When Things Turn Hard, Things Turn Stupid

It was one of those sessions where Victor wanted to anything but homework – mazes, read a Scooby Doo comic, video games. I reviewed his homework assignments and opened his math workbook, which he began to do. After a few minutes, he encountered a problem that was hard.

“I don’t want to do this,” he protested, “This is stupid.”

“You always say things are stupid when they’re hard and you don’t want to do them. Then when you figure them out, you feel good and think they’re great.”

He ignored me and went on a math strike, refusing to look at his workbook.

“How about doing a session of the Reading Kingdom?” I suggested, opening up my laptop.

“No,” he said.

I cajoled him into doing a session, which he sailed through and then returned to his math homework. He figured out the problem and finished his assignment.

“How about doing another session of the Reading Kingdom?” I asked.

“How about a video game?”

“No,” I said.

We were barely a half an hour into our tutoring. I lured him into the Reading Kingdom by saying that I thought he’d advance to the next level soon.

We resumed the program and discovered that he was ready to take a skills survey to determine what he should do next. Delighted to be advancing, he gleefully took the skill survey which placed him in Reading & Writing Level I.

Once he completed the survey, I considered his work done for the day. He had just done two sessions of the Reading Kingdom and his schoolwork, which was more than enough.

“So what do you want to do?” I asked, “Shall we read Scooby Doo, Captain Underpants, or play a math game?”

“The Reading Kingdom.”

“Are you sure?”

Victor was eager to experience the next level. The new material thrilled him.

“This is fun,” he exclaimed, “I can do this on my own.”

I sat back and watched him play learn.

“You’re right,” he said, as he finished up the session, “I do say things are stupid when I can’t do them.”