I have worked with children for over 15 years, and have two daughters, and 3 granddaughters of my own. I know that I have heard this statement many times, "Why do I need to learn my math, I hate it!" The subject can be math, reading, history, science or writing. What do you do with this origination, which is often said in anger and genuine upset?
I remember a student of mine who told me that he didn't need to learn math. He was a 3rd grader. He simply thought he wouldn't need it.
I chatted with him for awhile to remedy the situation. I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up? He told me he wanted to be a football star, rich and famous. I asked him what if he did get rich and famous, and couldn't do his math or know his multiplication, how was he going to manage all his money? He told me that he would hire an accountant to do all that for him, no problem! I thought for a minute and then asked,
what if he was not honest and was quietly stealing his money? Then, there was silence. He hadn't thought of that.
Well, after that conversation, and a bit more chatting, he decided that maybe he had better learn his math, because he would need it to watch over all that money that he was going to make. (As a side note, this student is now a senior in high school and is a football star and will get a scholarship for his football skills. I do believe that he will make a lot of money from becoming a football star.) The point here is that he had no real reason to learn his math. It had no importance for him. After talking about it and thinking into the future, he realized that it did have a purpose and it was necessary. If a student can understand WHY he or she is learning something, it will make more sense and be easier to confront and learn.
If you find yourself in a similar situation with one of your children, try sitting down and asking them what they want to do when they grow up. I do this with each of my students when they first sign up with me for tutoring. Talk to them and get them to dream a bit about their life when they are older and working. It is magic! After they have created the dream of being a teacher or engineer, backtrack a bit and let them know that they can have this dream, but now they need to start building it and doing their math or reading or whatever to start laying the foundation of that dream. If it all makes more sense to them and they see why they are doing their homework, it gives them personal value for the lessons,
not just what the teacher said they have to do.
Hope you guys out there find this as useful and fun as I do. I'm sure those of you who follow MY BLOGS have figured out that my main goal in life is to help educate children and help them thrive. In my tutoring center, there is no greater success than seeing a child understand something or reach a goal that they thought was unattainable.
I know there are many of you out there in all areas of the world reading this. Please feel free to contact me to let me know your opinions or questions, or ask for writings on a certain subject. I would love to hear from all of you! My email address is email@example.com.