when in doubt. That sixth sense of curiosity, our God-given gift, has died off to give way to thoughtless mimicry and a life only an assembly-line robot could settle for.
I've probably said too much of myself, but you can see where this is going. I have been a parent and a teacher for the past fifteen years - I started lecturing, giving away all the answers (to many unasked questions). These days I find myself asking my students all the questions they thought they'd be asking me.
Helping our children develop this learning protocol is about perseverance and keeping a tough face to time after time tell them "I'm sorry. I don't now. Why don't you look look it up?" It's about being convincing in times of deep skepticism - everyone will find themselves wondering at one point or another how come those questions in the assignment require those who know little or nothing to explain all the hows and whys.
Rome was not built in one day, and so many troubled minds who fail to understand the concept, nag me to no end to return to the old ways. But "Life goes on," I say. Eventually these kids will have to learn to deal with the world without me. I rather be forgotten for being the jerk that made them them learn to fish, than to be remembered for spoon-feeding them the meal they won't be able to get when once I'm gone.