High School Students Can Love Learning

Is it legitimate for our kids to enjoy learning?

I know, I know.  You’re surprised that I would even ask.  I mean, isn’t it obvious that little kids do better when learning is fun?

But here’s the real question:

Is it legitimate for our high school kids to enjoy learning??

Aha.  I bet that just made you uncomfortable, didn’t it?  I mean, isn’t it obvious that, once students get to high school (if not middle school), that it’s time to knuckle down, do the unpleasant stuff, and just get it done?

Though the topic is uncomfortable, I think that there are some ways of looking at this that might make a healthy difference for you and your kids.  The way I like to describe it is education that’s relational.

To start, may I tell you a story?

At the Mid-Winter Conference in Michigan some years ago, one of our speakers, Monte Swan, shared a bit about the work he does as a field geologist.  And, right there, in the midst of his presentation, he made an astonishing statement.  It went something like this:

“I loved being outside as a boy. . . Becoming a geologist means that I never had to grow up—I still get to play outside!”

Monte described for us a bit of the real life of a geologist, and decisions he and Karey made to include the whole family. . .packing up their vehicle and heading out to the hills for him to do his research on the rocks.  Believe me, you can’t listen to Monte without knowing clearly that he loves his work. . .and that, in fact, his childhood love of nature was a major factor in the decision to pursue geology.

This pursuit of something loved as a child did not stop with Monte, however.  Travis, Monte’s son, developed a love for music as a child, while his family was writing songs, playing instruments, and singing together.  As an adult, Travis now makes his living working in music and other creative arts at a Colorado church.

That is one family’s story.  And, since we each have our own incredibly unique story, I’m not trying to tell you what your story is supposed to look like.

What I do want to talk about, however, is the widespread notion that, when our kids get to high school age, academics and enjoyment don’t mix.  In other words, education—to be legitimate—should be irksome, unpleasant, even painful. The more they struggle, they more they accomplish?

Well, yes and no.

If someone works hard to learn something new—something they want to know—they will accomplish a lot.  So, yes.

If someone is pushed, forced, shamed, manipulated, threatened to learn something new—something they don’t want to know—they will accomplish a little.  So, no.

I know, I know.  You are thinking, “My high school son doesn’t WANT to know anything about Napoleon (or, fill in the blank________), but I think he should!”

The thought lurks in our brains that, because we didn’t enjoy our studies (and look how great we turned out!), our children don’t have to enjoy their studies, either.  Many folks look down their nose at this whole concept of connecting academic education and enjoyment.

To address this thought, I’d like to talk about the concept of playing.

Over the next several blogs, let’s consider what it would look like for our high school kids to play with their academic studies by looking at how our kids can actually enjoy learning, how enjoyment increases the memory’s retention, and the outcome of enjoying what you do.

Hope you’ll come along for the ride!

Remember, stay relational.


Click on the link below if you would like to explore how our History Revealed curriculum helps students to enjoy their learning!