How do you help boys who are not ready for school? My son (being 7, Grade 2) just refuses to learn, because it is boring and it does not come to him so easily, so instead of enjoying school, he hates it?
I feel for you! It is something that, as teachers, we strive to find the answer to: how to motivate the unmotivated child. I will attempt to answer how I would go about it from a second grade teacher's perspective but know that I may be of little help.
I would focus on developing a love for learning, an enjoyment in something educational could be the first step. For instance, To build a love for reading you have to have a positive attitude toward books, if you hate books, you hate reading. Where's Waldo, I Spy, and other "search and find" books may not have much reading but they certainly are fun. I have yet to meet a seven-year-old who doesn't like them. If your son is completely anti-learning to the point of not even wanting to "try" something new, then simply "enjoy" a book like this yourself. If he sees you sitting on the couch, laughing, oohing, aahing, and studying something for enough time, he will eventually become curious. The trick is to never "force" it on him.
The second step in building the "love" is to immediately start searching for an aspect of this type of "reading" that he shows some potential in. A simple, "Wow, I didn't even see that one" while you are both searching for Waldo, or something along those lines, to build his confidence will go a long way toward building up a positive attitude toward books.
The next step is to put thoughts into his head. Start making statements that fulfill themselves after a period of time. Statements such as "We make a really good team" and "you are really good at these books" while you are working together can turn into, "You really do love those books" and (talking to someone else while he is in earshot) "My son is great at those Where's Waldo books" when he starts picking them up by himself.
You will eventually want this to turn into a love for reading instead of just a love of one type of book. To do this, read yourself, read HIS books yourself, and again, wait for an interest. If he shows no interest, be patient, adults can outlast children in patience, they just don't always know that themselves. Just keep enjoying until he perks an interest, then read him a page when he asks you to. Put the book down when he wants you to and do NOT ask him if he wants to read it again or "was that fun?" just let it be. Continue patiently reading until you have him reading on his own (if he can't read very well that is fine, just build the love for reading)
This method is easily adaptable for any subject, just take baby steps. The key is to take him where he is at, and be very, very patient.
I hope your son learns to love learning, I know I cannot possibly hope to "solve" your issue by just telling you want to do, but perhaps it will give you a new angle to take, or at least one to revisit.
Hope this helps,
Thank you, EDU, for your answer!
I appreciate the time and effort you put into it. I agree completely with your point of view, it is more our impatience than anything else that does so much harm.
I would not be so upset if we were not pushed by others. "What is wrong with your son? Should you not check him up?" My son started talking at four, that is very late. Walking and talking (among other things) is genetic. My ex and I were early walkers and Daniel started walking at 8,5 months old and he was good in certain aspects of his physical development. In some, but not all of them. I have been told (it is genetic, too), it will never change. Both father and son are accident prone despite the age gap of 32 years.
The reason I am saying this is when I compare their intellectual make-up, I am disappointed to see my ex in my son all over again. My ex started talking at five, he is intelligent quite enough (with two Masters Degrees, no kidding), but in his own way. Whether Daniel has the same potential or not, I don't know and maybe I would better believe in my son. Maybe my lack of faith that is detrimental.
Maybe knowing that Daniel has his father's strengths and weaknesses (not mine) should shift my focus and I should start helping my son in those areas since I know my ex so well (I met him when I was 16 at the university).
I think all of it, the unfolding story of my son is like the program that has been written even before he was born.
I agree with you completely that love and patience are the only tools. And thank you for saying that HE SHOULD NOT BE FORCED. The irony is that my ex is all about control and force. "He's an idiot, he is stupid, he is good for nothing, he is a lost child, he is a monster" attitude does not really help.
As far as the example with reading goes, we all love to read, except my ex. Our apartment can be mistaken for a book store with all kinds of books, I even kept my children books in Russian and one of them is Daniel's favourite. He loves funny stories, stories about Halloween, dinosaurs, one story about "a stupid princess". But he would not pick a book by himself and read. TV and video games is always his preference. He has his moments of creativity though. He likes "to write" stories and illustrate them. Sometimes it is absolutely amazing.
It is the struggle that is exhausting, the struggle to be up to speed with the rest of them, the school in particular.
What I find sometimes frustrating is the red tape in schools. Teachers don't really encourage creativity. Daniel was given the homework - print words that begin with letter. A for today, B for tomorrow... Daniel had trouble with coming up with words (English is his second language, even though I consider both of them "Broken").
I reasoned with him. I wanted him to think.
- If you don't know the words, where do you find them?
- I don't know.
- You know what dictionary is?
- No, dictionary. It is the book that has all the words in alphabetical order.
Well, when I showed him "the process" he was so fascinated, he could not put the book down. However, the words that he picked were long and unknown to him.
He had fun, he was motivated and as far as I was concerned he completed the homework, even in this unusual way.
What do you think the teacher said? Redo it. Be like everybody else. So much for creativity.
But, I want to thank you again for your reply and assurances, I feel so helpless sometimes, because other children are good and mine is not good enough. In their eyes, that is. He is being picked on, he is an easy target and it hurts him. He incorporates the view, that he is not good enough and it is his failure that demotivates him.
I'm not sure what your financial situation is, nor do I need to know. Perhaps though, you should entertain different schooling options for your son. Of course this would not come easy and may not even fix the problem but it sounds like either your child's school or your child's teacher is a large part of the problem. That is not completely fair of me to say since we are only communicating through a forum, but it is certainly coming across that way!
Not homeschool, as you mentioned (although this would be a good option IF it fit your lifestyle) but perhaps a magnet school (these are often public schools in the states), a laboratory school at a college or university, or other private school. It sounds to me like he would do well in a school that embraces the theories of Dewey, Gardner, Piaget, and Vygotsky. Basically, he needs to be in a school that is truly student-centered, not one that "tests knowledge" but instead builds students into life-long learners through hands-on experiences and treats creativity with the respect it deserves! This type of school is not right for everyone but it certainly sounds like your son would thrive in an environment where he explore learning through the modes that fascinate him.
I have seen first hand how this simple change of schools has turned a child from one who was constantly sitting in time-out, struggling at reading, and worrisome to his parents into a child who is appreciated for who he is, is comfortable in his environment, and eager to learn.
I don't know what it is about your son that keeps me coming back to your question, I wish I could teach him myself. He sounds like a delightful child who learns through what fascinates him, the most natural way to learn! Whatever you decide to do, keep building that boy up, just as he needs to know he is loved, he needs to also know that he IS good at MANY things.
Thank you, EDU 101.
Daniel is a delightful boy despite all his shortcomings and the best thing I can offer him is my love and faith.
I cannot afford anything that requires payment. I wish I could pay for some extra-curricular activities, but I am waiting for my financial situation to stabilize. He takes two programs now - Mad Science and Cooking Class. You are right, he seems to be quite hands-on type.
He is in a public school and it is not a bad school, but it is what it is - standard.
Creativity? He recently created his own cereal - took a box, put white paper all over it, decorated, wrote the recipe (for gingerbread), named it "Gingerbread Money Pops" (money is always on his mind because he is quite aware of the lack thereof, and "pops" came from "Corn Pops"), then he asked Grandma to bake gingerbread in the form of pennies (money), but she said he had to settle for "dollars" because otherwise the cookies will dry too much. I thought he wanted to sell it, but I guess it was all too delicious, so he ate the whole thing. I was delighted with his ideas and dedication - "Don't interrupt me, I am working!"
Then he created his own "Art Center", when he wants something, he is quite good.
I guess I have to look up the names that you mentioned.
I do believe that all children are creative and all can bloom given the right conditions and the right care.
Thank you again for encouragement,
Home-school the boy!
School can, indeed, be boring.
But, there's also the important aspect that, when he gets a job, I'm pretty sure his boss won't really sympathize if his job is boring...
but home-schooling is not the answer, I am afraid,
he has to be among his peers.
He is not so good with social skills either.
I will do as much as I can. I cannot be a different person, so he gets what he gets. Grandparents who are both doctors (retired), me with two technical degrees and no decent job, but with a lot aptitude (LOL), good verbal abilities and his father who is quite good with everything technical, but not emotional intelligence.
I guess, nobody has THE PERFECT childhood and it is our misfortunes that teach us more.
I hope so. Thank you for your reply and support,
P.S. As far as future bosses... I assume Daniel would be always difficult. It is his journey, he will learn his own lessons, on his own "hide"... (it is more of a Russian expression), we learn best from our own experience than from lectures of well-intended people.
We will see.
Hard one this - this was my situation, although I could read and write before I was five thanks to my sister who used me as guineau pig for her teaching career.
I hated school the whole time, was forced to go anyway until I learned how to forge letters between the school and my parents at age 13 after which I had a blissful year or so of being terminally ill to the school and perfoming brilliantly at school to my parents. I then left school on my 16th birthday and joined the Navy where my lack of certificates meant I was destined to clean toilets - this spurred me to night classes where I got a couple af A levels - enough. I now have Ba English and teach. So I would say try to get him to go, try to get him to a good school that can engage with him and try to encourage his creative impulses. And above all don't disrespect him for making choices, even though he may be wrong.
Thank you, I am trying, believe me.
I am fascinated with the idea that boys and girls need different programs. They do. And the more I think about it, in order to be a good teacher one needs a GIFT. Having knowledge is not as difficult as being suited to teach. Especially children.
Hating school! I have to admit that I hated some aspects of it, but for the most part, it would be the teacher who would ruin the subject.
Biology? Nothing wrong with it, but my teacher was insane! Geography? It is one of the most interesting subjects, but it was SO BORING.
My teacher of the Russian language was driving me INSANE when she made a mistake in the word "understand". She always put the emphasis on the wrong syllable. Can you imagine how many times a teacher uses the word "understand"?
Well, we all survived. I do have faith. Not the strategy. It is so surprising, we are so intelligent, so advanced, but we cannot come up with good programs for children?
I appreciate the feedback, it is very important for me, not to mention heart-warming. Thank you all.
Well maybe you could try and motivate him by giving him treats only when he does good in school.
And OTT praise him whenever he starts getting good grades.
Some children do have learning difficulties though, my sister did when she was younger, but she's ok now and has great grades.
I think it's normal though for Children aged 7 to dislike school, there just seems to be so many more fun things to do than go to school.
Thank you for your answer, Iontach. I have been reading on the subject and there is a point of view, it is a fact, that all rewards are external motivation. Remove the reward and there is no motivation left. The motivation should come from within. It is this example with the horse, I can bring the horse to the water, but I cannot make the horse drink the water.
Grades are no exception. I remember how we used to laugh that the worst students were "All A's" students, there was something wrong with them.
But seriously. I have read somewhere as well that boys should benefit from separate programs (boys vs girls). Physical education must be an absolute priority, not because boys are meant to develop into great athletes, but because at this stage of their development it is more important than reading.
My poor boy is being made fun of, third-graders force him to say "I am stupid, I am a jerk, I am an idiot." He internalizes it. I just came home from work and I got a call from my son's girlfriend (I joke, a girl - friend). I told her yesterday that Daniel is with his Dad (we are divorced). "I know she said, I want to talk to you." And she tells me how everybody laughs at my son and gives me a theory as to why. Because he is not a Christian. ??? But the majority of the students are Chinese, they are not supposed to be Christians. I doubt it is the reason. I think it is mostly his broken languages, both English and Russian. He is struggling with speech. He is repeating his father's story all over again.
I am surprised, amazed, upset. It is great that someone cares, but how hard it is to start your life being a laughingstock? This developmental delay is genetic and I cannot force him to do what he refuses to do. Rewards, treats, bribes, pleadings, punishments - NOTHING works. NOTHING.
The only thing that I need is to have FAITH (not that faith) and keep looking for answers and be patient. That is why I asked the question, because I truly don't know the answer.
I agree that finding a different school would be better but that's easier said than done. I've raised/am raising five sons and SCHOOL IS NOT FOR BOYS. At least not for most boys, not the way it's usually done.
Where are the teachers when your son is being harassed by older children?
When I was a kindergarten teacher assistant, we had a Mexican boy who spoke no English but no one bothered him about it. Of course, these kids were a little younger so they were just fascinated by hearing another language. And I spoke Spanish to him so he wasn't left out and feeling lost all the time. Usually a child who speaks a foreign language or has any sort of trouble is paired up with a willing helper and the situation is explained to the class so the other children start coming up with ways to help instead of ostracizing him.
Besides, late bloomer? He sounds as if he's "blooming" just as he should, in his own way. Not verbally or academically oriented? He just isn't a girl!
Maybe the boys is more late than girls.My son is 9, He is
doing great at school, But he don't want try harder. He also think school learning is boring. Right now I think maybe he just not enough mature. I think that is kid's nature,Just keep eyes on them.Don't worry so much!
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