Here are some of the all time most-used excuses…
“I’ll never use that.”
“How will this ever help me?”
“I don’t care about this!”
“Math is boring.”
And of course, the eternal… “Nope, no homework tonight!”
The origin of these excuses and all the others like them is found in wanting to learn about a specific topic. If learning is perceived as a chore, it becomes more difficult.
Let’s not kid ourselves. Every student is not going to be fascinated with Algebra. So we do things that help them along such as providing structure, a time and place for homework, the proper guidance and support, etc.
But there are things you can do as a parent to make learning more interesting and to make your child want to learn. Here are a few ideas:
Sports – over Thanksgiving I overheard a 7 year old boy talk to his father while watching the Redskins football game. They talked about Robert Griffin III and his running yardage and about whether or not to kick an extra point or “go for it.” This is a great opportunity to work on math – by making it fun! How many different ways could the losing team come back to win? If the Quarterback runs 4 plays at 5 yards, 10 yards, 12 yards and 18 yards, what is his running average? The possibilities are endless, but by turning something the child likes into a learning activity, it will help boost understanding academic concepts.
Go see it – here in the Washington area we have a wonderful collection of museums and historic places to visit. Those in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William Counties no longer have to drive into DC to visit the Air and Space museum with the new facility right near Dulles Airport. Sulley Plantation is a wonderful place to visit to learn about nineteenth-century living. Mt. Vernon is right around the corner. The Manassas Battlefield Park is a great place to explore nature and learn Civil War history. The point is that when a subject becomes tangible and interactive, your child will be more receptive to learning.
Set the example – If you have ever wondered why your child behaves a certain way or likes certain things, just look in a mirror! Our children do what we do. Pick up a book and read it! Set an example by being curious about things that interest you. It will rub off and you’ll help your child develop their intellectual curiosity too.
Look for ways to help your child want to learn. If he or she becomes interested in a topic, the good grades typically follow.