4 Easy Steps to Motivate Your Child to Learn at Home
I am going to get right to the point today. You have a lot on your plate and honestly, no one likes a long read.
But, before I give you these four valuable steps, let me ask why did you choose to home school? Think about it for a minute. Your honest, introspective response should help open your mind to a new style of teaching.
So why? Here is a multiple choice set of responses.
A. Did you decide because you are home and available to do it, so why not?
B. Is your child falling behind in school and you want to avoid labelling so you pulled your child out before that can happen?
C. Has your child already been labelled, repeated a grade, stuck in a special class and considered a behavior problem?
D. Did you realize the school system uses a one sized fits all approach to education and chose not to have your child conform to a rudimentary style of education?
Don’t worry, there are no right or wrong answers. If you read my bio, you know that my answer is C. Regardless of what your answer is you have now chosen to home school so let’s do it right.
Step 1 starts with you. Free your mind of the standard teaching style that you pulled your child away from. Why are you scrambling for worksheets and assignments designed for any child when you have your wonderful child in your home? Stop that, please. I know you have to show documented work and progress according to your state’s requirements. When I start creativecurriculums as a business I will have an app for you to do that but for now, keep a Word document or Excel spreadsheet to list your daily assignments and your child’s responses to the assignments. Yes, there is a little work on your part, after all, you chose to home school. Stop taking the easy route by using worksheets and sticking your child at the kitchen table. Shame on you.
Step 2, interview your child. You cannot personalize the education experience without knowing what and who your child likes. Take him or her out for a snack and ask a lot of questions. Do not assume you know what your child likes. Ask them. Tell me 3 things you really like to do. What are your favorite foods? What subjects are you most interested in? Where do you like to go? Who do you like the most in the family? friends? Take note of your child’s likes and dislikes and make a list. The list will help you design personalized lessons. Add your moral values to the list. Think of things you want your child to learn. Take history for example, who are the heroes/sheroes you prefer to teach your child about? You do not have to stick with the same people in school books. If you want to teach your child about Shaka Zulu, Genghis Khan, Mangus Coloradus, George Washington or all of them, that is your choice. Math is a great subject to add your own perspective to. The overarching goal is to teach addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Who is to say how you teach it? You can use real life math lessons such as finances and budgeting. If your child is young, start with counting, adding and subtracting money. The older they get introduce them to your monthly budget. Have them appreciate the things at home better by balancing the bills vs. the income. Give them one of their own to balance.
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Step 3 is the fun part, be creative. Once you have broken away from the shackles of a standardize, traditional teaching method you will realize that the sky is the limit. Yay! Use the list of likes and dislikes to create lessons. If your child said he/she likes to run, jump and play you may have an active learner. If you want to know for sure, read my blog on How to Personalize Your Child’s Education Experience, it tells you about Learning Style Assessments. Let’s take an active learner for example and a reading assignment. Reading does not mean sitting at a table, comfy chair or a nook with a book, especially for active learners who do not want to sit. We read everyday. Apply reading to everyday life. Have your child read as many signs along the road, ask him/her to tell you what isle the cookies are in, in the grocery store by reading the lists. If he/she likes cookies, the answer will come sooner than you think. If you have a preteen or teen, scavenger hunt an article on social media (of their choice) that is something funny, or about one of their favorite activities, the possibilities are endless. Have them read the article and summarize it. If you have a child who is an intuitive/analytical thinker, get books, articles, blogs, comics, recipes, or anything that requires them to do something or solve a problem-that is how you build comprehension skills. At story time, use your child’s name and the names of family and friends in the stories you read. Have them replace the names in the stories they read.
Step 4 watch your child immediately perk up and respond to learning in a way that he/she doesn’t even recognize as an assignment because it is not structured on a sheet. Worksheets are only for solitary/intrapersonal learners with a degree of analytical skill. A small population of students fit into that learning style. In fact, most learners today are visual, auditory and kinesthetic. You will write the lessons and keep record of the learning experience to show proof of homeschooling progress. The paperwork is worth the motivation your child will have to learn.
As a teacher of 20 years, an Instructional Designer who is two chapters away from completing my dissertation for my Ed. D., I promise your child will respond to this method of teaching better than he/she did in class.
In the coming weeks I will break down each type of learning style and how you can tailor lessons to meet that particular style.
Remember: Your child should not conform to the lesson, the lesson should conform to your child.