When Rabbi Shmuley was a young boy, he didn't care for school very much because he felt like it was a popularity contest and he wasn't learning anything. But when Rabbi Shmuley was 14 years old, he asked his mother to let him change schools. Once he got to the new school, his outlook brightened. "I was with kids who were more serious and loved learning, and I started learning in a different way," he says. "All of a sudden, I really started to love studying."
Rabbi Shmuley says that these are some reasons children might not like going to school:
They see no point. It's not the work aspect of school, but that they can't see the purpose. "We, as parents, do a very poor job of connecting the dots. We say, 'Go to school so you can have a better future,' when they know tons of people who succeed without a formal education," Rabbi Shmuley says. Parents need to show their children that school is about one thing—loving learning.
They are bored. Rabbi Shmuley says the biggest threat to children's educations is boredom. Parents should try to get children to love learning at home too." Ask yourself: Is your home a place where learning is valued?
They are tired. Children need to get a good night's sleep. Make sure your children are getting enough sleep on a regular schedule, Rabbi Shmuley says.
They're intimidated. Rabbi Shmuley says there's nothing wrong with taking your children into school on the first day or driving them to high school. "Make it like you're involved in it; ask them questions about how they feel," he says.
They're in the wrong school. Finding the right school is important for children, so if they feel another school might be better, pay attention, Rabbi Shmuley says. Also, get to know the teachers and make parent-teacher conferences a priority.
They feel like schoolwork will never end. Rabbi Shmuley thinks children today have too much work. "Take an interest in the school and make sure your children aren't so overloaded with homework that they stop loving learning," he says.
They feel like they're on their own. Communicate with your children about what they are doing in school, and make studying more of a family activity, Rabbi Shmuley says.
"Most kids hate school because they don't see its purpose. That can be blamed on us parents, who treat school as a means to an end—to get a good job later in life. Really, education in the Western world has lifted billions out of illiteracy and spread the light and blessings of knowledge."
Printed from Oprah.com on Wednesday, December 11, 2013