Or, a better question, what do children need to instill a LOVE of learning?
First, access to things they love. And, really, because kids won't know what they love until they have access to it in the first place, it's just a good idea to provide them with a ton of opportunities, supplies, ideas, books.
My NatureMan loves.... nature. Yeah, you guessed it. ;) His passion for all-things-nature seems to be contagious. His room is filled with snake skins, turtle shells, microscopes, field guides, you name it. They're allowed to get these things out pretty much whenever they want, and Dash has taken to dragging stuff out for examination almost hourly.
The boys studying nature, on their free time.
They're learning, to be sure, but "doing school"? Nope. Not right now. :) Not "officially."
We don't neglect our other passions either. Art supplies are KEPT out in this house. Squares of paper are kept on a basket on the table, and containers of crayons, markers, colored pencils and pens are within reach. Always. The kitchen drawer contains scissors, glue sticks, tape, rulers, staplers. Everything to design a house, paint a masterpiece, or build a robot is easily accessible. The only rule is "clean up after yourself, when you're done." Otherwise, they can use all the toilet paper rolls and tape that they want! Dash is my builder. His creations are pretty amazing! The Artist is my animal sketcher. And Little Lad tends to dabble in this and that. Right now I think he prefers play dough over anything else. :)
We also GO places~ creeks and fields, mountains and rivers, hiking and caving,
museums, musicals, plays...
And BOOKS~ don't even get me started on books. I love them, and have bookcases in.every.room. Unlimited access to thousands of stories, biographies, poems...
They can learn anything they want.
They can be anything they want.
Teaching is the best job, isn't it? :D