Socrates said, “For a start then we must introduce children to arithmetic and geometry while they are young, and they must be taught all the preliminaries before they tackle dialectic, without making them learn the system of education compulsorily.”
“What do you mean?”
“No free man should learn any subject under forced labor,” I said. “While physical exertion undertaken by force has no adverse effect on the body, any exercise forced on the soul has no lasting value.”
“True,” he said.
“So don’t bring your children up by force in their studies,” I said, “but in a playful way so that you are in a better position also to observe what the natural abilities of each pupil are.”
Plato, The Republic, 536a
Μὴ τοίνυν βίᾳ, εἶπον, ὦ ἄριστε, τοὺς παῖδας ἐν τοῖς μαθήμασιν ἀλλὰ παίζοντας τρέφε, ἵνα καὶ μᾶλλον οἷός τ’ ᾖς καθορᾶν ἐφ’ ὃ ἕκαστος πέφυκεν.
People often dismiss the education of children. Plato discusses this explicitly in the Republic. However, it is also discussed by many other authors including Roman authors such as Quintilian and Plutarch.
Quintilianus mentions that forced education, possibly looking back at Plato, is bad for children:
Marcus Fabius Quintilianus (c. A.D. 35-c. 95) was born in Calagurris, Spain, and was brought as a child to Home. Emperor Vespasian appointed him public teacher of oratory in Rome; among his pupils were Pliny the Younger and the future emperor Hadrian. At the age of 48 Quintilian retired from teaching to find time to write his celebrated Institutio Oratoria. The quotations below taken from this book demonstrate that his ideas on childhood education might have been written by a contemporary educator.
Above all things we must take care that the child, who is not yet old enough to love his studies, does not come to hate them and dread the bitterness which he has once tasted, even when the years of infancy are left behind. His studies must be made an amusement.
Study depends on the good will of the student, a quality that cannot be secured by compulsion.
I disapprove of flogging, although it is the regular custom and meets with the acquiescence of Chrysippus [the Stoic philosopher], because in the first place it Is a disgraceful form of punishment and in any case it is an insult, as you will realize if you imagine its infliction at a later age.
I will content myself with saying that children are helpless and easily victimized, and that therefore no one should be given unlimited power over them.
Taken from Pediatrics, November 1973, VOLUME 52 / ISSUE 5. Which summarizes his ancient work: Institutio Oratoria
Nec sum adeo aetatium inprudens ut instandum protinus teneris acerbe putem exigendamque plane operam. Nam id in primis cavere oportebit, ne studia qui amare nondum potest oderit et amaritudinem semel perceptam etiam ultra rudes annos reformidet. Lusus hic sit, et rogetur et laudetur et numquam non fecisse se gaudeat, aliquando ipso nolente doceatur alius cui invideat, contendat interim et saepius vincere se putet: praemiis etiam, quae capit illa aetas, evocetur.
Quintilianus, Institutio Oratoria, Book 1.1, 20.
As a educator myself and a father, I have found it difficult to teach when a child is insolent or lazy or acts as if they do not want to learn. I have gotten angry and insolent myself but now realize that these were mistakes. The child learns less and does not enjoy learning anymore. We must take heed in this and apply ancient philosophy to our techniques. Use other forms or methods that help the child enjoy learning, not despise it.
Remember they are a sponge absorbing knowledge instantaneously. As Critias says to Socrates in the Timaeus, Line 26B:
Marvellous, indeed, is the way in which the lessons of one’s childhood “grip the mind,” as the saying is. For myself, I know not whether I could recall to mind all that I heard yesterday; but as to the account I heard such a great time ago, I should be immensely surprised if a single detail of it has escaped me.
ὡς δή τοι, τὸ λεγόμενον, τὰ παίδων μαθήματα θαυμαστὸν ἔχει τι μνημεῖον! ἐγὼ γὰρ ἃ μὲν χθὲς ἤκουσα, οὐκ ἂν οἶδα εἰ δυναίμην ἅπαντα ἐν μνήμῃ πάλιν λαβεῖν· ταῦτα δὲ ἃ πάμπολυν χρόνον διακήκοα, παντάπασι θαυμάσαιμ᾿ ἂν εἴ τί με αὐτῶν διαπέφευγεν.
Plato, Timaeus, Line 26B
Take a step back, reevaluate the methods, stop, or continue the lesson with less and build upon it the next day. For the teacher, read Quintilianus, read Plato, and read Plutarch as well. Then become a better teacher and person.
Later Plato says:
(Taken from: https://williampcoleman.wordpress.com/2008/01/30/of-things-that-are-how-they-are/).
So expose children to the Good. What is that, The Good? Being a good example. Be a good example to them. They will model themselves after YOU.