What do badgers eat? Why can't we see the wind? Does metal come from the ground?
What's the gospel? Is anyone going to the moon ever again? Why can't you turn left at a red light?
Can I have a puppy? Were there giant woolly mammoths? Why do people have sin in their hearts?
Why do you have to pay tax? Why did God put weeds in the garden? Why do we have night?
Are we ever going to eat donuts?
Every day is like a game of twenty (thousand) questions.
Children love to ask, examine, and interrogate; it's how they discover. And in the midst of the inquiries, I have to push to ignore the ringing phone, disappear the dirty dishes, and block the needy blog post. It might not always be possible to pause, but I can be deliberate about trying. Because answering is serious stuff. If my kids' questions are continually ignored, they might stop asking them.
Answering my kids' questions and asking my kids questions will lay the foundation for future interest led learning adventures.
How I Handle the Inquisitive
- I simply stop and answer questions as much as possible.
- I don't have to know all the answers, but "I don't know" shouldn't be my standard reply unless it's followed by "let's find out."
- I record time-hogging questions in a notebook–showing my boys that their questions are valuable. They know that I eventually intend to answer.
- As I confront challenging questions, I've taught my older son how to find answers, allowing him to feed his own curiosities as he matures.
You can also use your own question asking power to cultivate curiosity.
How I Quiz!
- I respond to a question with a question. What do you think will happen? Where do you think that comes from?
- I try use questions to instill a sense of wonder; this is especially easy when we are outdoors together. I started this practice with my babies– before they could reply. How many stars do you think there? What is different about that bird? Who do you think is making these holes in our garden? What did you find under that rock?
- When I'm reading a book, I occasionally stop and ask an open-ended question. Do you think Fern was right? Would you like to be Charlotte or Wilbur? Why? Who do you know that reminds you of Charlotte? How?
- I keep my eyes wide and look for natural opportunities to ask questions that will incite curiosity.
Answer questions. Ask questions. Cultivate your child's curiosity.