Does learning have to be hard work?
I have three children, aged 4, 6 and 11. They are currently all going to a Waldorf (Rudolf Steiner) school.
Our 11 year old is having a hard time at the moment. This year, the teaching has become much more pressured, and resembles a mainstream school more and more. There are punishments if the homework isn't done properly, punishments if he doesn't get a certain percentage right in tests... and I am witnessing his growing discouragement.
His love of learning is just fading and he's begun to cry every morning before leaving for school.
This is definitely not what we want for our children, so I've started to look into the fascinating possibility of homeschooling them.
My question is this: many people tell me, about my son, that he is going through a normal phase of rebellion, and that he just "has to learn that learning is hard work and that he has to get on with it"... They say that if I take him out of school, he just won't learn to confront difficult situations or problems.
Now my instinct tells me they are wrong - I mean, people told me that if I didn't separate from my three month old baby she would never learn to be apart from me, and that is just plain rubbish... But I have a nagging doubt... what if they were right? Does learning have to be hard work sometimes?
Sorry this question is a bit long... many thanks for your reply and for your fantastic web site:-)
Sophie (living in Switzerland)
Thank you for your interesting question. Here is my view.
I think that sometimes learning something new can be hard. And you have to make an effort. But that when you are internally motivated to do this, then it is also a joy and a pleasure.
The problem lies in that people think they have to MAKE children make this effort by external motivations - pressure, punishment etc. In fact, children are very motivated to learn the things they WANT to learn
. And by letting them dictate the pace and direction - then it is like letting them develop a muscle that gets stronger. They learn how to overcome the difficulties of learning something new - and can then apply that to other situations when they get older.So I believe that your son WILL learn to face difficult situations and problems
. How can he not?
What people are really saying is that 'he won't learn to do as he is told'. And is that something that you really want anyway?
best wishes, Julie.