Gess has a passion for science. That passion certainly didn't come from me because it was always my least favorite subject. She has that passion because we were able to direct her learning around things that she was curious about and interested in. Gess is particularly fascinated by the weather and wants to be a meteorologist when she grows up. That dream was sparked during a Hail Storm in 2009.
Gess was scared of the storm but at the same time she was drawn to watch those huge balls of hail fall from the sky. She could not pull herself away. Because she was so interested I decided to start teaching her about the weather, and in particular storms and tornadoes.
As Gess continued to be fascinated by the weather we continued to study it as part of school and on her own. She has now read every juvenile book the library has on the weather several times and she continues to check them out again and again. We have also done several experiments, projects and field trips that revolve around the weather. While a school setting would have forced the student to move on to a differnet topic, we have the luxury of sticking with it for as long as want. That does not mean we ignore other subjects but you can certainly tie them together if you want. Unit studies are a great way to do that. Our experience with Weather on the Move was fantastic.
Once the child has figured out how fun it is to explore a subject you can then help them become interested in learning about other things. Gess really is not that interested in history, mostly because it is hard for her to visualize and comprehend things she has no experience with. That is where field trips come in. Attending Civil War Days did more for Gess' understanding of history than all the reading she had done. Once the trip got her interested she was ready to learn more about it because it finally started to make sense to her.
There are lots of way to get a child interested in a topic they do not like, but the easiest way is to start with what they already love. Let them explore it to the fullest and find out how fun learning can be. Then you can find ways to tie that passion into other subjects and other areas. Soon they will find that there are lots of things they love. All they need is the freedom to explore and figure that out.
If you want to learn more about Delight-Directed Teaching or other ideas about how to teach creatively be sure to check out the Schoolhouse Review 5 Days of Teaching Creatively Blog Hop.