On the first episode of our new YouTube series “I Want to Homeschool But…” I jumped into the #1 thing I see in the messages and emails I receive: I want to Homeschool, But My Kid Hates Learning!
Typically this statement comes from parents who have kids in a traditional school setting and are thinking about jumping into homeschool. It’s usually expressed like this:
“My kid hates learning, we can’t get through one night of homework without arguments” OR “my kid hates going to school to learn, she cries every morning at drop off”.
First off I just need to set the record straight. No kid ever was born hating to learn. We are actually hardwired in such a way that learning is in our DNA. From the moment we emerge from the womb we crave knowledge and more understanding. The problem lies in the provided environment in which we are expected to learn. Because the truth is we all want to know different information, at different times and to learn these things in different ways than many of our peers. Which ultimately is the exact opposite of a classroom environment. I encourage you to watch one of the most viewed TedTalks to date by Sir Ken Robinson “Do schools kill creativity?”.
I want you to really think about your day. Whether you work a 9-5, are an entrepreneur or a stay at home parent, I want you to think of the things that motivate and inspire you. What keeps you moving throughout the day? Why do you dedicate your time and energy to what you do? I also want you to think about the other stuff. The meetings you have to sit through, the reports that need to be ran, the dishes that need to be washed and the laundry that needs to be folded. The things you don’t enjoy but you need to do them to be able to accomplish the stuff you are passionate about. As adults we try to spend time on the things that bring us value, sometimes that means a paycheck, sometimes that means a positive feeling. However we aim to spend the least amount of time doing the things that we don’t enjoy and the things with no added value; because that is wasted time, and we know our time is one of our most valuable commodities. If you work a 9-5 you are not coming home to work an additional 2 hours with zero compensation. Successful entrepreneurs know wasting time is wasting money and intentionally work on only what adds value to their business. And stay at home parents are busting out that housework & errands so they can enjoy more quality time with their little humans. None of us are trying to fill our days with stuff that doesn’t fulfill us in one way or another.
Yet we send our kids to school, to learn material they are uninterested in, taught in a way that may not serve them best and often to be sent home with additional work. All with no real compensation. They sit in desks, essentially listening to hours of lectures. There is little time for creativity, even less room for originality and quite honestly the material they are presented rarely adds immediate value to their lives. We literally ask our kids to do something every single day that as an adult we would never tolerate for even a few hours. They stay up late doing homework, go to school exhausted, and come home often falling to pieces that we as parents have to put back together.
Parents across the country are convinced their kid hates learning but in truth they just hate WHAT they are learning, HOW they are being told to learn it, and WHERE they have to sit to get this information they don’t really want! You guys, our kids are BURNT OUT!
Imagine a child who was allowed to openly ask questions and those questions became the lesson. Now instead of feeling “forced” to learn, they have been given a freedom to explore something that was of immediate interest…adding instant value to their lives. Value equals purpose which ignites passion and a craving for more!
Listen none of us like spending time on stuff that feels meaningless, and just like us, kids know when they are learning something that is important compared to “filler”. And here’s the part I feel like most parents struggle with….our children’s time is just as important as our time! In fact teaching our kiddos the importance of prioritizing time, and the finite nature of our time is crucial to raising healthy, happy adults. Jeez I sure wish I would have grasped this before my 30’s….it would have saved a ton of depression and anxiety quite honestly.
Now I have a disclaimer for the parents pulling kids from traditional school environments. THIS DOESN’T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT! Kids who have been conditioned to learn systematically, and have been “coloring inside the lines” for several years will feel uncomfortable with new freedom. They will have a hard time distinguishing what they actually want to learn and how they learn best. Be patient with them and with yourself. There is actually a term we use, “deschooling” which is the time needed after exiting a school into an homeschool/unschool/worldschool situation. Allow this time to play, explore, read for fun and create together. I promise the questions will start to come. The spark will catch and they will find themselves obsessed with a particular topic or subject. Allowing space for them to explore is the key.
I have to remind myself, somewhat often, that it’s not about what I want them to learn, but instead what they are READY to learn. Education is not a one size fits all, although most treat it as if it is. I remind myself that I’m not raising kids who learn only to pass a test, but instead life long learners who can distinguish material that is valuable to them, and who are able to learn, unlearn and then teach. I’m raising kids who ask questions and then question the answers they get.
So if the fear that homeschooling is impossible because “your kid hates learning” I challenge you to question why and what they actually hate. They hate homework? Yeah I would hate doing additional hours of work when I am tired and uninterested as well with zero incentive. Wouldn’t you? They have poor grades? Is their learning style being taken into consideration? What about the curriculum? Does it add any immediate value to their lives? I would feel safe to make the bet that its not a kid that hates learning that you have but instead of child who’s passion to learn has been crushed.
Be sure to check out episode 1 of I Want to Homeschool But…. on The 5 Hour School Week YouTube channel. Please be sure to subscribe for updates on the release of new episodes!