"Love of learning" is a big catch phrase in homeschooling circles, and often implies that parents should make learning fun through the use of elaborate games, projects and activities.
While I do think it's important to raise children who enjoy learning, I often wonder if we aren't overemphasizing "fun" in our pursuit of that goal. It seems some of us are in danger of raising fun addicts - children who are in need of constant entertainment, who will only work when bribed with generous incentives and rewards.
One problem with placing too much emphasis on fun is that can be a recipe for burnout. Parents can become slaves to their children's whims and desires, always looking for something fresh and exciting to grab their interest. This is often not only time-consuming, but downright exhausting.
In some homes, parents work under the ever-looming threat of hearing, "I want to go to public school!" I encourage parents not to place themselves in competition with public school teachers. We don't home school because I've convinced my children homeschooling is better for them. We home school because I know homeschooling is better for them. If there's a competition, I'm the judge.
Another problem with overemphasizing fun is that it creates unrealistic expectations. Sometimes there's nothing fun about the process of learning. Fun is often a result of the joy and satisfaction that comes from having learned new information, even if the pursuit of that information wasn't fun.
There was nothing fun about reading the volumes of material I had to read in order to build my website. However, I did enjoy taking that information and using it to achieve a worthwhile goal.
Am I suggesting that we stop doing fun projects and activities? Absolutely not! But I do believe in balance. And I also believe that some of the pressure many homeschool moms feel could be relieved if we put fun in proper perspective.
In our home, fun is a part of every single day. We smile, laugh, skip, hum and sing. We tell jokes and we play games. We're not a fun family because I've stressed myself to the breaking point in an attempt to provide constant entertainment. We're a fun family because we enjoy each other.