I often hear parents say, “there’s no way I could homeschool. My kid would never do work for me!” The fear of a power struggle between parent and child keeps parents from deciding to dive headfirst into homeschooling. And it can be so hard to motivating the unmotivated child when they don’t want to do what you need them to do. Now, I don’t blame them, it can be a terrifying thing to think about. Parenting is hard work, then to think about homeschooling on top of it. Jeesh, it can be a lot! But, you can do it without the power struggle and without feeling like you are constantly arguing with your child.
But how do you motivate an unmotivated or distracted child who just does not seem interested in learning?
Here are some ways to help motivate your child while homeschooling.
Motivating the Unmotivated Child
It is no surprise that kids often need the motivation to complete a task. Our parents and grandparents often say they just “did it” because their parents “told them so.” They usually have forgotten the real motivation they had behind completing tasks.
So how do you motivate an unmotivated child to learn? Especially when they are at home?
Make sure your child’s basic needs are met first. Have they eaten breakfast? Used the bathroom? Had some time to wake up and get ready for the day?
Although it may seem like a weird concept at first, we all know the feeling of first waking up in the morning and not having the motivation to do household chores. We’d rather sit and drink our cup of coffee.
Children need time in the morning too, and some children may need more time than others. Homeschooling is such a great experience. You have the flexibility to create the schedule around your own family and children’s needs!
Some children are still developing their internal motivation and may need some external motivation to help them complete tasks. This is very common in the middle school/high school ages where the work is more complex, often takes longer and is not seen as being “fun.”
The preschooler you once had who would ask to do schoolwork even on the weekends may have turned into a child who just does not want to sit and do work. You may have to motivate them using an external motivator.
If your child enjoys video games, maybe you let them take their lunch in the living room while they play video games if they finish their assignments in the morning.
If they enjoy kicking a soccer ball around or coloring, allow them to take a break between different activities! Remember, you have control over the schedule!
Homeschooling allows you to look at your children’s learning styles and develop a curriculum and way of learning that will benefit them!
When you are looking for activities or things to use during your day, consider how your child learns best. If they are learning in the style that interests them and are motivated to complete the task, it will be easier.
Some children are auditory learners or visual learners and learn best through either listening or seeing. Using an online curriculum with voice-over and visuals, much like the CTCMath curriculum is a great idea and I have used it in my house.
Some are more tactile or kinesthetic learners. These types of learners like the experience of learning through touch or movement. Using the world around you and finding some hands-on activities like sensory bins or science experiments are great motivators for these learners.
Figuring out your child’s learning style will give you an inside look at what type of learning activities will fit and work for them. It will also give you a starting point when you are developing or searching for resources to help teach them.
Getting an unmotivated student motivated can be challenging and it may become very stressful for the child and the parent.
You want to look for a middle ground and work with your child to help them feel successful in the program. Whether it’s changing your homeschool routine, using a different curriculum, or adjusting to a different learning style.
Motivating the unmotivated child can often be helped with simple changes, and speaking to your child about what will get them to learn more effectively. Homeschooling is giving your student the best possible option to succeed in a way that is right for them.