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Monday, June 13, 2016

Inspired Learning

My oldest struggles with reading and spelling. It first came to our attention when he was in 2nd grade, and his teacher recommended he attend summer school. It wasn’t possible at that time because we were going to be on vacation. Instead, when he started 3rd grade and was still struggling, we got him into tutoring.

He continues to struggle with these two areas, and it’s been recommended he attend summer school again. He’s also continuing with summer tutoring. As you can imagine, he’s not exactly happy about the situation. There were a few times he broke into tears and proclaimed he didn’t get a summer at all.

I get it. He wants to be lazy and play with his friends and watch TV and play video games. He doesn’t want to be stuck in a classroom. Even with me explaining to him that everyone has problem areas and need extra help, which he understands, he still has moments of being upset.

Last week was his first week of tutoring. He only goes for an hour and a half 4 days a week. I could tell on the first day he wasn’t thrilled about being there. Again, I get it. If I didn’t have to work over the summer, I wouldn’t either. However, I was surprised at how quickly that changed.

He gets to do a project, and he got to pick the topic. He decided he wanted to focus on the Civil War. I’m not exactly sure what they do during their sessions, but it’s working. My oldest can’t wait to go to tutoring. He’s excited to learn, to research, and put all of his information together. One of the teachers even brought in artifacts for him to check out—musket balls and a sniper bullet (as he called it)—things that are right up his alley and interest him. He’s even been watching videos online at home.

Every day last week when I picked him up he told me about all the cool stuff he had learned and was looking forward to the next day. On Thursday, he was bummed that he didn’t have tutoring on Friday. His enthusiasm is catching.

I love that he’s having a great time learning and gets to focus on something that interests him. So often in school they are told what they need to learn (understandably), but it’s great that he gets a chance to branch out. He gets to see that there’s so much out there and that it’s okay to pursue his own interests and passion.

That, of course, will change when he goes back to school, but I hope he continues to take that enthusiasm with him. I hope he realizes that learning doesn’t always have to take place in the classroom, but that it happens constantly. It’s something I try to instill in both my boys.

It will be interesting to see how summer school goes. I hope he finds it just as engaging.

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