Home homeschooling How To Deal With Children Who Don’t Seem Interested in Learning (& Giveaway)

How To Deal With Children Who Don’t Seem Interested in Learning (& Giveaway)

by Kelly Crawford

(Guest post by Marilyn Boyer of Character Concepts)

One thing I have learned from one of my struggling learners is that unless some children want to learn, they just won’t apply themselves to do it. Unless they have a desire to learn something, it’s extremely hard for some of them to be able to concentrate and focus.

Some kids are motivated and know what they have to do, set their own goals and get it done. Other children, however, need to understand why learning is important in order to apply themselves.

If you have a child like this, train yourself to study him and see what matters to to him the most. Then, look for a way to apply what you are trying to teach him to something that he cares about.

For instance, if you are trying to teach handwriting skills and your child just doesn’t care if he writes neatly, let him write something that’s important, like a letter to the editor of the newspaper.

Letters to the editor are one of the most highly read sections of the newspaper, and we found editors love to publish letters written by kids, because it’s so unusual to have a child care enough to write.

Have your child read about an issue and write a letter to be read by thousands of people he can potentially influence. Suddenly, he will care about handwriting, grammar, spelling and communication skills.

If he struggles with math, find a use for that skill you are trying to teach. For example, if you are teaching percentages, go to a sale, let him figure out how much off you are getting on deals, or let him bake a pie and cut it up to learn fractions.

For a boy who loves to build, buy him some wood and let him use measurements to build a bookcase or birdhouse. If your child is interested in airplanes, but not in geometry, let them see the plans the Wright Bros. drew up to make their first glider. These examples are examples of projects I have actually done with my kids.

Find creative ways to apply what you teach, by connecting learning with your kids’ passions, and see if that doesn’t make a huge difference in how they learn.

If you are teaching skills for writing a paper, let your child choose the topic, whether it is about the Tuskegee Airmen or hunting white-tailed deer.

Let your children make bread and sell it, raise chickens, sell the eggs and learn about accounting and small business.

This is the beauty of home education- being able to customize your teaching to your unique child! I admit, it takes some reprogramming on the part of you, the mom, because we do things the way we’ve seen them done, the way they were taught to us in school. But remember, if there is a better way for your child to learn, climb out of the box and train yourself to enjoy learning with your children!


We currently have a three-part book available for Kindles called Portraits of Integrity. You can grab Volume 2 of Portraits of Integrity at the discounted price of $1.99 Thursday, May 16- Friday, May 17.

Click on the link below to get your discounted price!

Portraits of Integrity: Real People Who Demonstrated Godly Character (Volume 2)

I am giving away 3 digital copies of Portraits of Integrity!

Be sure to enter and tell your friends too!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Adrienne May 16, 2013 - 7:46 am

This looks great! I’d love to win. 🙂

Suzanne G. May 16, 2013 - 7:51 am

This book sounds so good! I love the Boyers:)

AnneJisca May 16, 2013 - 7:57 am

I am just beginning our homeschool journey, and would love this as a resource!! My oldest (5) is very interested in learning, but I can tell it’ll be a bit more of a challenge with my 2nd child. 🙂

Genieve May 16, 2013 - 8:05 am

Sounds like an interesting read 🙂

Kathy May 16, 2013 - 8:32 am

Would love this!

Mrs. June Fuentes May 16, 2013 - 8:50 am

This looks great, Kelly!

Kim M May 16, 2013 - 8:56 am

Sounds inspiring!

KM May 16, 2013 - 8:56 am

Looks like a great resource. As the ‘baby of the family’ is 13 and harder than ever to “get” him want to learn anything, this frustrated mama is looking hard for affordable tools.

Abigail May 16, 2013 - 9:32 am

It’s so hard to think out of the box when you are sometimes just trying to survive! I pray for God’s grace to really educate my children like this!

Danielle May 16, 2013 - 9:42 am

thinking that way is so much harder… but the rewards… yes!

Karie May 16, 2013 - 9:45 am

Thank you!

Maria G. May 16, 2013 - 9:58 am

Totally agree with your post!

Kathy Johnson May 16, 2013 - 10:02 am

Marilyn do you have any suggestions for us ? Our youngest will 18 in October. He has always love to learn ! In the last two years however he has become less and less interested. “We will be doing 12 grade next year” We are trying to find something to inspire him again !!! Any ideas from anyone would be wonderful and a great blessing !!!
P.S. He does like doing ministry. This summer will spend 5 1/2 weeks serving as a leader of work crews in doing service projects for the poor. (He will be there with trusted friends) God’s richest blessings to all of you !!!

Marilyn Boyer May 16, 2013 - 2:40 pm

It’s fantastic that he wants to serve. I highly recommend involving him in service to other- elderly, World War II vets, etc. He’ll not only get the benefit of serving others, but learning from them. The last year of high school with my last 3 kids, I’ve knocked off the “academics” as such and just let them read, lots of biography, issues, important things they are interested in and serve others. They have gotten a MUCH better education than the others that last year. Think of what other time in life will you have 3 hrs to just read! Make sure it’s worthwhile reading, but focusing on his interests. Hope that helps.

Olga May 16, 2013 - 10:10 am

Thank you for the encouraging post. Would love to win this resource!

Michelle Devine May 16, 2013 - 10:14 am

Looks like a great giveaway!!

Mariejkt May 16, 2013 - 10:15 am

Sounds like an awesome book!

Polly May 16, 2013 - 10:30 am

Would love some tips on encouraging reading in a child that really doesnt love it. I have tried all his favorite subjects but he just doesnt want to read. Thanks for the giveaway.

Hannah J May 16, 2013 - 11:06 am

Wow I would love some pointers for my son. The book sounds amazing. I hope I win! =) This would really help!

You can visit my Christian Mommy Blog at:

mary May 16, 2013 - 11:20 am

would love to win! How great!

Alissa L May 16, 2013 - 11:21 am

thanks for the chance to win

Rachel May 16, 2013 - 11:40 am

I’m just starting to teach my son to write, and it’s been exactly the kind of struggle you describe. It’s especially difficult for him, because he has never enjoyed coloring or drawing.

Then I discovered it wasn’t lack of motivation. It was misplaced overwhelm!

He’s left-handed. The only lefty in our little family. Still, he tries to do everything right-handed, because he is mimicking the rest of us. As soon as I MADE him try writing with his left hand, he became more motivated and began having fun!

Erica May 18, 2013 - 1:27 pm

It’s great that you managed to discover that your son was left handed and that it was the reason for him not wanting to write. Unfortunately I have an older child that (when he was young) showed a similar problem. Sadly he was in public school and the teachers forced use of his right hand & encouraged me to do the same. (I will also admit that I had him using his right hand while little and he just stopped trying with me.) It wasn’t until he was older (and being homeschooled) that we started to notice him favoring the left hand over the right in many activities and discovered that almost all of his great uncles were left handed! Since we didn’t catch it early on he is still struggling with his hand writing today…and he’s 16! I wish I knew then what I know now!

Amy May 16, 2013 - 12:20 pm

This would be a very welcome resource in our home. Thanks for the opportunity!

Amber May 16, 2013 - 12:24 pm

We love the Boyers’ books and would love to win!

Shane Holverson May 16, 2013 - 12:28 pm

Thanks! Love the Boyer books!

Melissa May 16, 2013 - 1:30 pm

wish I had this resource 12 years ago 🙂

Cindy May 16, 2013 - 1:49 pm

Cool! I’d love to read this. 🙂

Beth S May 16, 2013 - 2:44 pm

Our children love history! I agree kids always learn better when they are interested and ready!

Kelly L May 16, 2013 - 3:28 pm

Great ideas!

Jennifer P May 16, 2013 - 4:09 pm

Need to get back to this way of thinking with my vo-tech kid!

Cindy N. May 16, 2013 - 5:38 pm

I just came across this article, and was much needed. Then I saw the giveaway! looks great!

Christine Bryant May 16, 2013 - 6:15 pm

Thank you for offering this! I look forward to listening to you again at our homeschool conference!

crystal Smith May 16, 2013 - 9:00 pm

this would be a great read! Looks like lots to learn from it!

Homeschool Help: What Does a "Lifestyle of Learning" Look Like? | May 16, 2013 - 10:04 pm

[…] Help: What Does a “Lifestyle of Learning” Look Like? On the heels of Marilyn Boyer’s great suggestions in the last post about helping an unmotivated learner, this post reminds homeschooling parents that our freedom […]

Michele May 16, 2013 - 11:03 pm

Looks wonderful!

Laura May 17, 2013 - 6:25 am

My boys love doing this kind of thing, too…problem is, how does mama fit stuff like that in around nursing baby, housework, meal prep AND homeschooling everyone(and fitting in the reading and other work that must be a little more structured)? Cause I can’t just hop outside one day and say here, build something…then disappear! I have to make sure we have materials, tools, or get them ($), help them plan what to make, etc…it all takes time and preparation…things I often feel like I struggle to have…

Michelle May 17, 2013 - 8:48 am

Love the ideas!

Tyra May 17, 2013 - 9:45 am

I would love to have this for my older 2 children! Thank you.

Stephanie Zegers May 17, 2013 - 12:09 pm

I would love to learn more about lives of faith. I have four children six and under. My six year old would love to read this on the kindle.

Tammy Jones May 17, 2013 - 2:09 pm

Does anyone have any ideas regarding my son? I homeschooled my daughter (age 9) this year. My son (age 10) would like to homeschool this next year. However, every time we try a “dry run” to see what it would be like he never wants to participate. He only wants to “hang out” which only infuriates my daughter, who is usually good about doing what needs to be done, and then she doesn’t want to do anything because he isn’t. I really would like to bring him home next year, but I’m not sure how to get him to understand that it is not just a vacation. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thank you.

Erica May 20, 2013 - 4:52 pm

Have you tried to show him what all he’ll be responsible for doing each day by writing it down? I have one boy that is the exact same way and when I put it on paper (kind of like a daily schedule) it opened his eyes to what all is required of him.

I also have another that I had to start using a reward system to get him motivated. He got a poker chip for everything he did following directions (without me having to remind/harp/repeat myself multiple times). He then saved them up to be used for various things. This can be tailored around what interests your son. My son loves video games and has always wanted to design them. While I now use this for part of his learning daily I use to use it to motivate him to do the learning part! For so many chips he was allowed to play video games for “X” number of minutes. (He figured out that he could hold on to them and have a video game ‘day’ and had a blast with one of his cousins for a day!) While I don’t normally allow video games to be played on a regular basis I figured if it was what it took to get him going then I was going to use it to my advantage! 🙂

When you do the “dry run” and he just hangs out I’m assuming that you have a conversation with him about it? Does he say anything that can help you see what he’s thinking and maybe ways to can help motivate him to go with the program? I have found that a lot of times my children (there are 6 of them) will say something – however small it may seem at the time – that shows me where their focus is and why. I have started dissecting what they say during a conversation by asking leading questions that make them think more about it themselves. Sometimes they’ll see that they want something for some arbitrary reason that doesn’t go along with what they are saying or doing.

Carol May 17, 2013 - 3:00 pm

This looks very good! I have just one question — I don’t have a Kindle, but have ordered other Kindle books and read them on my computer with my Kindle Cloud Reader. Is it possible to read this book the same way?

Thank you for the giveaway!

Jen Mc May 17, 2013 - 4:25 pm

this looks great!

KallyLyn May 17, 2013 - 7:24 pm

We have rarely used a class-type setting, and everyone learns better. We love home educating!

To the lady who asked about a currently-public schooled son, maybe you should sit down and discuss with him what y’all’s expectations are. Maybe he doesn’t understand what “homeschooling” as opposed to “public schooling” really is. Clarify what he thinks it is, and clarify your expectations of him/ what you think it should be.

Like the article stated, find a way to apply the things you want him to learn to things he’s interested in. Even if he stays in school, you can still educate him in “life-school” after he gets home.


Jen May 17, 2013 - 7:30 pm

Love the Boyers! We have blessed by their resources and I am sure this book would be as well! Thank you ! Love, jen

Sarah D May 17, 2013 - 8:23 pm

I’m reading Marilyn Boyer’s book “Parenting from the Heart” right now. I love her approach to parenting and the emphasis on character.

Melissa Jones May 17, 2013 - 8:32 pm

Always looking for new ways to teach important things!

tereza crump aka mytreasuredcreations May 18, 2013 - 12:49 am

I love the Boyers’ books. They were so helpful to me when I began homeschooling 5 years ago. I would love to win Portraits of Integrity. thanks.

Erica May 18, 2013 - 1:28 pm

One of the mom’s in our home school group raves about the Boyer’s all the time. I recently did a Goggle search on them and saw this product! It would be a wonderful thing to win…

Shelly Smith May 19, 2013 - 1:33 pm

Thanks! Would love to win!


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