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zen_'s avatar

How do I get my son to be more interested in the subjects he does poorly in (Lit. Grammar, History... anything with words) - and don't say to "read a book."?

Asked by zen_ (6273points) August 30th, 2010

Got any ideas?

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20 Answers

chyna's avatar

How old is he?

zen_'s avatar

He’s 16.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Same problem here… History in particular…

Well, what I noticed is that he enjoys Mangas… He loves them. Sooooo… I let a few days pass, and asked him what we could write our own Manga about… Suddenly we’re all about the Middle East and the Jinn. Suddenly we’re all about the Jinn affecting other cultures in different time periods. You get the idea. I took a back door entrance into his mind, seeing that the front door was closed, locked, with a “Do not Cross” banner across it.

Find what he does enjoy. Praise him for it immensely. Ask questions and allow him to school you. Get into it with him… and eventually, you will be able to use their interests as a pry bar to open up back doors to his mind, thereby sneaking your good intentions upon him.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Monty Python movies.
Mel Brooks movies.

Austinlad's avatar

I’ve never been a parent, so forgive me if this sounds simplistic or silly, but perhaps he does poorly in these subjects because he’s just not wired for them. (I myself was great in word courses but terrible in math and science).

I know English, Grammar and History are an essential part of his education and that he has at the least to pass these courses, but maybe you could take some of the heat off by encouraging him to do as well as he can in his word courses, but at the same time try to identify the subjects he really likes and is good at and encourage him to excel in those.

zophu's avatar

Make him like he discovered knowledge itself all by himself. I suggest finding a really good book about history or something of your choice, that you think he’s never really heard of, and drop it into his awareness making it seem like an accident. Maybe even show disapproval of the book if you think that would help. Like in Neverending Story when the bookkeeper left the Fantasia book on the desk knowing that the kid would steal it. . . I base too much of my life on that movie. . . But I think I’m on to something. To learn you have to discover. Conventional education makes everything seem over-explored. There isn’t much of a natural drive to learn things because it feels like so many others have already learned everything there is to learn. It wasn’t until I found an old book in my grandfather’s storm cellar as a kid that I got into reading, because it made me feel like there was something to be discovered. A little bit of mystery.

zen_'s avatar

He likes basketball and football, water sports and extreme in particular, and also girls, whatever they are. Not always in that descending order.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Oh well there you have it! Just research a few sports that were played in history and he’s done for… Perhaps research some naval battles and tell some tall tales about how much better they would have done with surf boards and jet ski’s.

Didn’t the Mayans play some kind of wacky soccer/basketball combination? I think they used the head of a conquered foe as the ball. Perhaps the neighborhood boys would want to play a round. Of course you’d have to dress up as Yikin Chan Kawiil to really sell it. Make sure to take some photos and share.

bob_'s avatar

Explain to him why it is important to learn about those subjects, and how he’ll benefit from learning.

If that fails, bribe him incentivize his efforts.

aprilsimnel's avatar

You can tie history in with sport or something else he’s interested in. Like, say, first talk about how American football descends from Rugby and relate it to England and its history at the time the game started or how basketball descends from games played by the Aztecs. Nothing pops up in a vacuum; even sports begin and are made popular because of something in a country’s cultural history.

WestRiverrat's avatar

As far as history, are there any local digs or Archealogical sites? My sister has dyslexia(sp) reading books is a struggle for her. She hated history because it was all in a book.

My parents started taking us to every museum or reenactment within 300 miles of the house. Her minor in college was Archeology.

GeorgeGee's avatar

The most effective means is generally to get leverage off his legitimate interests. For instance if he’s interested in computer games, it’s better to lead him to reading about the history of games than American History. Games can for instance also be a lead-in to studying about psychology, physics and architecture. Find his area of interest and build on it.

zen_'s avatar

@WestRiverrat Yeah, actually. And as a young boy he loved those digs and ruins – getting up bright and early to join the volunteers on the sites.

YARNLADY's avatar

Reenactment clubs/organizations
Genealogy research – are there any famous people in your ancestry?
Challenge him to write a computer/video game about an historical event – doing his own research.

woodcutter's avatar

Do you nit- pick him if he doesn’t do something exactly right in those subjects? If you do, this can be enough to turn young people off.

zen_'s avatar

@woodcutter Nah – I wasn’t good at them either – now I teach. I love him to bits and encourage all his activities. I’m also a single dad with the kids living with me.

lillycoyote's avatar

I think @RealEyesRealizeRealLies has got the answer here, absolutely. Find some way to connect the things he really enjoys to the things you want to get him interested in. And if you want to get him to at least read something, almost anything, and I think reading something is better than reading nothing at all, then maybe a magazine about sports occasionally, or something like that.

actuallery's avatar

Take him to museums, both art & science, and historcal so he can see for himself what the books are talking about. Also get DVD documentaries for him to view. Visual presentations can be more absorbing than just the written word.

tedd's avatar

Kind of going with books but not at the same time…. graphic novels.

They’re basically comic book novels. Lots of good ones too that a 16 year old may like.

A magazine covering some kind of topic he likes couldn’t hurt (plenty of sports magazines).

TexasDude's avatar

Life experiences.

I’m not sure about grammar, but for history take him to a battlefield or a battleship and tell him the background. Take him to a re-enactment or a “living history museum” and explain the connection between it and his readings… Kids (especially male kids) actually respond well to that sort of thing, especially if you make history seem more action-oriented (which it really is).

Introduce him to the badasses of history.

That kind of thing…

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