I got an email from a mom with a 6 year-old son who was hating school by the end of his first week.
It made me ponder, if you wanted to make a kid hate learning, how would you do it? Here are some ideas I had:
- At a young age, take them out of their natural, home environment and put them in a group learning environment.
- Make them sit for periods of time on hard chairs.
- Restrict their access to nature.
- Give them desk work they’d rather not be doing, and tell them that if they don’t finish, they will miss their outside play time.
- Place them in a group so big they won’t be able to receive much individual attention.
- Make them learn what someone else says they should be learning, not the things in which they are most interested.
- Give them a teacher who’s not personally concerned about their feelings and happiness.
Yes, no? Does any of this sound familiar, bring back memories or seem unnatural?
These conditions happen often in public school, but can be present in other school settings and even in homes.
Learning is a choice, and if we force our children to learn only what we want them to, they won’t retain the information. Do you remember everything you learned in grade school? I know I don’t. I don’t remember a majority of what I learned in high school … and college also, because it wasn’t what I was passionate about.
The bottom line is, we need to love our children enough to hunt for whatever environment will be most nurturing and interesting for them. It may be in our home or in a school environment, even a public school environment. We just need to understand what goals exist in that environment and if that’s what we really want for our child.
Here is a chat I had with the mom who emailed me about her 6 year old son. He was struggling with the conditions outlined above. Luckily, this mother found a solution that worked for her son and ended up benefiting their whole family.
We’ve got to be very careful about the things our kids don’t enjoy when it comes to learning. If we help them be able to pursue their interests the majority of the time, than they will be more willing to learn the essential things that they’re not so excited about. We need to be on the lookout for making those essential skills as fun as possible.
If something is not working for you or your child, it’s not going to significantly set them back if you pull them out of school OR put them into school when needed. We knew of a public school principle in Arizona that had his children go to school every other year, and home schooled them every other year.
A few months or even a year is not going to make or break anything in your child’s education in the long run. Giving them time or resources to pursue their own interests, allowing them a break, creating a new learning environment, or providing more nurturing at home may be exactly what they need to be balanced individuals with high self-worth in the long run.
How do you help your children love learning?