Finding Your Child’s Homeschool Motivation
What we do to help our kids get motivated.
“Can’t you just do your homeschool and then it’s finished and you can play?”
Intrinsic & Extrinsic Homeschool Motivation
Children will find an intrinsic (internal) motivation to learn eventually. In the mean time we need to set up a homeschool motivation atmosphere that helps them extrinsically (externally).
Somewhere along the way your children do take the responsibility to learn into their own hands even though we may think it will never happen.
My oldest son went to school when he was thirteen for a few years. Even though I thought he was “lazy” in his home school lessons, when he got to school he needed no prodding. To my amazement he had an intrinsic motivation to learn. I just hadn’t seen it.
My oldest daughter went to school in Year Nine. Part of her desire to go was because she wanted to be prodded (extrinsic motivation) to work harder at her studies. I didn’t stand over her and make her DO her work, so she thought going to school would MAKE her work. After twelve month at school she decided to return to homeschooling. When she came home her attitude to her education changed, she wanted to take responsibilities for her own studies. She had found her intrinsic motivation.
A few years ago my two youngest realised that they weren’t very good spellers. They requested more spelling lessons so we embarked on daily dictation. Their spelling improved greatly and they were not complaining because they knew that they wanted to spell. They were intrinsically motivated.
Will intrinsic motivation come naturally or can we help it along?
Charlotte Mason’s motto, “Education is a discipline, an atmosphere, a life”, is really a recipe for leading our children towards being intrinsically motivated to learn.
She encourages us to make learning a habit and to set up an atmosphere for learning; this will facilitate lifelong learning.
So if you are despairing, remind yourself that as you continue to provide an environment that encourages learning and reinforce the habit of learning it will pay off. It will!
Lost Homeschool Motivation in Teens
If your kid has lost homeschool motivation it can be hard to read about homeschool success.
“My homeschool doesn’t look like that and my kids are not co-operating with me at all. I am a failure!” they say and they find encouraging stories discouraging because they can’t imagine they will ever have a success of their own to share.
But those wonderful homeschool stories that you hear about are real stories. They have come from the messes of each difficult day we have had along the way.
Hindsight is glorious and we share the victories but all homeschool mums have had their fair share of tribulations to get to the victories. It is a marathon and in some ways those last days can be agony. But the finishing line is just ahead when you homeschool high school. You are nearly there! And the pain dissipates pretty quickly when you get over the line.
Dark days have come for me and I have heard the struggles of many other mother’s dark days.
In fact I haven’t heard any smooth sailing stories.
I know that personal struggles are hard for others to understand and in some ways we battle through challenges in secret because we want to protect our children or hide our shame. We share our victories to encourage not discourage but know that these victories are not without hardship. We get there in spite of ourselves – and through God’s grace.
Homeschooling does not produce perfect children and as mothers we blame ourselves for this – but Adam and Eve had the perfect Father and they still stumbled. Just keep seeking God for the plan. Trust in Him.
“All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and live according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
I was sharing at a homeschool meeting a few months ago and 5 out of 5 of the speakers who had all been homeschooling from 10-15 years said they had at least one child who lost homeschool motivation (and most of the time they were boys.) Of those five mums who were worried about their children none of them were worried anymore. All their kids had gone on to further study or were gainfully employed. All of us reckoned it was around the age of 14-15 that this happened. And then around 16, 17 or 18 they started to snap out of it. You can’t really force the timeline.
I have seen this in my own children and it does hit around 14 -16. It’s very normal. I’ve also seen it go away as well.
Tips for Lost Homeschool Motivation
I remember the first time I experienced this loss of homeschool motivation in a child I panicked.
Some advice from a seasoned mum with boys gave all these recommendations for just getting your sons working outside more – on the farm (which we didn’t have) and doing more projects with dad (which wasn’t going to happen either). Those solutions weren’t for me. But I understand what was behind her suggestions. It was to keep the children working.
And that is my philosophy now. Just keep expecting your child to work even if it’s not at the speed you want – keep them going.
Get your child involved in what they want to study and help to facilitate those desires. Get tutors for some things if necessary.
Make learning important for them. Help them to see that there is value in learning. Even if they feel like some subjects are irrelevant to them, remind them of the value of training the brain in logic, problem solving, literacy and deductive reasoning.
I’m finished now and as I look back on the past years of homeschooling I am clapping my hands and doing a happy dance that I have survived this far.
Here is a day in our homeschool with the bad bits included.
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