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15 Tips for Motivating Your Homeschooled Child

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Keep Learning Fun for Everyone

Going through a homeschool year involves training and practice to keep up. However, you may lose motivation when approaching the end of the year. Therefore, it’s likely that your homeschooled child is going through the same experience. A recent survey shows that about 50% of homeschool students spend between 25-40 hours weekly learning (which is way too much-structured learning) and this can be stressful. If your child is showing signs of decreased motivation, especially as summer vacations draw nearer, you must take steps to resolve the issue before it gets worse. Here are some tips to help you motivate your homeschooled child.

Keep in mind that you should not be imitating a traditional public school day and one of the main reasons why public schools assign homework is to show the parents and the teachers what the children have learned. The best way to achieve this in a homeschool environment is for the homeschool parents to work closely with the child on school work. Additionally, you will want to know what your child’s interests are and use those to teach lessons for a plethora of subjects.

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Here are some ways to motivate your homeschool child and make learning fun:

Motivating Your Homeschool Child

Tip #1 – Introduce a Fun Tradition

Sometimes, the key to rekindling your child’s interest could be a simple activity. Starting a new classroom tradition is an effective way to get your homeschooled child more motivated. The best thing about creating a fun tradition is that there is no limit to how creative you can be. You can plan and set special days aside each month to interact with other homeschool families, exchange ideas, and play some games. It’s a great way for your child to meet new friends and learn to socialize, so feel free to leverage this option. 

You can also set up special days for discussions on any topic that interests your child. It could be about food, fashion, politics, toys, and movies, so keep this in mind. It’s a smart way to get your child to engage in world issues, improving their critical thinking skills. Additionally, you can arrange for field trips, where you visit local attractions that supplement classroom learning. Consequently, ensure you check out some educational field trip ideas to make your planning smooth. 

Tip #2 – Involve Your Child in the Lesson Planning

If your child is showing a lack of motivation when it comes to homeschooling, it is time to try different things to motivate them. Have your child look at the curriculum and choose something they think is exciting or have them help you build your own unit studies centered on one of their interests.

For instance, if they like video games, have them learn the history of video games, teach a video game to younger siblings, read a biography or autobiography of a video game developer, research careers in video gaming, and take a programming course.

One way we have achieved this in our household is by incorporating our autistic son’s love of Disney movies into his learning.

Tip #3 – Encourage Independent Learning to Motivate Your Homeschooled Child

Having a child who can work on assignments and projects independently is a dream of many homeschool teachers. Plus, it’s a great way for you to catch a break. Independent learning teaches your child to be more self-reliant and helps them discover their educational interests. Independent learning has lots of benefits for children. Most importantly, it makes your child more responsible for their learning, as they can regularly track and monitor their learning progress, which increases their motivation. When they are motivated, it fuels their passion and makes them curious to learn more.

Independent learning also improves your child’s creativity and critical-thinking skills. They will be able to think outside the box and learn to take a more analytical approach when making decisions, so keep this in mind. It also teaches them to be more self-disciplined and learn better time management and other important life skills. There’s no specific age to introduce independent learning. However, it would be best to do so when you feel the time is appropriate, and you can start by setting time during class for independent work

Tip #4 – Offer Rewards

If your child is much younger, you can reward them with small prizes and positive affirmations to motivate them intrinsically. However, it’s prudent for older kids to focus more on their self-motivation than tangible rewards, so keep this in mind. A good reward system will encourage your child to motivate themselves, especially when they realize that their hard work is noticed. You can let them choose the types of rewards they would like to have and set up a tracking list they can refer to track their progress. The more points they have, the bigger the reward they receive. 

Tip #5 – Involve them in Planning Field Trips and Vacations

The beauty of homeschooling is the ability to travel and visit museums, historical sites, and other fun activities in the offseason. Make sure to involve your children in planning field trips and vacations. In fact, find out where they want to go and see if you can plan some unit studies around those locations. Some of my children’s favorite trips were centered around books they had read such as Johnny Tremain, Carry on Mr. Bowditch, and the Salem witch trials.

Tip #6 – Offer Frequent Breaks

Remember that when children are in public school, there are frequent breaks. They change classrooms, have “study halls,” a lengthy lunchtime, and time for going to the bathroom.

One way to motivate your homeschooled child is to make sure to incorporate breaks into your homeschool day for your child to just hang out without any chores or responsibilities.

Tip #7 – Find Your Child’s Learning Style

A great benefit of homeschooling is being able to tailor your child’s education to their learning style. If your child learns best by watching videos or listening to books on cassette, utilize those resources. It is far better to learn about World War II by watching historical documentaries than by reading a dry boring textbook. In the long run, they will remember more if you teach to their learning style.

Tip #8 – Incorporate Food Into Lessons

When all else fails, use food. This may seem silly, but learning that 5 M&M’s plus 3 M&M’s equals 8 M&M’s is much more exciting for young children than filling in the blanks in a workbook sheet. Skittles and Hershey Kisses can be used for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Hershey Bars are excellent to teach fractions. Food goes a long way toward learning in unique ways.

Tip #9 – Go Outside or Change Your Location to Motivate Your Homeschooled Child

While some people thrive on routine, many others need variety. Simply going outside on a nice day gives me internal motivation to continue with a mundane task. Additionally, finding a great place to write (a coffee shop or a picnic table at the local park) is a positive experience and helps to kickstart the creative juices.

Finding variety in your homeschool can be easy. Subjects such as art and writing need a new perspective and sometimes a new location can help in finding new things to write about.

Tip #10 – Don’t Feel the Need to Finish Every Book

In public school, rarely do teachers get through every workbook page or the complete textbook. Don’t feel like you have to finish a book or unit especially if your child is struggling or seems unmotivated. There is nothing more exciting to a child than to hear, “Today is the last day for XXXX.”

If you feel the need to finish a book or unit, consider taking a short break from the book to take a mini staycation. Sometimes kids just need a day off! (Adults do too).

Tip #11 – Read Better Late Than Early by Dr. Raymond Moore

Dr. Raymond Moore offers a different perspective than what we have been traditionally taught about teaching children. I have used his philosophy with my own children and have been successful in doing so.

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Affiliate, I do earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

Have the years of public school made you believe that children “should be” multiplying in a certain grade or reading by a certain age? It is time to give yourself some new information regarding child development. While Dr. Raymond Moore wrote this book in 1975 it is not a widely accepted viewpoint, but I have yet to come across a person who has read the book that doesn’t agree with his points.

Our daily life is filled with checklists of what our children should be doing by certain grades (Hello, What Your Child Needs to Know By…”) and we think this is a good thing, but young learners should be running and playing before they learn to read and write.

Every person that has borrowed my copy of Better Late Than Early has changed their viewpoint on child development and education. I know that this philosophy works because.

Tip #12 – Use Report Cards Sparingly

Grades and report cards given by a public school are for the parents. This is so you know what your child has learned and where they stand in relation to the rest of their class.

For some children, grades and report cards have a negative impact while others are motivated to do better. In grades K-8, I rarely gave grades to my kids. I knew what they needed to know and their shortcomings. I knew what we needed to work on and what I should skip until they showed signs of readiness. All of this means your need to be involved in your child’s learning. If you can’t be involved, then use tests so you can see what they have learned and what needs to be repeated.

Tip #13 – Consider Difficulty Level

I was once told by a librarian at my local library to allow my son to read any level or genre of books for his free reading. This turned out to be a good idea.

The books I assigned or read aloud should be the classics, but for free reading, he was free to choose (within reason). This eliminated power struggles and allowed him to select what he felt he could handle. Many times the books he choose were below his grade level. I had other children that would read graphic novels or books on cassette. Those choices weren’t my choices but it gave my children a voice in what they read plus it kept them reading.

Ironically, my son who I thought hated reading, loved non-fiction books!

Tip #14 – Use Your Child’s Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation means that a person finds the subject matter and learning it rewarding on a personal level. What motivates your child? We all have something that motivates us. I love making checklists and checking off tasks. I also love taking vacations. Writing and blogging were born out of intrinsic motivation.

How can you use their love of Minecraft or History to springboard into more subjects?

Tip #15 – Learn Their Love Language

If you have spent any time around here, you will know that I think The Five Love Languages is a good choice to read to improve any relationship including those with your children. When we learn our spouse or children’s primary love language, we will have a better understanding of the mind of our unmotivated child.

If your child needs words of affirmation, and we are always trying to motivate them by offering trips for ice cream cones, our efforts will be unsuccessful. Little things like “you did a great job,” maybe the important things to our children.

By the way, the Five Love Languages are 1) words of affirmation, 2) acts of service, 3) physical touch (hugs are important to some children and not others), 4) gifts and 5) quality time.

Tip #16 – Encourage Healthy Competitions to Motivate Your Homeschooled Child

Humans of all ages are naturally competitive. If you’re struggling to find an excellent way to motivate your child, why not consider creating a fun competition to switch up the atmosphere? Healthy competition can elevate your students’ performance quickly, so feel free to include it in your schedule. If you have other homeschooled children, you can create activities that require teamwork and effort, including scavenger hunts or puzzles. However, if you are homeschooling one child, you can have them take a class where they can play and interact with other kids. You can also encourage your child to participate in state and national competitions such as spelling bees and science fairs. Ensure you speak to your child about winning and losing, and teach them the importance of good sportsmanship. 

Unfortunately, many parents try to create a typical school environment for their homeschooled children, which can be demotivating. So, it’s not surprising that they get as bored, tired, and cranky as schooled kids do. Hopefully, these tips will help you find the perfect balance to keep your homeschooled child motivated throughout the year and beyond. 

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