Forcing Kids to Learn and to Eat, and Should We Test Them?

“What shall I speak about in this week’s podcast?” I ask my daughters.

“What are you thinking about at the moment?” asks Imogen.

“Next week’s homeschool registration visit. Perhaps I’ll start with that and see where it leads.”

And this is where it led…

  • What kind of records will I be presenting for next week’s homeschool registration visit?
  • I have to make a plan for the next period of registration. How can I do that when we are unschoolers who don’t work to a plan?
  • What do I think is wrong with testing?
  • Is it possible to make kids learn what they don’t want to know?
  • What if kids refuse to learn what they ‘have’ to learn?
  • Can we force children to eat?
  • Is it our duty to train kids to eat whatever food is given to them? 
  • Do I have any fussy eaters?
  • And who does the cooking in our family?

“What shall I call my podcast?” I ask. “Do you think I could call it A Very Interesting Podcast?

“Is it interesting?” Imogen asks.

“I have no idea. I suppose I’d better play safe and call it Forcing Kids to Learn and to Eat, and Should We Test Them?

Does that sound interesting? I hope so!

Program Notes

Blog posts about kids and learning

How to Make Children Do Their School Work
We can use our authority as parents to force our children to work. But is there a better way? A gentle way?

“You can’t make me learn anything I don’t want to learn.” This reminds me very much of trying to make children eat. We can’t forcibly feed a child something they haven’t a desire for, however hard we try. In the same way, we can’t really stuff knowledge into a child’s head if she isn’t interested, though it might appear we can…

Igniting a Child’s Love of Learning
Have you ever noticed how a feeling of delight is contagious? When I am excited about the day and all we will learn, my children pick up on my mood.
Sophie: If you want to learn something you have to be interested in it… like the elephants I was reading about today. That was really interesting and I remember so much.
Gemma-Rose isn’t a defiant child so when she said to me, “You can’t make me learn anything I don’t want to learn,” I stopped and listened.

Blogs post about testing

Will I be giving the girls any more tests? I spent years trying to remember things just to pass tests… and then forgetting… I want something better for my children. No. I won’t be giving them any more tests. 

An Unschooling Way of High School Science
When I finished my degree, I had years’ worth of books and papers to sort through. I took all my lecture and laboratory notes and threw them in the garbage bin. I’d memorised the notes long enough to pass the exams. I no longer saw a use for them.

Blog posts about unschooling records for homeschool registration

A Perfect Method for Keeping Unschooling Records
I mentioned this program in my last video. I said, “I think Evernote’s the perfect record keeping method for unschooling.” That’s a big claim, I know. You might already have a system you think is pretty good. But if you don’t, read on…

Unschooling, Strewing and Unplanning
Whenever we apply to reregister as homeschoolers, I have to provide the education authorities with a learning program for my children, that covers the school syllabus. So how do I provide such a plan when we don’t actually know what we’ll be doing from one week to another? That’s where Evernote comes in. I thought of a way I can use Evernote to write a plan (I could call it an unplan!) which can be used for registration purposes, as well as be useful for us.

There are more posts on my Homeschool Records and Registration page

Blog posts about food

In the Kitchen with a TV Chef Dad
Have you ever noticed how children want to do exactly what we’re doing? You don’t have to ask them if they’d like to learn. They just stand and watch and then say, “Can I help, Dad?” Before we knew it, we had a whole line of sous-chefs, all eager to join Andy every time he entered the kitchen.

Dealing with a Fussy Eater
But I wouldn’t give up. No, it was a real battle of the wills. Why wouldn’t they eat the food I‘d carefully prepared? Didn’t they know how much time I’d spent cooking it for them? It tasted good. I liked it. Why didn’t they?


Stuff You Missed in History Class Podcast: Australian History


By Grace by Podington Bear, (CC BY-NC 3.0)

Now on to this week’s podcast: Episode 26, Forcing Kids to Learn and to Eat, and Should We Test Them?

The Angels of Abbey Creek

Have you ever noticed how we rarely have to force kids to eat picnic food? In the above photos, Gemma-Rose is indeed enjoying her food!

I’d like to thank everyone who has commented recently, either here or on my Facebook page, and also thanks to the kind readers who’ve followed my blog or liked my page.

As well as Facebook, you can also find me on Youtube,  PodbeanAmazon, and iTunes.

And if you take the time to listen to my podcast… Thank you!

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  1. Reply

    Interesting topic, Sue. I agree with Sophie, we learn better about something when we want to learn about it. I think that we also learn about something whether we want to or not. It just takes longer and more difficult to learn, as well as we don't retain it s long, because we're resisting so much. I think about when I was 10 years old and the Mama kept teaching me the "correct" way to sweep. It was many years later that I found myself starting to sweep the "correct" way because it didn't cause dust to go all over the place.

    1. Reply


      Oh yes it does take us longer to learn something if we're resisting, I agree! When we see a need for the skill, it's so much easier. Maybe learning to sweep correctly does come under the heading of something we need to learn. I wonder if we are left to ourselves, we'll eventually discover this on our own. Perhaps we resist because someone else has told us we 'have' to learn it, rather than finding out this for ourselves. I can imagine how frustrated the Mama became as she tried to teach you. She must be a very patient person! I like using the vacuum cleaner rather than the broom. It's much more efficient!

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