I’m Not Interested

I'm_Not_InterestedHe’s just sitting there. It’s not as if he doesn’t understand what is being taught, but his eyes are glazed over and there a slump to his seat. If he had a choice, he’d rather do almost anything else.

She’s staring me down; the frustration, irritation, and genuine lack of enthusiasm radiating from her rigid form. Sure, she could do it, but why? Why study hours of seemingly pointless details.

What’s wrong in both of the above situations? Neither child is interested and they are clearly making it known. It’s not that they don’t want to study anything, they just don’t want to study that. No matter how you try to twist the lesson to make it more appealing, this child doesn’t engage. What’s a mom to do?

(sigh) I wish I was the ultimate teacher; able to make all children not only learn anything taught, but also like what they are learning. Unfortunately, I, too, often have to find creative ways to encourage my children to learn. Oh, sure, there are some things they’d jump at the chance to do, but others take a lot more persuasion, and even that doesn’t always work.

So, here is the dilemma: When our children show no interest, none whatsoever, in a subject, do we force it upon them? If the thought of having to write research papers fills our children with dread, do we still make them do it? If algebra sickens them, do we push them through the equations anyway?

So much of life isn’t black-and-white. There aren’t easy responses to these questions; no pat answers. Each family must pray about the individual situation and ask the Lord to give them wisdom in how best to handle it. I would, however, like to share a few thoughts…

The Littles

For those with little kids balking at the notion of having to learn undesired subjects, perhaps it is our method of teaching which is hindering their desire to move forward. It might also be likely that we are introducing topics at too early an age. One further thought is that our children really don’t understand what they are going to learn. Sure, they hear the words – Language Arts – but they don’t correlate that with the telling of stories and crafting of words. Sometimes it takes a creative moment on the parent’s behalf to make the topic sound worthwhile.

The Middles

The workload is starting to increase and our children are beginning to take notice. They don’t like the idea of having to learn more subjects or take on more work; things they used to enjoy have now become a chore. Did we increase their load too soon or all at once? Perhaps we forgot to take the time to make the topic more interesting, assuming they were big enough now to simply tackle any project plopped in front of them. We mustn’t let our middle children get lost in the mix or forget to make learning fun.

The Big Guys

So you’ve got a high school student, huh? Subjects like algebra, biology, and composition are looming in front of their eyes, all with loads of work attached. The child insists they don’t want to take that chemistry class, failing to see the need for learning the periodic table of elements and such. Here is where things get tough. In their younger years you had plenty of time to ‘catch up’ on lost subjects you might’ve forgotten or skipped along the way; there were several years left in their educational pursuits. But, now? Now you’ve got only four short years to prep them for college and/or adult life. Do you force them to take all those college prep classes, no matter what they have to say to the contrary? Do you let them decide for themselves what they wish to study?
Again, each family needs to make these decisions for themselves and it’s not always an easy task. Through prayer, council, and wisdom we must decide for each child what is best. For some, they need the push to study topics not readily desired. Others would only be stressed and hate learning altogether if shoved.
I would still encourage us to find fun ways to make learning fun. However, at this stage, we also need to stretch our children. They ought to learn life isn’t always fun, easy, convenient, or made to order. Homeschooling offers us many options, and we are grateful for all of them, but we are attempting to raise responsible adults. And, not all responsibility is fun or wanted.

Do we force learning on our children? Oh, sometimes. We want to try new things with them, expand their horizons, and help them get a well-rounded education. We need to remember though to be careful in our desire to stretch our children. We want them to be challenged, we don’t want them to be broken.

“An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” – Proverbs 18:15

🔔Time to Chime In: Have you ever forced your child to learn a particular subject/topic and then later regretted it? Have you ever forced your child and later had them thank you for the opportunity? Share your story with us!


9 thoughts on “I’m Not Interested

  1. We see our subjects as revelatory (algebra and physics are our current challenges) so pointlessness is never an issue, just gearing up for the hard work. The only time I questioned myself was pushing my son through 12 years of piano, once it was clear he was unlikely to pursue a music major. I persisted because music is an amazing discipline and richly spiritual, but also does some interesting things in the brain in a way that normal study simply does not. I shared these reasons with him many times during his high school years when life was hectic and he slacked off on practicing. He has used his knowledge on his jobs, and with media projects. He picked up guitar at college, and comes home and plays repertoire, and appreciates all sorts of music – so yes – that effort to keep it going was well worth the trouble! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are so right! There really is such a fine line. My son doesn’t want to learn his math facts. But those are non-negotiable. Piano, though I never thought it woild be (I’m a musician !), sadly, IS. For now. We will try again later.

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  3. I related to your thoughts on methods and littles. My daughter has been in tears over math lately. We’ve already tried a few different curricula, but I decided to give it one more try with something new. We just started Teaching Textbooks, and she is telling me she’s so excited to do her math tomorrow! Win! Maybe even her math-adverse mama will give it a roll. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We just changed our math curriculum as well and my son loves it (Critical Thinking Co.) once he starts…. but it is SOOO hard to get him to start anything. We seem to spend the majority of the day negotiating and fighting. I really don’t understand it because he is always happy once he starts and over the moon when he completes something.

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  5. I love the remarks you make about the littles. Mine is 4 and I definitely can say that there has been a time or two that I think I have tried to introduce things too early. We struggled, I put it away, and then when she was ready, she initiated and did it herself. This was especially true for coloring and drawing. Thanks for the great post. And thanks for stopping by my blog as well!

    Liked by 1 person

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