View Full Version : Motivation

04-03-2012, 08:22 PM
How do you keep your kids motivated to do school? I'm having this issue with my son. He had a bad experience in PS and is now against all schooling in general. We do get some of our lessons done but it's like pulling teeth. Not only that but since PS we are having some behavior problems because he was being bullied. He also has ADHD. SO I have all these things working against me keeping him motivated. Have any of you experienced this? He says he likes being at home much better and loves that I am the one teaching him. It's just not as smooth as I want things to go. Do any of you have any ideas maybe that I could use? Thnx :)

04-03-2012, 08:29 PM
IT would help to know how old your son is, how long he was in school, and how long he's been out of school. Esp for kids who had a traumatic experience, many ppl recommend 'deschooling' - a period with no formal schooling at all. Just read a lot and take a lot of field trips. Let him relax and recover and maybe start academics gradually.

I find that a big part of it is a balancing act. Most homeschoolers end up with something that looks really different from what kids do at school. We dont need lots of worksheets - those are often so that the slowest kids can catch up to the quicker kids. Only do as much work as your son really needs to master a subject. For science and history - feel free to study subjects he is interested in, instead of whatever you think he should be studying this year, or whatever curriculum you may have bought. Same with reading - have him reading books he likes, not whatever is suggested on some list for his grade.

and then of course, sometimes you need some structure - once you are sure you arent boring him with stuff he doesnt need to do, set some limits, and be patient. If your son needs breaks in between subjects, that can be ok. If he isnt up for doing every subject ever day, work with that. But in the end, my kids know there is no electronics until school is done, and if they fight me hard enough - i remind them that if they wont work for me, they have to go back to school. but i hate to pull that out - it makes them cry . . .

04-03-2012, 08:53 PM
Ashton is 6. He was in school for half the year in kinder and was dubbed as the problem kid in class. He was just really bored. He's been out of school since Feb. of this year and much of his anxiety has calmed somewhat. He had a teacher that yelled at him constantly.

04-03-2012, 09:01 PM
I homeschooled my son all along, he was never in p.s. There were many times when he didn't want to work, complained, etc. I did my best to make it as fun and painless as possible, but ultimately, it was more about plugging along and putting in the work every day. He had to do the work, that wasn't an option. Eventually, he accepted that he wasn't going to get out of school work entirely, and just went with it. Things went a lot smoother after that. We still negotiate how things are done sometimes, but they do get done.

One trick that helped my son when he was in first grade (though this might work with other ages, too) was to let him "teach" some of the lessons, and ask me questions as if I was the student. At the time, it worked like magic with his motivation, even when we went back to normal. I guess it was fun for him to have the control for a change.

04-03-2012, 09:24 PM
I'd say.. keep it fun, keep it light, and keep it short. Kindy (imho only) shouldn't be about serious academics- I know that's contrary to current ps policy, but I have fond memories of my K.

I agree with deschooling, if you haven't already. You have plenty of time here.

At the end of the day, the biggest motivator with my kids is.... our verbal contract. We work as a team, they are allowed to express their opinions (as long as they get it done), I tweak if something isn't working, and I won't give them mindless busywork EVER. Because they know I care, and that we are on the same side, the fighting is much less than it could be. Not that it's perfect- it's not. ps baggage sometimes haunts us (especially with my ds... not an easy child anyway, but ps really crushed his creativity and ability to think outside of the box), but we work with it, and I explain explain if someone seems confused or upset.

I work hard to get them really motivated with stuff they can't stand- sometimes that means taking a break from it altogether, sometimes it means giving them space to find an aspect they can relate to. For ds, I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to find books he would read, for dd I look for fun ways to teach money. When ds hated writing, I keep it to a minimum and took dictation. When he complained that his journal assignments were too open-ended (ps issue...), I started throwing out topics for him to write about.

But sometimes- you just have to plug on. LOL last week we started money with dd... our second run through (she didn't get it at all last year). She said, "I wasn't planning on doing this this year!" I made her do it anyway. She doesn't like it, but we take it slow, I explain often, and I help as much as she needs me to. But she is going to do it.

I find it nearly impossible to teach an unwilling student- even my own kids. So if they really tune me out, I'm not afraid to ask if they'd like to take a nap instead (no electronics allowed, and have to be in their rooms) and we'll tackle it a bit later. Ds will use this option, and he's always better for it after his nap.

04-03-2012, 09:29 PM
my youngest finished K, and then was really uncooperative for most of first. He ended up really liking Time4Learning - he didnt fight about that. tho i did let him do it freestyle - whatever he liked, not assignments. He was more ready for organized work by this year.

04-03-2012, 09:32 PM
How much school are you doing daily? An hour or two would be the most I would attempt with a kid in K. My son is in 1st and we do no more than 2.5

04-03-2012, 10:03 PM
Ditto what everyone else said. Deschool. If it was a traumatic experience, then he may need more time. Keep it light and short. Make it as unlike school as you can. Play games for math. Do Mad Libs for grammar. Read and cuddle on the sofa for social studies and English. Do something like Reading Eggs or Starfall if he needs more phonics.

Most of all, keep in mind the long term goals you have. Unless you're planning on sending him back to ps soon, then this is (as they say) a marathon, not a sprint. His motivation at age 6 doesn't matter that much - it will matter much more down the road, so you want to do things that will build him up, capture his interest, make him feel secure, and not things that will be short term solutions.

04-04-2012, 08:38 AM
I agree. Take all the time he needs to deschool and get over the ps stress. That might be until fall, and that's okay. He's only 6! He *will* find things that interest and motivate him, and you can use those to your advantage.

At this age, reading and playing and going on field trips is all he really needs. Spend time in the libraryand take advantage of their programs, check out local museums and take walks in the park. Let his learning be organic: look for frogs, then check out more information online or learn about vernal pools.

You may find that deschooling helps you as well. Most of us are products of the public school system, and getting over their expectations can be a real challenge. Homeschooling doesn't need to look like school at home and at your son's age, there really isn't anything he "should" be doing.

Have fun!

04-04-2012, 09:03 AM
thank you everyone for the wonderful advise. I guess I just have to let go of the p.s school mentality and just go with the flow with him.

04-04-2012, 03:06 PM
we started reading eggs today and he absolutely loves it!!!!! thnx for the referral. My 4 yr old loves it too.