Is your child losing motivation to homeschool as the end of the school year approaches? Is he becoming more reluctant to get started in the morning and performing poorly on his daily assignments? Ask homeschool parents everywhere, and they'll tell you that April can be the hardest month to keep your child working to the best of his abilities. The push to finish every subject in your curriculum can burn out your child's love of learning, and by May, most homeschool children simply long for the warmer, carefree days of summer. So, how do you eliminate your child's half-hearted efforts and finish the school year strong? Here are ten tips that will keep your child excited to learn:
Five Things to Change:
1. Change your daily schedule. Mix the order in which you study subjects or lighten the academic load the last weeks before summer. Only homeschool half days. Study one subject for the entire day or simply declare a "no school" day and let your children pursue their individual interests. Although a daily homeschool routine has its place, be flexible so it doesn't become boring and repetitious.
2. Change your location. Give your children a fresh look at the world and head outside on warmer days to homeschool sitting on the soft, green grass or a comfy lawn chair. You might even want to add a picnic noon lunch to make the day more fun! You also can enjoy a day of homeschooling at your local library. Simply reserve a conference room, bring your curriculum, and spend the entire day exploring the reference section or just looking for interesting new authors.
3. Change chore responsibilities. Change your children's chores, as well as their academic studies. Assign new jobs or switch chores, so each child does something different for the week. Teens also will benefit from an added part-time job outside the home that will reinforce the importance of academics.
4. Change your homeschooling tools. Remember your children's excitement when starting the school year with new colors, pens, pencils, notebooks, art supplies, and markers? To keep your children motivated, now is the time to throw out the old and add fresh homeschooling supplies.
5. Change your homeschool room. Add a fresh coat of paint, put up eye-catching educational posters, maps, or timelines, or purchase new furniture. Is your budget tight? Shop the spring garage sales or simply rearrange the furniture. Your children will love studying their assignments in a stimulating, redecorated room.
Five Things to Add:
1. Add an extra field trip. Give your children additional motivation with an exciting end-of-the-homeschool-year field trip. Whether it's a symphony, science exhibit, sports event, or a trip to the zoo, let your children pick the time, place, and activities that interest them within your family's budget.
2. Add a homeschool party. Invite a few homeschooling friends over for a night of board games. Ask each family to bring their favorite game and finger food for refreshments. Your children will appreciate the socialization, relaxation, and laughter, and they'll also enjoy learning with their friends.
3. Add a homeschool contest. Reignite your children's love of learning with a reading, writing, photography, art, or kite flying contest at home or within your homeschool group. Make sure everyone receives a prize and choose a grand prize that will even entice your older children to get involved.
4. Add rewards to daily lessons. Visit the local discount store, purchase inexpensive summer toys (water and sand toys are great), and place them in a "treasure" box. Whenever your child works hard and completes a difficult assignment, let him pick out one item. Older children might enjoy a day off from chores, a new magazine relating to their hobby, a new educational book, or a new homeschool resource. (Caution: Use sparingly, so you don't rob the joy of learning for learning's sake).
5. Add encouraging notes. Secretly place notes in your children's workbooks to tell them what a good job they are doing. Plus, don't forget to show their work to grandparents and other family members whenever you get a chance. Nothing motivates children more than when others are excited and interested in their accomplishments.
Most of all, as you round the curve and face the last stretch of homeschooling before summer, set a good example and stay positive yourself. Don't let the pressure of finishing every chapter in your children's curriculum steal your homeschooling joy. After all, what you don't get done this year can always be taught next year! Be upbeat and continue to greet each new day with cheerful enthusiasm. Also, don't forget to pray. Your Creator knows exactly what your children need, and He will show you how to keep your homeschooling as exciting as when you first started the year!