When Your Student Athlete Hates School

As the time allotted for physical activity continues to be reduced in schools, student athletes who love sports are finding themselves losing interest in—and sometimes hating—school. Whether it’s just a student who loves to play or one who is involved in full-time athletics, teaching styles and learning instruction may need to be modified in order to most effectively reach these student athletes.

To get your child’s love for school back on track, try discussing these options with your child’s teacher or incorporating them into your home-based learning.

Alternative Classroom Seating

This year has brought increased attention to fidget spinners and similar devices that help to keep busy minds focused, but there is also significant benefit to alternative classroom seating for active children. For bodies who are naturally more prone to want physical activity throughout the day, alternatives such as yoga balls, desk swings, and pedal desks can provide continual motion while allowing students to focus in the classroom.

Sports Incorporated into History

Fortunately, sports have been a large part of history, from the first Olympic games in Greece to athletes like Jackie Robinson who broke down barriers. There are many historical sports figures who can be used for teaching history or social studies, including research papers and speeches. Discuss this with your child’s teacher, and encourage your student to learn about these men and women to help teach surrounding historical contexts as well.

Visual and Kinesthetic Learning

Every child learns differently, but oftentimes those children more prone to seek out physical activity (such as a student athlete) will learn best through visual or kinesthetic learning. Incorporating visual aids, hands-on or project based learning, and more interactive learning activities will help to engage these students and reinforce instruction.

Sports-Themed Motivation

Typically, kids who love sports are highly competitive. That competition can be capitalized on in the classroom through motivation. Creative learning games, challenges such as spelling bees, or even sports-themed performance charts can be ways to incentivize learning goals. For example, consider a baseball field chart where they get to a different base for each task accomplished or goal achieved.

“Boring” Subjects and Sports

As much as a student athlete may want to deny it, math and science relate directly to sports performance. The swing of a bat, the toss of a football, the kick of a soccer ball, momentum, angles—all are interconnected to some of the subjects often thought of by active kids as “boring.” Teaching a lesson on how these relate to the different aspects of sports can help to spark an interest in your student athlete (and may even improve their sports performance at the same time)!

If your student athlete has a difficult time balancing school and team commitments, consider online learning as an option to make school more fun and life schedules more manageable!  What other ways have you found that help to make your student athlete love school?  We’d love to hear your ideas!

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