Motivating a homeschooled child can be hard, especially during rough days where they do not want to work, are feeling uninspired, or are just irritable or grumpy. This article will give you some tips on how to motivate your homeschooled child to learn, get their work done, and have fun while doing it.
Motivating your homeschooler requires a lot of patience. It requires you to dig deep within yourself and find the best and most effective ways for your child to learn.
Motivating a stubborn, burnt-out, or bored homeschooler requires compassion, dedication, and creativity. Read on for five tips to motivate a homeschooled child.
Let Your Child Choose Topics They Are Interested In
The beauty of homeschooling is that you can incorporate topics into your curriculum that your child actually wants to learn. It can be hard for a child to focus on topics that they have no interest in. If your child is showing disinterest in your current lessons, find some topics that you can incorporate into the lesson that they find interesting and exciting.
For example, if your child is currently struggling to learn fractions, find some real-world applications of fractions that relate to your child’s interests and hobbies. If you are currently teaching your child history lessons, ask your child if they would rather learn about historical figures, historical battles, or what life for a kid was like during that time.
Every lesson can be modified to suit your child’s interests. The goal is to get them intrinsically motivated so that they are excited to learn. By teaching your child lessons that they can actually relate to and apply to themselves, they will have more interest in the lesson, and they will be motivated to pay attention and soak up the information.
Give Your Child Things to Look Forward to During the Week
Mondays can be a slog for everybody, even your seemingly energetic and carefree kids. The thought of a week full of work on a Monday morning is enough to discourage and frustrate anyone if they do not have little goals or things to look forward to during the week.
If you know that your homeschooler is going to have a rough day, either because the lessons are hard or your child is grumpy and unmotivated, then try to incorporate fun things into each day that your child can look forward to after their work is done. This is not a form of bribing. This actually gives your child fun and productive goals to work towards.
Some ideas to incorporate fun into your homeschoolers’s school routine are:
- Trips to parks, museums, natural areas such as caves or canyons, or other fun attractions
- Indoor games such as chess, checkers, or other board games.
- Outdoor sports days where the family participates in games such as basketball, kickball, soccor, volleyball, etc.
- Working on a project they have expressed interest in learning. Woodworking, home arts, electronics and computers all have online classes and videos, in addition to attending workshops in your local area for various trades.
- Trips to the bookstore to pick out cool new books
- Nights where you make your child’s favorite dinner or dessert
If Your Child Is Unmotivated, Do Not Get Angry
It is natural for you to get frustrated with your homeschooled child who is refusing to do their work and learn. But shouting, getting angry, and punishing them will only make the situation worse. You want learning to be a positive experience for your child, and you do not want them to associate school and learning with fear, anxiety, anger, or punishment.
A lot of public schools get this wrong. If children are not working, listening, or participating, they are punished. This does not have to be the case with homeschooling. With homeschooling, you have the ability to take breaks, to understand the source of your child’s lack of motivation, and to reconvene when your child is more focused.
Of course, as a homeschool teacher, you will want to stick to a schedule. But constantly working for a number of hours during the day can be tiring for your child and for you. It can cause a lack of engagement and frustration. If your child is showing you that they are disinterested in their work, agree to take a short break and come back later.
Getting angry will only make your household feel small and toxic. You do not want this environment for you, your child, or the rest of your family. If your child cannot concentrate, agree to work for a certain amount of time and then reward your child with a break or playtime once they have gotten through the lesson at hand.
Teach Your Child with Activities and Experiences
It can be extremely difficult at times for your child to sit down, be still, and concentrate on a lesson. Some children are not made for this style of learning, and that is OK. If you have the time and energy, take days away from the books and bring them out into the real world. This is where some of the most effective and efficient learning happens.
For example, if your child is learning about World War II but cannot get into the content or finds it boring and unrelatable, then take your child to a history museum where they can walk through and learn the history in a different setting. Displays, interactive games, and war artifacts could excite your child about the topic and inspire them to learn more.
This tactic of learning through experience is certainly not limited to taking your child to museums. Get creative with it. Think about things in your hometown that relate to the lesson at hand. Try to make teaching moments out of everyday situations.
If your child is struggling with math, give them a budget and some money to buy groceries. They will have to figure out the price of each item and then add up the items to see if they have enough money for everything. There are learning moments all over the place. You just have to seize those opportunities and make them work for your child.
Teach Lessons in Different Locations
Sometimes a change of scenery is all your child needs to get motivated. Of course, these different locations should not be too distracting. They should be stimulating without taking attention away from the lesson. These locations can also be calm and serene, like under a tree on a warm spring day.
You do not need to sit at your kitchen table 100 percent of the time. It is OK to go outside, do group learning sessions with other homeschoolers, or even go to cafes or restaurants like college students do. Homeschooling is a different experience than public schooling, and it should feel like one.
Some ideas for fun places to learn include:
- Your backyard: Set up a picnic blanket and bring your child outside if it is sunny. Vitamin D will be good for them, and being outside is great for teaching biology. Let them explore for insects, birds, and other flora and fauna native to the area.
- In bed: If your child is having a hard time and does not want to get out of bed, bring the lessons to their room! It is OK to sit on their bed with them and have a daytime “slumber party.” You can even wear your pajamas!
- Your favorite diner: You can have a nice meal and do lessons while you are eating. This works best for casual restaurants that will allow you to sit at the tables for extended periods of time. Outdoor café tables can be a fun learning place with the opportunity to observe many things – people, birds, other animals, and insects.
- A public park: Public parks with picnic tables are a great place to do work with your child. When they get antsy, they can have 10 minutes of playtime or exploration and get back to the lesson. Being outside in the sun will stimulate your child and motivate them to do their work so they can play.