Go for the gleam in the eye. In education, we often end to focus on what concepts our kids are learning or not learning. It is important to remember that leaning happens best when the child is interested. Think about it. Don’t you remember more when you are interested in a topic?
As homeschooling parents, we all want our kids to be interested in what we are trying to teach them. But what do we do when they aren’t interested? Do we accept that our kids just won’t ever be interested in something like math or science or grammar?
I say no.
Homeschoolers are in a unique position. We don’t have to dance to the tune of state standards or lesson plans designed for a group rather than an individual We can place a high value on awakening that gleam in the eye.
I like to go for the gleam. When math made my son cry again and again, I didn’t stop there and just accept that he would never like it. Over time, I found a way to turn that around. I was recently thumbing through my son’s math book and found a little note that said “I love math.”
How did we get there?
I started by awakening my own interest in the subject. I knew that if I was not interested, I would not be able to awaken my son’s interest. Enthusiasm, or the lack of it, can greatly influence kid’s attitudes. I found a way to teach the subject in a way that I found interesting.
I changed the way I talked about the subject. Instead of “you need to do your math” I would say “oh, you get to do math now.”
Now, my kid wasn’t buying that at first. But over time, he started to say it that way too. I would show them my excitement and talk the night before about how we were going to have fun doing math the next day.
Sometimes, I wasn’t excited either, but over time I grew to love math too. That was the thing that surprised me the most. In awakening my child’s love of a subject, I awakened my own.
There are so many different ways to learn about something. We don’t need to restrict ourselves to having to learn about it in one specific way.
I took a different approach to math. I found living books to introduce my kids to math topics. A snugly read aloud wasn’t the way they had thought about math. We put math facts on the back burner and focused most of our math time on learning concepts from our standard curriculum. We also practiced math facts, but I didn’t allow difficulties with math facts to hold back our learning of concepts.
I gave it time. It can take awhile to go from tears to love. For my one child it took over 6 years. I’m still working on it with my other kids.
Go for that gleam. It is worth it! My kid who once hated math now plans to go into a math-heavy field.