Motivation to learn in homeschool as well as any other school is typically high when children are in their early years but it fades away as they get older. Every parent would like to keep this motivation high for as long as possible and especially in homeschool where some of the traditional boundaries are more relaxed. The great thing about homeschool is that you as the parent and homeschool teacher have the flexibility to tailor your learning program as you see fit to keep motivation high. Here are some ways to do this.
Know What Must be Taught
You cannot inspire motivation in your children unless you know what must be taught. Not only should you know what must be taught but you must also identify what is most important. This is because sometimes you may have to make adjustments depending on what questions your child asks during a discussion. If you can steer the various discussions towards the priority learning objectives then you both win. This is explained further below.
Part of a child’s motivation in homeschool is when the student knows expectations can be met. Your job as the homeschool teacher is to set expectations using these principles:
- Don’t set expectations too high
- Encourage your children to take risks
- Set clear objectives
If expectations are set too high, your child will only become frustrated because all efforts will not be good enough. This is where you must weigh learning objectives with what you believe your child is ready for. It is okay to challenge them but don’t overdo it. By the same token, don’t set expectations too low because learning might become boring for your child.
When adding a little challenge to meeting objectives, you should at the same time encourage your child to take risks. Taking risks also requires that you reassure the child that it is okay if the challenge is not met the first time.
Finding How Your Child is Best Motivated
Another challenge for you the home school teacher is to find out what motivates your child. You want find out what your child’s passion is because this will be the guide for everything else. When learning is centered on your child’s passion, the child won’t be satisfied if learning is not taking place. Ways to find out what motivates your child include:
- Listening to the questions that your child asks
- Identifying what interests your child
- Analyzing how your child responds to interactive learning activities
Listen to the questions your child asks. The questions are a strong indicator as to what is stirring your child’s interest and moving discussion around those questions opens the door to learning.
Interactive learning activities such as those using computer animation and games are a great way to find out what interests your child. You will be able to tell which games draw interest and which are better left out.
Implementing Motivational Techniques
Once you have found out what motivates your child, there are things you can do that will be in line with what drives them. These include:
- Obtaining videos, books, and other graphic learning aids with themes related to your child’s interest
- Going on field trips to places that are related to your child’s interest
- Encouraging reading
For instance, if your child seems to like dinosaurs, look for books and videos that have dinosaurs in them. The dinosaur theme will lead to questions that they ask you and you can steer the discussion to meet the learning objective.
It is the same with field trips. Since your child likes dinosaurs, taking a field trip to your local natural history museum will be a gold mine of learning opportunities for your child.
Probably the most important thing you can do is teach your young children to read and read well. Then, throughout their years in homeschool, assign and encourage reading books centered on what interests your child. Don’t assign long book reports at the end of a book because this will only turn reading into drudgery instead of fun.
Adopting some or all of the principles just discussed will help to keep your homeschool child motivated. Make the adjustments you need to in your homeschool program and optimize the learning time starting today.