As a society I think we’ve become more passive than aggressive when it comes to learning. A lot of children these days want concepts and problems handed to them with ready made solutions, without taking a concerted effort into planning, strategy, trial and error and possibly using teamwork to take new information and make it their own permanently.
I speak of this from first hand experience. My youngest daughter has days in her academic year where I feel like she’s just sleep walking through the 6 hours, putting in her time as if it’s a prison sentence she can’t wait to be released from. She’ll have homework where she convinces herself that the teacher never went over these concepts in the classroom, so she claims she has no idea how to proceed forward. Her hope will be she’ll sigh, lose her cool and get frustrated enough that I will just take the paper, write out the answers for her and she’ll be able to turn it in. Why put in the effort when you have a dad who was a valedictorian, right?
We’ve had meetings at the beginning of the year where we explain to the teachers about reactive attachment disorder and the signs to be aware of when it comes to these children and their manipulative tendencies. They have been so good through the years of knowing the right words to say and the right way to act, they know how to get what they want by putting in the minimum amount of effort to survive.
They find it hard to believe that our children will have temper tantrums over trying to complete basic math, science or social studies homework- because they never see that behavior in the class room. It’s tough for me because I want to see both of my daughter develop great study habits and a thirst for knowledge and learning that will continue throughout their lives- but I can’t do all of the work for them. They have to want it, and have the will and desire to push themselves for self-worth, for pride, for their own honor.
Academics and learning can be an individual journey, but I believe you need a team of people behind you to keep the fire burning so to speak. Parents and teachers need to be involved. As a parent I know it’s my responsibility to check in every afternoon when my daughters get home to see what needs to be completed and be there for them if they need an additional resource for questions and concerns. My wife will put in phone calls if she feels they need additional help and support with tutoring before or after school in subjects they struggle with.
You have to be aware of what works for each child when it comes to structure and time frames with homework. My oldest needs the ability to complete her work in her bedroom with the music playing in the background- my youngest needs a desk environment with absolutely no outside noise or talking. I’ll let each of them have a snack as they are completing their homework. I want them to feel comfortable as they reinforce the concepts they are learning about in school. We have check ins to discover what’s being covered and I’ll often provide my insights into topics that also interest me.
You may think school runs from September to June, but when you are an adult you realize learning has no on or off switch- as information comes at us from all mediums 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Denis Waitley refers to this younger generation as the best time to be alive- as we have access to instantaneous information at a rapid rate compared to our grandparents. Encourage them to explore their interests, study their craft, apprentice under businesses they show a passion for. You are never too young to learn everything you can- and don’t let anyone tell you it’s too late to accomplish something if you truly want to go for it.
Alice Cooper may have said School’s Out, yet I believe school’s in session forever!