The most important part of motivating your children is promoting internal motivation (joy of learning) rather than external motivation (rewards, snacks, money, etc) in order to develop long lasting intellectual curiosity and passion for learning. Here are five ways to motivate your homeschool children that will help them become lifelong learners.
1. Let them plan their day on their own
Children, especially teenagers, hate being told what to do. Ask your student what and how they want to learn throughout the day or week. Giving freedom within set boundaries will make learning so much more enjoyable for them. Give your student the opportunity to explore, develop, and delve into their own interests. However, this does not mean leaving everything up to them; you can always give them guidance and structure to make sure they learn from the activities of their choice.
2. Breaks and change of scenery
Let your student take breaks and spend some time outside! Walking, jogging, and running can burn off energy and increase concentration. An occasional change of scenery is another way to invigorate your student's homeschool experience. Try studying at a local coffee shop, library, or in the park.
3. Positive affirmations for hard work
Compliments help your student build the solid foundations for self-confidence, self-esteem, and competence. Keep in mind that praising children for hard work and effort, not for their ability or intelligence, helps them become lifelong learners capable of learning from mistakes. A longitudinal study by Stanford professor of psychology Carol Dweck revealed that in the face of a setback, students praised for their effort showed resilience and enjoyed challenges and the process of learning, whereas students praised for their intelligence often internalized their mistake as a failure and lost confidence. Praising your student for their hard work will motivate them to always try their best regardless of the outcome, take risks, and grow from mistakes, while praising them for their ability might make them feel the need to prove their innate talent and see any misstep as a failure to do so.
4. Value their input
Communicate with your student, listen to their feedback, and adjust your homeschool curriculum accordingly. Letting them have a say in planning or revising homeschool curriculum will give them a sense of ownership and responsibility, as well as appreciation of your trust in them!
5. Have realistic expectations
Too much ambition and overwhelming workload can result in lack of motivation and student burnout. Have realistic expectations for your student by setting achievable, measurable goals based on accurate assessment of their academic capabilities. Break difficult concepts or lessons down into small steps and encourage your student to take time and effort needed to finish those steps. Little steps can go a long way and your student will build confidence and love of learning slowly but surely with just a bit of encouragement and patience!