How to Engage Your Reluctant Learner
Your son doesn’t want to sit down and do math again. Your daughter thinks reading is such a drag. You go to bed at night worried that your kids are destined to live with you forever because they won’t learn anything!
The bad news: You may have a reluctant learner on your hands.
The GOOD news: You can overcome this with a little creativity, flexibility, and patience. Oh, and a good heaping of grace for yourself won’t hurt either.
Not sure if your child is a reluctant learner? Read my previous post, Is My Child a Reluctant Learner for insight.
How to Engage a Reluctant Learner
Your child wasn’t born with a dislike of learning, instead it comes as a result of their previous learning experiences. There are many reasons why your child may become a reluctant learner: the curriculum was too advanced or too simple. Previous experiences left the child feeling bored or confused. Maybe years of homework has taken its toll. While there may be many reasons for learning reluctance, the cure is always the same: CHANGE
Tips for getting your child to love learning again
1) Visit the library. Look for picture books, comic books, and magazines on the topics you’re studying, regardless of your child’s academic level. Sure, book-books are ok too, but if your child isn’t into reading breaking it up with short, high-interest bursts of reading could make all the difference.
2) Watch television. I’m not suggesting you let the tv babysit your children, no, but watching educational programming can really turn a disinterested child into an active learner. I highly suggest joining groups like Secular Homeschooling With Netflix & Other Media, or hopping over to your favorite search engine and searching for terms like “streaming media ancient civilizations”. Once you find a show to watch visit Can I Stream It? to see if the program is available on the most popular streaming media services.
3) Get out of the house. Educational opportunities are everywhere, don’t get so wrapped up in books that you forget to look outside. You don’t have to go on a field trip for everything, simply talking to someone who knows about your area of study can be helpful. If nothing else the act of going outside will help to reset your day.
4) Play a game. Games exist for every topic out there, one of my favorite publishers of quality, fun & inexpensive games is Professor Noggin. If you can’t find what you want, or the prices are above your budget, or just to reinforce learning, try making your own games.
5) Try a project. Get your child involved in the learning by completing a project. Whether it’s as simple as mapping the Nile River or as complicated as building a backyard roller coaster, involving your child’s hands will engage their heads and hearts.
Did you know this post is part of a series I wrote about reluctant learners? Check them out!
Day 1 – Is My child a reluctant learner?
Day 2 – Is this Curriculum a Match for my Child?
Day 3 – Is My Child Physically Ready for Homeschooling?
Day 4 – Learning Styles Vs. Teaching Styles
Day 5 – How to Engage Reluctant Learners
Meg Grooms is a long-time homeschooling mother of 6 children, ranging in age from preschool to married with kids of their own. Always a vagabond at heart, Meg and her family have embraced a slow travel lifestyle and currently call Southern California home. Your guess is as good as hers as to where they’ll end up next.
Meg blogs about secular homeschooling and gameschooling at Homeschool Gameschool.