As I said in Part 1 of What I Know About Homeschooling, all children are different. I remember when I was in school: there were children in my class that seemed so carefree. They just bee-bopped along all day, just happy to be there. If the teacher raised her voice, it had no affect on them. If they got in trouble for talking, it didn't seem to bother them; they'd quieten down for a while, but then they'd have to be reminded again. And some of us, me in particular, wanted to curl up and die if the teacher had to correct us or scold us. Some children seemed to catch on to reading and math the very first time it was explained, and others were still struggling after many lessons. Does this all sound familiar? That's the way it is in homeschool as well. What it boils down to is EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. Several children may be alike in some ways, but very different in others.
Both of my children are tender hearted, which is a blessing when it comes to discipline. Both desire to please their daddy and I. The biggest difference in my children are their interests. Noelle loves books. She doesn't just have a love for reading, but the book itself is a respected 'thing' in her life. To this day, she'll pick up a children's book and say, "Oh, this is such a pretty book." She had a love for letters, sounds, and words even as a toddler. Words fascinated her! Had I given her a choice of a doll or a new book, nine times out of ten, she would have chosen the book. I didn't force her to love books, it was just something inside her.
Cale loved for me to read to him. I read to him from the time he was a baby just like I did Noelle, but one or two books a day satisfied him. He'd hop down and build huge buildings with blocks or try to climb anything that looked climbable! He'd much rather be outside playing in the dirt with his trucks and tractors, playing with his dog, riding his bike, or exploring. When Cale started to school, he was a good student. He wanted to please his teacher, but school and books just were not his favorite thing in life. There just wasn't any passion whatsoever when it came to those things. Did that make him a bad student? No, not at all. He knew what was expected of him and there was no choice in the matter, so he studied and did his best, but there still wasn't a passion for it. Cale was not being rebellious in any way, it was just his make up.
I had to use my imagination much more with Cale in school than I did Noelle. I would look for books about things he enjoyed. We read alot about baseball, farming, adventurous people, and animals. I would read a page, he'd read a page. At an early age, he began collecting baseball cards. When I say he began, I don't mean just buying them and throwing them in a shoe box; he bought an album with card slits and organized his cards. He'd sit for hours organizing his cards and reading them. Awww, did you catch that? He READ the cards. He could tell us anything about the players. So, we encouraged that hobby. As he got older, he even thought of it in a business like manner. He would look for cards that had great potential of being worth money someday. He even made the remark one day that when he grew up, he could sell his cards to help pay for the log home he one day hoped to build.
That is what you do to help the students who dislike reading and books: you study your student. You find what they like and help them pursue their interest. You introduce books to them that pertain to the things they are interested in. You do not have to buy the books. The library is full of good books about different subjects that your child might like.
Noelle likes fiction. Cale likes non-fiction. As he has gotten older, he chooses books about real people. If he has a book report, he usually chooses a book about a missionary. His daddy is like that. I myself had rather read to escape the real world for a while, so I am more apt to pick up a fiction book.
Studying your child and accepting their uniqueness will make for a better homeschool experience. This does not mean that you look over bad behavior or bad attitudes when it comes to that child's schooling. Cale knows that his education is very important and he knows that there are days that he has to read about things that do not interest him. There is always school work that he'd rather not have to sit and do, but through DAILY training through the years, he understands that life is like that. Every day of our life is not full of things we enjoy and like, but God still expects our best. Scot often gives the example of meals: We love the cookies, cakes, and pies, but if that were all we ate each day, they wouldn't be as special, plus we'd get very fat! We need the vegetables and fruits too. They help us grow. But, if we only ate vegetables and fruits every day, we'd get really bored and burned out, so we do need those sweets every now and then to add some excitement and fun to our lives! That is the way it is with school and our jobs. If all I did was laundry every single moment of every day, it would get old, very old! There is a balance there....we just have to be willing to find it. I guess my advise is to talk to your child. Train your child according to God's Word. Whatever our hand finds to do, we are to do it with all our might. The Bible tells us to do it as unto the Lord. Children are very sensible people. Their understanding is much deeper than we sometimes give them credit for.