Developing a Love of Learning for Reluctant Learners

What to do When They Won’t Do…

He has been sitting there for three hours. His math book, his history reader – they are untouched. His head is down on the table. And I am feeling like an utter failure. I never thought it would be easy but day after day, like this, a son who boldly proclaims that he hates learning.. What can a momma do?

I have always loved to learn; any moment of free time I have (it’s a rare thing in this season of my life) I can be found with my nose in a book. Imagine my surprise (and sorrow) when my oldest son, turns out to be a reluctant learner. Or is he?

I am learning, as the years go by, that often my perspective plays a huge role in how things work out. As he gets older, we do need to stay focused on that transcript, but why not get a bit creative in how we learn? Being that my son tends to be very high energy it is important for him to feel like he is a part of the process when it comes to how and what he learns. Perhaps it isn’t so much about him being reluctant to learn, but him desiring to learn in his own way.

It can be hard to remember that we are all created in God’s image. Each of us has been designed for a special work; we each have unique giftings which need to be identified and then encouraged. Do we perhaps, get in the way of God working in our children, by trying to make them in a different way?

Sometimes it is so important for us to take a step back; to see with another’s eyes. We want so many great things for our children. We have expectations. Sometimes, those get in the way of us being the momma our children really need.

My children love to watch cooking shows; especially when it relates to making delicious cakes and cookies. I don’t really have a sweet tooth; I don’t like a messy kitchen (who does?) so I tend to discourage this area of learning instead of embracing this area that fascinates my children and using it as a tool for learning.

What are our children gravitating towards? Perhaps they have a love of drawing, or making music. There may be an opportunity to do some wood carving, or explore the great outdoors. For those kids are super visual in their learning we have found the most amazing documentaries and online lessons to encourage creating video games and apps and coding in all sorts of ways.

It may not be the same for you, but for my reluctant learner, I found that we simply needed to make a change in how we did things. Instead of learning at a table, filling out pages and pages of workbooks, we needed to relax. We needed to make learning real; find what matters and follow wherever that trail leads.

There are so many amazing things we can learn from all sorts of things but we have to be willing to look with new eyes. History, geography, science – these can be found in everything if we slow down and closer look. When we search things in a different way, we see there are so many fun opportunities we can explore together. The history of swords, how they are made, the value in different cultures that is assigned to them. You can even design your own with paper and pen, or carved from wood (my younger son has made two of these).

What is it that they love? What is it that they could learn to love? There are times when I take a break; I step back and just watch what they do. How they do the things they do. This can have so much power in encouraging a love of learning. When they see that they are heard; when they know that we care about the things they care for (this one is hard sometimes but there is always something, no matter how small) we can get that fire burning bright. Let us love them and engage them for who they are!

Of course there are still days when we struggle a bit but I am learning on those days to relax a bit more. To dig out some things that put that spark in my children. What is it that inspires and encourages that creative spirit in them? It very seldom looks the way I think it should but whenever I have those moments of fear and anxiety, I remember all that we have done, I recall His faithfulness and love for my children.


A big thank you to Jennifer King of A Peace of Mind for writing this article.

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