It makes me feel so great when I see students transform from HATING school to LOVING it! I get so sad when I meet a child who has such great potential but they are so frustrated in the school where they have no choices that they become belligerent and/or disinterested. However, I also know that every single one of these children has the capacity to turn the situation around and become successful with all their endeavors.
Let me tell you about one of my favorite success stories. I started working with a brother and sister who were obviously both extremely bright, but failing in the school. They both worked very, very hard NOT to do their work – you know what I mean! However, I started to work with them in August. By October, they were ASKING me to give them more work! They were going above and beyond what their parents hoped for. We still had a lot of work to do because, after years of fighting the school system, they were way behind. NOW they wanted to do the work, so it made it seem easy to learn. I was so proud of them.
Recently, they invited me to a family holiday event, and I was thrilled to go. These kids actually introduced me to all their friends! Then (and this is INCREDIBLE) around 10:00 that night, they sought me out because they were showing their friends what we were learning and they realized I forgot to give them a test that day. Yes, I totally forgot I promised them a test that day. When I informed them that we could do it Monday, they asked if I had it in my car, and would it be ok if they ran out to get it so they could do it right away! It gets even BETTER! In about 10 minutes, they come and find me again to let me know that the test wasn’t in the binder – and can I come upstairs and print it off the computer? At that point, their mother said that the test will have to wait until Monday. You wouldn’t believe it; they started to whine because I didn’t give them enough work for the weekend!
What did I do to make this happen? Not much – the most important thing that I did was LISTEN to them. What did they want to learn? What was important to them? What did they want to be? What are their goals? They had no idea in the beginning, but once they realized that I honestly cared about them, that got them thinking. I showed them how the lessons helped them reach the goals they set. I also made it so they WON and felt ACCOMPLISHED. No, I didn’t tell them that they did a good job when they didn’t – kids, even more than adults, know when they are being patronized – but I did find things they were good at doing and highlighted that. Once they felt like they were smart, then I started adding in new things. When we get to a point where they feel frustrated and that they can’t understand things – I make us step back and try a different approach – but always making it FUN when they get stuck.
One thing they like to do is to play games. We set up a station with a laundry basket and a ball in the house. We ask each other questions and if we get it right, we get to shoot from a line close to the basket – if we get it wrong, we shoot from further back. This is so simple, yet creates so much more enjoyment for the kids.
By taking the time to CARE about your child’s interests, by making them feel truly IMPORTANT and by creating a FUN learning environment, you too can make a tremendous difference in your child’s life.
Reach out to me if you’d like to spend a few minutes talking about how you can help your child want to learn as much as these kids do.
Just click the link: http://bit.ly/TalkWithChristineAllen