Lifelong Learning is a 'Thing'

It's graduation season and the school year has already ended for many, and will end soon for many others. Unless you're taking classes this summer, you made it to the end of another school year. Although you may not be taking any courses right now, it doesn’t mean learning has to come to an end. Lifelong learning is a 'thing.' Try not to be complacent with your education, no matter how old you are. While writing this, my mind went back to when Paul Jr. was very young. Each summer, he spent time with loved ones including grandparents and favorite cousins. Although I was aware that his brain needed a break during the summer months, I was still very intentional about including daily reading in his routine. I sent books along with him wherever he went and expected him to complete the assignments we talked about. I purchased books for the following school year or for the next age level, and it paid off. He was in the gifted program in the first grade. In addition to reading to him at home, I volunteered monthly to read to his class in Pre-K and did that for a couple of years. I saw the impact of reading and my son was placed in the gifted program in the first grade. Although I eventually stopped forcing him to read during the summer, he made it a practice. He remained in the gifted program and finished high school in AP classes with honors. While preparing for the SAT and graduation, we specifically prayed for at least a 3.7 GPA and 1200 score. God enabled him to complete the assignments and study, and he ended with exactly what we prayed for: a 3.7 and a 1200! As a child, he dreaded having to complete “Mom’s homework” during the summer, but to this day he loves reading. During the summer months, it’s ok to play games, because maintaining physical activity is important too. Taking mental breaks is necessary, but don’t stop reading for the entire summer. This is for students of all ages and those who consider themselves lifelong learners. Even if you feel like you cannot stand the thought of picking up another book, give yourself a brief break, push through that feeling, and get back in the books as soon as possible. Did you know that several countries around the world have academic years that go almost year-round. They have several weeks designed for breaks or vacation. The United States has the shortest school year. I am NOT saying that our children should be in school practically year-round. Kids in year-round schools attend classes for anywhere from six to nine weeks in a row, broken up by two- to four-week vacations, which many say keeps the learning process ongoing with minimal disruption. I also read that children who attend year-round schools generally have higher test scores and retention rates. Again, I am not lobbying or pushing year-round schooling, however, I am making the point that as we read we’re keeping our brains active, healthy and sharp. There are so many benefits that I do not have the time to list them all. I love reading and I do so daily because I love to keep learning. In fact, the subtitle of my book lets you know that I’m “Still Learning and Growing.” When you stop learning, you become stagnant. During COVID-19, book sales surged. As restrictions loosen up you have to find ways to keep reading in your daily schedule even though it’s becoming easier to engage in outdoor activities and gatherings. As I said earlier, it might be the end of the school year, but it’s not the time to stop learning. Keep learning and growing. You won’t regret it.

Lifelong Learning is a Thing
Lifelong Learning is a Thing

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