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My Child Hates Learning! A simplified Look at Helping Them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwEGLI9Dk_o

Oh what do you do when your child hates learning? If you are anything like me you quietly have moments of tears in the shower when you are alone. I love to learn and have always had a dream and desire that my children would follow in my footsteps. What I had never planned for was a child who pushed back at any form of formal learning. Informal learning? No worries. She doesn’t know. But having to learn to read and write? You would think I was the worst mother in the world.

And we homeschool! It is not like she is having to get up early, be in class all day and (heaven forbid) having to do what she is told to do. But whether or not your child is in public or private school, or homeschooling, there are things we can do to encourage them. It can be challenging. It can be hard. And you might still end up crying in the shower, but there are things you can do to help.


STRATEGIES TO HELP

There are many different strategies that might help if your child hates learning. Here are some top ones. 

1. Understand the root cause

Why do they hate learning? Is it because they find the material too difficult? Maybe they’re not interested in the subjects…..”it’s boring!”. Perhaps they’re struggling with how they are being taught. (This is where understanding their learning style can really help.)

Your child might not be able to fully communicate their reasonings, but keep the conversation going. Take deep breaths and be prepared that it might take some detective work of Sherlock Holmes caliber.  Understanding the underlying reasons can help you address what is going on more effectively.

2. Find their interests and make it fun

Discover what your child is passionate about and try to incorporate those interests into their learning. For example, if they love animals, you could use animal-themed books or activities to make learning more engaging. We have had some interesting themes come up that we have studied. Animal poop was the most beloved one. I know far too much about that topic now. 

Look for ways to make learning enjoyable. Use games, puzzles, educational apps, or hands-on activities to make it more interactive and entertaining. My daughter hates to write. She loves to write stories and will gladly dictate them into her computer but DON’T ask her to write it out. I started her on Night Zookeeper and now she is getting up early to do some work on that program. She loves creating animals and then their stories. (I hope this enthusiasm continues.)

3. Be patient and supportive…..and honest

It’s important to be patient and supportive. This is probably the hardest one for me – to be patient. I have to bite my tongue daly. We need to avoid putting too much pressure on our children, and offer praise and encouragement for their efforts, no matter how small. Do I sometimes resort to “positive reinforcement” (aka bribes)? Yes. More than I care to admit. But I have to get her motivated somehow. 

But we also need to be honest. We have regular talks about how getting an education is something I am legally bound to do, and is her “job”. I will share when I didn’t enjoy school (basically science and PE) and I will be open about how I feel about her “hate”. I do share that it will get easier if she practices more, but that I will also back off and work with her at her pace. 

4. Seek external support 

If your child is struggling with specific subjects, consider seeking a tutor or additional educational support to help them overcome their difficulties. This ties in with the underlying reasons why they hate learning. I have offered to get someone else to come and do schooling with my daughter. This was met with great distaste as apparently I am the only one who is allowed to teach her. 

5. Lead by example 

This is one that sounds so good on paper and out loud….”Children often learn by observing the behavior of adults around them.” I know that if you show enthusiasm for learning and demonstrate a positive attitude towards learning, your child may be more likely to follow suit. But, honestly I model reading and writing and a love of learning daily and it is still not being followed. One day it might. I will still keep leading by example, and still read in front of them and talk about so many amazing books I read when I was younger (or even now). And I hope that we see a turnaround. 


If your child is in school: Communicate with teachers

If your child is in school you can still do all the above strategies. Some are easier to do if homeschooling – like following their interests and making it fun. It is good to keep an open line of communication with your child’s teachers to understand their progress and any challenges they might be facing in the classroom. Be open with them about your child’s dislike of learning. Ask for help in maybe limiting homework so you don’t have a battle on two fronts. 

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It’s important to remember that every child is unique, and what works for one child may not work for another. I have twins and I see this so very clearly. It may take time to find the right approach, so be patient and persistent in your efforts to encourage your child’s love for learning. It will get there. And the great news is that not every child hates learning not will it last forever.

Is your child a reluctant learner? Check out this post.

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