Motivating Home Schooled Children

Where motivation in a mainstream school setting usually stems from the organised structure of a planned curriculum, marked assignments, sometimes peer to peer competitiveness, striving for the praise of a teacher or parent, home school educators generally emphasise learning for its own sake. Home schooling parents therefore often try to create a very different learning environment where children base their education around their own hobbies, interests and engagement, and feel a motivation to learn for the rewards of learning rather than qualifications or praise – although notably home schooling families generally do integrate both these rewards into their education systems. This article looks at ways to boost motivation for home schooled children.

Basing Motivation On The Learning Of Pre-School Children

Home schooling parents often cite the example that as toddlers children engaged an internal sense of motivation, since their desire to walk, talk, feed themselves, etc., was a self-motivated drive. Home schooling families therefore often try to re-create the reduced distinction between learning as play and learning as a taught education. A common claim of a home schooling education is that children who do not learn in a school retain (or, if home schooling after deregistering from a school, regain) a personal love of learning and discovery for its own sake.

To boost this sense of a child’s curiosity to learn, home schooling parents should encourage their child to question in order to grow in understanding. Younger children might address most of their questions to the parent and/or home tutor; in this instance, the home educator could answer in a mixture of ways, sometimes (where possible) answering directly, at other times showing the child how he or she can look up the answer in other sources, be that books, encyclopaedias, online, or asking an expert. For older children, this latter technique can increasingly occur independently. When a child has a question that they want answered, he or she is more likely to learn at a faster rate than a child learning according to a mass curriculum.

More Tips To Boost Motivation

Be enthusiastic and instill excitement first thing in the morning – don’t nag, but make schooling seem fun.

Have sessions of reading aloud with your child early in the morning to get the day started in a communal way – or have a few minutes of fun exercise, with pop music in the background to get the blood pumping for the day’s learning!

Focus on lots of short tasks at first to help children get used to home schooling and help them learn self-motivation so they learn to complete tasks and activities alone.

Praise good work and be really positive about the completion of work or activities.

Sometimes ‘External Motivation’ May Be Required

Most people at some stage work for external motivation, be that a pay cheque or appreciation from others, so it’s a good idea to incorporate this in some small way into the rewards of a home education. For example, a home schooled student may be able to help a younger student work on his or her studies and receive paid remuneration for doing so, likewise many students babysit for money or as part of a skills exchange. These can be a useful part of learning about motivation.