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How To Interest an 11 Year Old

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  • User profile image
    Lloyd_Humph

    I'm betting many of you have children around 10 years old, so I was wondering how to get them interested in doing work etc.

    My brother has this maths homework that he's put off until the last day of half term (today) and fair play, he has just sat down and done a few. With some of the more complicated questions, he's just completely ignored them and not even taken a second look at them. These are the ones that will give him most marks in a test, so I'm worried if he just skips them he'll get low marks etc.

    He's a bright kid, but all he's interested in is guitars and becoming a rock star like My Chemical Romance, his favorite band.

    I've tried loads of things - bribery being the usual solution but it just doesn't work. One of the questions is quite simple - If a 5kg sack of potatoes costs £2.65, how much does a 2kg sack cost. I've explained to him how to work it out, in the simplest way possible, but he just isn't interested. When I explain things to him he just stares around blankly and pretends to understand.

    I've tried walking him through a similar question, and he says he understands, then when I cover up the answer and ask him how we did it he just laughs and says it doesn't matter, which proves to me he has no idea.

    Any ideas on how to get him interested?

    When I was his age, I'd just sit down and I could have the whole paper done in a few minutes with some minor wrongs, but he just doesn't have the same motivation as I do.

    Thanks In Advance

    Lloyd

    If Blackberrys are addictive cellphones, Channel9 is the ultimate addictive website.
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  • User profile image
    JonLumb

    I really wish that I could offer you something more concrete than this, as I was pretty much like your son whilst I was in school, but here goes:

    The overiding principle when getting people to do things is to make them see why it benefits them.  (And I mean that they will think it benefits them, not just reasons that you think are the benefits.)

    Essentially, you need to think like your son, and see what might motivate him towards his goal.

    The only thing I can think of specifically is mentioning someone like Brian May, who is an outstanding guitarist (maybe not quite your son's cup of tea) and who also has a Phd in Physics.

    It is also worth noting that he may not have your technical aspirations, and there is nothing worse for a child than being told "You will become a ...." when nothing could be further from their desires.

    Just my tuppence worth, I really hope it helps.

  • User profile image
    Royal​Schrubber

    JonLumb wrote:
    Essentially, you need to think like your son 3yr younger brother, and see what might motivate him towards his goal.

    Wink

  • User profile image
    figuerres

    with music....

    music *IS* math.

    he may not have seen that yet but it's there....

    try that out....

    google around for more info on how scales, notes, chords etc... are based on math.

    not to mention the important role of time ....

    without the math and time then you just have random sounds that no one wants to hear for long.

  • User profile image
    Rossj

    Lloyd_Humph wrote:
    He's a bright kid, but all he's interested in is guitars and becoming a rock star like My Chemical Romance, his favorite band.


    There's plenty of time to work when he's an adult - 40-odd years of it.  I wasn't even vaguely academically interested until I was 20 (and I guess it shows Smiley ), but I do pretty well now. As long as he doesn't drop out, and by the sounds of it he is learning enough, then he'll be fine.   We are all individuals, don't think bad just because he isn't the same as you or want to do the same things you did.

    I once had a girlfriend's father ask me why I was bumming around "You've already lost 3 years worth of salary", and he was right I had, but really anyone who thinks about life in terms of 'a race to earn as much as possible before they die' has, IMO, a fairly sad outlook on life.

    If he wants to play guitar, good luck to him - if he was my brother I would be doing what I could to help him achieve his dream... no offense but academia, maths and computers are not the most important things in the world, we just like to think they are.

    p.s. When I ask my daughter maths questions, and she looks at me blankly - she isn't saying she doesn't know it (as her results show) she is saying "stop bothering me with simple stuff". The same may be true in your case.

  • User profile image
    Lloyd_Humph

    I'm all for helping him acheive his dream, but he should at least try to complete the work! He just stares around blankly... and Rossj, trust me, when I ask him a maths question, he aint thinking "Stop bothering me with simple stuff".

    If Blackberrys are addictive cellphones, Channel9 is the ultimate addictive website.
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  • User profile image
    Richard.Hein

    I am interested in math, music, programming and guitars.  What is interesting is that recent studies show that interest in mathematics is no indication of success in mathematical problem solving.  Not really a surprise to me I suppose because I get stuck thinking about the details of WHY math works more than even how to just know enough to use it to solve problems.  In fact that usually made it hard for me to do exams and solve the tough problems in the time alloted.  However, research also shows that MUSIC and especially learning to PLAY a musical instrument is very much correlated with success in mathematical problem solving.  Get him the best music teachers you can afford, the best instruments, amps, effect, everything and encourage him to practice at LEAST 4 hours a day, more like 12 to 16 hours if he REALLY wants to be a guitarist forever.

    Growing up I was interested in music but somehow thought I could never achieve greatness.  However, music and studying the guitar is one thing that my mind can focus on the WHY as I am doing and feel real results, that and programming I suppose but music is much more immediate in the gratification it provides.  I can practice for 8 hours at a time and it's the greatest thing in the world.  If I had of done that everyday with as much passion as I did other things, I would be a great guitarist.  Let your 11 year old play, but make sure you pour out all the attention he needs to be as great a guitarist as possible.

    I recommend "The Principles of Correct Practice of Guitar" to make sure at 11 he's not learning bad habits ... it's the #1 problem for all aspiring guitarists ... not learning to relax and concentrate on every detail of what you are doing, and try out a FretLight ... I have one I got for teaching and learning new scales very quickly, and The Rosetta Stone of Guitar is the BEST pattern learning system I've found - Google it and teach him to read music of course.

    Show an interest in HIS interests and help him, then maybe he'll believe that you're trying to help his education is really about HIM and not you.  Wink

  • User profile image
    Richard.Hein

    Usually kids that won't try to answer math problems feel they cannot so his fundamentals are missing.  Try another approach get tutors and a book, Math Magic or something to try other ways of teaching the basics.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Lloyd_Humph wrote:
    How to interest an 11 year old


    And I'd just like to welcome PervertedJustice and their team of forum-sniffers to this conversation....

  • User profile image
    Bas

    Rossj wrote:
    
    Lloyd_Humph wrote:
    He's a bright kid, but all he's interested in is guitars and becoming a rock star like My Chemical Romance, his favorite band.


    There's plenty of time to work when he's an adult - 40-odd years of it.  I wasn't even vaguely academically interested until I was 20 (and I guess it shows ), but I do pretty well now.
     


    QFT. I didn't do at all well in school, primarily out of disinterest, and dropped out of highschool a year before graduating to go to a medium level college, while all my friends from highschool finished the job and went to high-level colleges.

    From all around me I heard that I hade to shape up, because 'bad things' were going to happen if I didn't get the proper diplomas or only got mediocre ones. My parents, though, while wanting me to do well in schook, realised that I'd turn out alright even if I don't graduate with the highest honors, and that's something I've always loved them for.

    Eventually everything turned out alright, of course (I did finish the medium-level college) and I make more money while working less hours now than many of my highschool friends, and I had a lot more fun along the way.

    Yes, some people studied way harder than I did, finished the best colleges and universities, and now make lots of money doing the work they love to do. More power to them. But you don't have to be a success in school to end up a success later in life.

    Rossj wrote:
    
    I once had a girlfriend's father ask me why I was bumming around "You've already lost 3 years worth of salary", and he was right I had, but really anyone who thinks about life in terms of 'a race to earn as much as possible before they die' has, IMO, a fairly sad outlook on life.


    That brings back memories. Did you ever get the "When you're being interviewed, employers are going to ask about that time when you didn't do anything, and they won't hire you when they hear you've bummed around!" speech?

  • User profile image
    Lloyd_Humph

    W3bbo wrote:
    
    Lloyd_Humph wrote:
    How to interest an 11 year old


    And I'd just like to welcome PervertedJustice and their team of forum-sniffers to this conversation....


    Haha, you're funny+clever. A truly admirable combination. That's definately my sortof humor...

    If Blackberrys are addictive cellphones, Channel9 is the ultimate addictive website.
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  • User profile image
    stevo_

    Dunno, I don't see how "how to interest an 11 year old" could sound like anything BUT pedophilia...

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    Bas wrote:
    
    But you don't have to be a success in school to end up a success later in life.


    This is true; but depending on what job you want it can be harder to start without a degree. I kind of regret not getting one now, and it was difficult initially to persaude someone to employ me. But after 2-3 years of employment the next company just doesn't even ask for degress (unless they're a big 5 consultancy)

  • User profile image
    Richard.Hein

    stevo_ wrote:
    Dunno, I don't see how "how to interest an 11 year old" could sound like anything BUT pedophilia...


    Geez, man, when I saw the post header, I thought it was asking how to interest a 11 year old in programming, not math ... says a lot about anyone who would think otherwise.

  • User profile image
    stevo_

    Richard.Hein wrote:
    
    stevo_ wrote:
    Dunno, I don't see how "how to interest an 11 year old" could sound like anything BUT pedophilia...


    Geez, man, when I saw the post header, I thought it was asking how to interest a 11 year old in programming, not math ... says a lot about anyone who would think otherwise.


    The fact you felt you had to make the comment sounds like your pre-emptively trying to cover up something...

    Works either way I guess doesn it?


    I personally just enjoy satirical humour.

  • User profile image
    Lloyd_Humph

    My bro hates general programming/my interests.

    No-one in my life knows how to do any of this stuff - my music teacher is pretty good, but its not like i can sit down and just talk to him... So IRC and C9 play a reasonably decent part in my life, as you guys are the only ones i can talk to about techno wizzbangery.

    It's handy being here - I learn so much. One of you mentions something, then I look it up... and I've learned a bit more about tech. Life's just a big learning curve.

    If Blackberrys are addictive cellphones, Channel9 is the ultimate addictive website.
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  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    stevo_ wrote:
    Dunno, I don't see how "how to interest an 11 year old" could sound like anything BUT pedophilia...


    I don't think Lloyd was being sarcastic.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Lloyd_Humph wrote:
    My bro hates general programming/my interests.


    Visual Basic isn't "general programming". You're still a greenhorn in my book.

    Lloyd_Humph wrote:
    No-one in my life knows how to do any of this stuff - my music teacher is pretty good, but its not like i can sit down and just talk to him... So IRC and C9 play a reasonably decent part in my life, as you guys are the only ones i can talk to about techno wizzbangery.


    Become friends with your school's IT guys. And IRC is a poison if you get addicted to it.

    Lloyd_Humph wrote:
    It's handy being here - I learn so much. One of you mentions something, then I look it up... and I've learned a bit more about tech. Life's just a big learning curve.


    I like to think of life as a game, a kind of giant RPG. Hence my opinion playing RPG games is a folly Smiley

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