When They Don’t Want to Learn

I have been spending the last few days sitting back and observing my four children. Why? Because I know that there is more, there is always more, that we can do in our homeschool.

Frequently as of late my oldest son has been a lot of grumbling when it’s time to do his work each day. You know how do you homeschool with four children when one refuses to do anything? I chewed on this for quite a while, I really did. And in the beginning I admit we just forced him through his school work. But then I heard him out of the words ” I hate learning” and that’s it off all kinds of panic buttons in me.

I am such a lover of learning. I can spend hours reading and listening to lectures and sermons. I have so much fun learning different languages. And I want my children to grow up eager to learn and explore all that is around them too. So when I hear one of them say how much they hate to learn, I know I need to seriously change what we’re doing. And fast!

My oldest son is very visual and very kinesthetic. Which is completely opposite of how I like to learn. He is active and loud( I guess what boy isn’t? ) and he can spend all day watching videos and playing games. But he hates to read and as much as he loves to create he isn’t a writer either. So how do you encourage learning like that? I have to say, I still struggle with how we have recreated things with him.

But since he loves to draw we try to draw as much as we can. There are so many fun books out there to draw your way through history and through the Bible. Math can be so much more fun when you are solving puzzles and coloring in hidden pictures as you complete math problems. And we have apps that encourage him to learn and explore and build. We even have a few that allow him to record himself, as if he’s making his own movie.

When it comes to learning I believe with all my heart but it is so important for children to find and then follow their passion. Of course we all and do our math, those things are just non negotiable and especially for our kids to do struggle when it comes to learning, if they can follow those rabbit trails and grow the things that matter most to them, they are sure to learn great things. 

So in this season of my oldest son’s life there are lots of audio books playing in our home. There is a keyboard and a guitar there are lots of art supplies for my crafty little man. And we really try to allow him to follow those things that matter to him as much as we can. Of course we still struggle some days with getting through those general core subjects that we all need. But it is fun to sit back and watch him as he explores. From building derby cars 2 wood carving classes, archery and fishing when the weather is good, computer coding and art and speech and debate.

These are all things that matter to him. I’m just a matter to him that these projects are things that he is going to spend time and energy not just doing but doing well. I remind myself that sometimes no matter how silly these things may seem to be, there is strong character being built within him as he applies himself and studies and practices skills each day.

It occurred to me the other day to that perhaps are reluctant learners aren’t really reluctant about learning. Perhaps how we are teaching and what we are teaching isn’t as important for the time as we think it is. While I want my son to know Shakespeare perhaps Pirates matter more.  Perhaps I want to study cells and plant life but if he’s more interested in the manatees and horses of course there will be some reluctance there. So I guess, when it comes right down to it, how about when are children are reluctant to learn, we allow them to lead us at least for a time?

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2 thoughts on “When They Don’t Want to Learn

  1. Taking that path led by the students can be so hard for the parent educator but I agree – it makes a huge difference in their learning. We just changed some of our approaches and it has made all the difference in attitude. Thanks for sharing this outlook. – Lori

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