Every parent wants their kid to be motivated to learn, but we all know that school is not always so motivating. As an adult, I figured out that I love history, but there was something about the rote memorization of facts and dates and those dry text book chapters that made history one of my least favorite subjects in school.
School (the standard American way) can suck the motivation to learn out of most kids at one point or another. But when a person is really interested in something, even a dry textbook can become interesting.
One way to motivate our kids to learn is to be on the lookout for things that genuinely pique their interest. When we find something, we can help them dive in as deeply into as they want to go.
- Make a trip to the library and let them pick books on the topic
- Set up field trips to explore something in a hands-on way
- Introduce them to experts on the topic
- Watch documentaries about it together
- Help them build collections that relate to their interest
- Help them memorize a boat load of interesting facts about their topic
Give your kids a platform to talk about their interest and even teach other people about it. You could call your local library and see if they will let your child come in and do a demonstration or a talk. Organizations like 4-H and Scouts might offer another platform for your kiddo to teach his peers about his interest.
It’s Okay To Walk Away
It’s totally normal for kids to throw themselves into a topic for a while and then come to the end of it. Your daughter might have been obsessed with horses for a few years. She may have had horse posters all over her room and been able to identify any horse by just looking at it. She may have begged for riding lessons, wanted every birthday party to be horse themed and asked for toy horses for every holiday and birthday. But then one day, she may have decided that she’s done with horses.
Sometimes it happens simply because they grow out of the interest. Other times it coincides with a new developmental level, and they begin to associate the old interest with their former, younger self. And sometimes the interest is replaced by a new one. But whatever the reason, we the parents have to let it happen, and we have to be just as enthusiastic about the new interest as we were with the old one.
When we let our kids follow their own curiosities, and we help them become mini experts, we fan the flame of passion, and passion is motivating!