Question:

Question

Answer:

My daughter is 12 years old and in the seventh standard at an Indian convent. She does not have any interest in study. Please let me know what I can do to make her study.


In order for education to take place, there needs to be a teacher willing to teach, a student willing to learn, and a means to communicate that is understandable by both the student and the teacher.

A poor teacher can hinder learning by presenting dull, boring lessons that do not hold a student's interest or by talking over a student's head, even though both the student and the teacher speak the same language. As in any profession, you are going to run into good and bad teachers. As a parent we have limited control over the quality of teachers teaching our children. About the only thing we can do is decide where our children will attend school. Even then, we won't be solving the problem. We are just trading to which set of good and bad teachers our children will be exposed.

Hence, parents must focus their efforts on their children. And here we find the greatest battle. You can make a child take time to study, but you can't make a child interested in study. You can encourage the interest, you can provoke their curiosity about a subject, but you can't make them want to learn. That is why Paul warns, "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). Don't frustrate them; encourage them.

Step back and look at the situation. Why is it that my child is not interested? The answer to that simple question will determine what needs to be done.

Too Many Distractions

Most children don't want to study because they see there is a limited number of hours in a day. The time spent in study translates to less time doing things interesting to the child. If you tell a child they cannot play until all their work is done, then you will suddenly find that the child mysterious lacks homework. Instead, tackle the problem from the other direction. If they want to spend time with friends, play video games, or watch television, limit the number of hours they can spend doing those things. As a possible example, given the child two hours each day to do things they consider "fun." Along with this, set aside time in their daily schedule for homework. For example, the hour after dinner is homework time. If they don't have work to do from school, assign them additional chores to be done around the house during homework time. In other words, don't make a lack of homework more fun than having homework. If they have more homework to do than can be done in an hour, let them off from some of their normal chores for the day. In this way you are subtly showing that school work is a priority.

Too Difficult

Some children do all right in school generally, but one or two topics are too loathsome to even consider. Perhaps it's math, or literature, or science. If the problem is limited to a few subjects, then it might be that the child is struggling to understand and has given up. If this is the case, the parent can offer to help the child by breaking the subject down into simpler lessons. However, don't get snookered in by your own child into doing her homework for her.

Not Practical

Often a child fails to grasp a subject because they can't see the relevancy to their life. If you know what your child aspires to become, then you can subtly introduce the topic as a part of what they will being doing in the future. A child who wants to grow up to be a carpenter probably doesn't understand that carpenters constantly deal in fractional math and angles. Having the child build a dog house and doing all the calculations might trigger a realization that math has meaning in the real world. In making a subject relevant, don't tell the child that it matters, have the child do something that they are interested in doing, but that requires the dreaded subject. Then, offer to help them work through the challenge.

Make Learning a Part of Living

Integrate subjects into a child's life. At diner talk about current events and the history behind them. Read the Bible together as a family and discuss the stories. Find practical moral lessons for your child to learn from the people your child meets. Give a child an allowance and let them do the math regarding saving up for a new article of clothing. Send them to the store and ask them what the correct change ought to be before the clerk announces it. Have them work out whether the 15 ounce can of beans at 79 cents is a better or worse bargain than two 8 ounce cans at 40 cents each. Go on walks and point out things that you see. See if you can learn to name the types of birds or the kinds of trees that you find. Broaden your child's mind by bring up a variety of topics.


See also:

Questions and Answers about Child Rearing and Parenting
Questions and Answers about Education
Raising Godly Children in a Wicked World

January 1, 2013