In The Relaxed Homeschool, Dr. Mary Hood speaks of the three ways in which children are motivated to really learn something. (As opposed to simply memorizing facts long enough to pass a test and then forgetting them.) Here are the three ways she describes--(paraphrased and with my comments!)
1. When a person is internally motivated to learn something. A child who is very interested in horses, for example will naturally want to learn as much about them as he can...and he will very likely remember that information for years to come! 2. When someone else has an intense love of a subject and transfers their enthusiasm to the student. I never was interested in biology much until I had a teacher that made the subject come alive to me! I learned more in that class than all the other science classes I'd had before simply because I caught her enthusiasm! 3. When people set goals that have a personal significance to them, and are willing to do whatever it takes to reach those goals, even if part of the process is difficult or boring at times!
My son had such a desire to learn about computers that he was willing to spend hours pouring over computer manuals and books and magazines. If I had tried to get him to spend that much time and effort on something when he wasn't interested...well, it would have been a total failure! He borrowed books that were really "beyond" his level, yet by perseverance, he worked his way through them and learned a lot!
If you're interested in obtaining a copy of The Relaxed Homeschool by Dr. Mary Hood, you may purchase it from GREAT CHRISTIAN BOOKS, 229 South Bridge St. P.O. BOX 8000, Elkton, MD 21922-8000.