As parents, we are constantly finding new opportunities that will inspire students to learn. Without motivation, the most engaging lessons and activities will not grasp the attention of our children. Increasing student engagement and motivation just takes a little bit of imagination. To help you get started, I’ve put together a list of ways to motivate your student throughout the homeschool year.

Offer Rewards

A good reward system in place will produce self motivated learners and motivate unmotivated students. Show your students that hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed. Let them choose the reward they’d like to have and set up a reward tracking chart that works as a checklist of the things they’ve accomplished. Each accomplishment can be worth a set amount of points. They can later redeem those points for certain rewards. The more points they have, the bigger the reward!

Start a Fun Tradition

When your students start to complain about being bored, starting a new tradition might just be that little spark they need. Some fun traditions that will inspire students to learn include:

  • Mingle Mondays – you can plan and set the first Monday of every month as the day you meet with other homeschool families to exchange ideas, have some ice cream, or simply go to the movies.
  • Trending Thursdays – pick a trending topic that week. Whether it’s sports, fashion, politics, food, education, transportation, energy or any topic you can think of or that interests your child. Discuss what is happening, why it is happening, and what ideas or thoughts your student has about these events. This is a great way to engage and motivate learners about today’s issues and give them real world perspectives while increasing critical thinking skills.
  • Field Trip Fridays – this is a great way to end the homeschooling month (or week). You can visit local attractions that may act like a supplemental learning resources to the topics you reviewed that month or plan to in the future! Check out our educational field trip ideas in your area for some inspiration!

Get Them Involved

Getting your children to actively participate in learning activities can be quite fun and rewarding for both the parent and the student. By involving them in the planning stage you hand over ownership and reinforce self-reliance.

Another way to get them involved is to have them evaluate their own progress and coursework. Ask them to analyze their weaknesses and strengths to help them understand why assignments help them learn.

Q&A Sessions

It’s hard to motivate students to learn when all they do is hear lectures all day. A good question can spark their interest. It also helps them make connections with the content learned, develop important speaking skills and helps the parent see the extent of their understanding on the subject. Q&A sessions are based on participation, participation increases student engagement, adds interest and promotes preparation.

To make it even more fun, invite some of your child’s friends and have them comment on what another student said and discuss possible solutions or answers together. Your child can even be in charge of putting together the list of potential questions (and answers).

Be Inspirational

What better way to inspire students to learn than by showing them famous people who were also homeschooled? From Hollywood celebrities to U.S. Presidents, scientists and more. Gathering images and fun facts of famous people who were also homeschooled, is a great motivational strategy for homeschooled students and perfect way to get the enthusiasm ball rolling.

Starting out your homeschool day with a motivational quote can also boost your student’s motivation. Write them on your homeschool board, hang them somewhere prominent, or even on a post it note next to their assignments.

As parents, we can also serve as inspiration for our students. Have you been wanting to learn a new craft, or earn a certificate on a specific trade? When your students see you reaching to achieve your own goals they will be inspired to go after their own dreams!

Set Expectations

When you establish expectations in your homeschool, you promote motivation by encouraging your child to take responsibility for their learning, action, and behavior. You can increase student engagement and motivation by setting learning and behavior goals to mold their discipline.

Expectations can vary from “laugh and have fun” to “use your time wisely” or “notice your surroundings and feed your curiosity.” This approach will give your child accountability which will be very crucial in real world experiences. Once they meet those expectations,  celebrate the achievement and enjoy the success together.

Change the Scenery

When you first start to homeschool, you might think most of your homeschooling will take place in the home. The beauty of homeschooling is you get to decide when and where the learning takes place. There are so many opportunities you can take advantage of, here are some places that can double as both fun and education:

  • Homeschool coop classes
  • Local Museum or Zoo
  • State Parks
  • Local Parks
  • Library

Encourage Healthy Competition

Human beings are naturally competitive. So when you are wondering how to motivate students to study, consider throwing a little competition in the mix. Healthy competition can lift learning performance in students.

If your child has siblings, encourage healthy competition by creating activities that require teamwork such as scavenger hunts or puzzles or even freeze dance. If you are homeschooling one child, consider joining a co-op or taking a class where there are plenty of opportunities to play with others and build intrapersonal skills.

There are also state level and national level competitions your student can join such as the Spelling Bee competition, science fairs and more.  Be sure to promote improvement and explain that losing is okay and to teach your child that competition is not about criticizing, or making comparisons.

Harness Students Interest and Passions

One of the benefits of homeschooling is that you are able to know your child and understand how they learn best. With this level of information, you can easily plan lessons and create activities centered around their interests.

This is great for motivation and engagement because it promotes an attention-grabbing setting that helps them understand information on a deeper level.

Your child will be much more captivated by the content you teach them and process information more effectively. You can also try creating a learning bucket list where they can list all the new skills they want to learn or the different accomplishments they want to conquer. This will help them brainstorm about the limitless possibilities available to them.

Make Things Fun

There are many ways to motivate students to learn those subjects they find boring or difficult. For literature and history class, consider playing the part by dressing up and using props to reenact scenes that happened in the past.

For your science studies, have your students watch videos of fun experiments they would like to recreate at home, throw on a lab coat and get to work! For a good laugh, show your students the iconic tongue photo of Einstein.

Use board games such as Monopoly or The Game of Life,  to teach math concepts such as budgeting, investing, and more! Guarantee your students will look forward to their next math lesson.

Incorporating fun, yet educational ways to incorporate learning into your schedule, will make the lessons and activities much more memorable and allow your student to gain a deeper understanding of the topic.

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