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Table of Contents
Ways To Motivate Your Child To Learn, Part 1
to Spiritual Motives
the Purpose of the Study
and Recognize Success
on Learning Styles
The Home Educator's
Money Camp Teacher
At Home Wellness
Up: Humorous Anecdote
Motivation is the wind in the sails that carries
along in his learning. With motivation, he will learn, understand,
and retain more. He will also do it willingly, easily, and quickly
Wow! What home educator wouldn't want to develop
harness that potential?
In this issue we offer practical ways to motivate
May the Lord bless your family for His glory!
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
The Teaching Home is a 24-year-old, home-school family business.
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15 Ways To Motivate Your Child To Learn
by Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors
As noted above, with motivation, your child
will learn, understand,
and retain more. He will also do it willingly, easily, and quickly
A student who has very little motivation will
give his teacher
very little cooperation and will learn very little.
In other words, "we can do this the hard way
or the easy way."
We hope this is motivation for you to learn
how to motivate your
Here, then, are some strategies for motivating
to learn, to give their best performance, and to achieve their potential.
1. Appeal to Spiritual Motives
The purest motivation your children can have
for learning is to
prepare themselves for serving the Lord and others throughout life.
This kind of motivation is possible only after
have come to know the Lord Jesus Christ, to place saving faith in
Him, to love Him with all their hearts, and to yield their lives to
Children who desire to obey the Lord by obeying
will be motivated to respond to their parents' instruction.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
Hear, my son, your father's instruction
And do not forsake
your mother's teaching."
Likewise, our highest motive as Christian home
to bring up children who have that kind of motivation and relationship
with the Lord.
This motivation should be constantly before
us and our
children. One way to achieve this is through our family mission
statement and stated educational goals. See our newsletters on
Our last newsletter suggested ways to make
the Lord the
center of your home school.
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2. Clearly Define Goals
Knowing what you are aiming for helps you
to hit the mark.
Therefore, goals that are specific, measurable, and obtainable can
provide motivation for your children.
The Big Picture
At the beginning of each school year and each
time to discuss with your child the objectives of the course and
how it fits into the big picture of his education and his life.
A Road Map
Give your child an overview or outline (called
of each class. This should provide a clear picture of where he
is going, how he will be getting there, and how he will know
when he has arrived, as follows:
* What he will be learning -- the scope and content.
* How he will be learning -- methods, materials, assignments.
* When he will finish -- schedule, tests, and deadlines.
Explain exactly what is expected for each
activity. If your child is uncertain about what to do, he will
not be motivated to do it or do as well as he could.
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3. Reveal the Purpose of the Study
Your introduction to each course (see
above) also needs to
include the reasons for studying that subject.
Your student might already have a conscious
need to learn
this material, but often you must bring your child to an
awareness of his need.
"Why do I have to learn this stuff?
I'll never use it."
These comments speak to the basic need we have for everything we
do to have a purpose.
See information and links in our last newsletter
section "Include the Lord in All Your Studies," which gives some
practical uses and applications unique to Christians for the
different areas of study.
Take time to explain why the subject matter
is important and
Following are some of the important reasons
to study any
subject with specific examples provided for math.
* Everyday applications (e.g., measuring, cooking, woodwork,
and handling money).
* Future life skills that everyone needs (e.g., shopping,
comparing payment methods, and budgets).
* Future occupations (e.g., science, electronics, physics,
medicine, and many others).
* To keep options open for a variety of future opportunities.
* To have basic information in common with other educated
people (called cultural literacy) in order
knowledgeably and understand references made
by others in their
communication (e.g., in ordinary conversation,
books, and news
* As a testimony for the Lord we need to be well educated.
* Some learning (such as algebra) is just good brain exercise
and develops our logical thinking skills.
(Motivation for home-school teachers:
show that maintaining and exercising such thinking skills can
prevent or delay loss of memory as we age.)
Ask your friends to explain how a certain
subject helps them
in their work. For example, ask an engineer and his family over
for dinner with the purpose of talking to your children about
how he uses math in his profession, or tell them about a friend who
flunked out of flight school because he did not know his math well
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4. Set the Stage
Atmosphere can be motivating or unmotivating.
Where does each of your children study most
Does he do his math best at the kitchen table with you or alone
at a desk in his room? Wherever you choose for a class, provide
* A peaceful and quiet place with no distractions.
* An orderly surrounding, (not at a messy table or in a
cluttered living room).
* Comfortable seating and writing space.
* A glass of water.
* Quiet instrumental background music if not distracting.
(Baroque music has been shown to help some
* Well-organized and easily accessed books and supplies.
is very unmotivating to have to search for
the book before you
can start studying!)
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5. Enable and Recognize Success
Success (in even a small area) is a powerful
Recognition for accomplishment reinforces
the desire to go
on. And the pure joy of achievement is a reward your children
can learn to appreciate and seek.
You can help your child succeed if you:
* Make sure that the level of teaching challenges your
but is not beyond his ability.
* Break learning into small pieces that are clearly defined
* Be positive in your expectations as you talk to your
about his ability to do well in a given subject.
* Help your child overcome habits of laziness or
nonproductivity. See our series on habits
Recognize your child's success:
* Point out his past successes to build his confidence
desire to continue.
* Constantly give words of recognition for accomplishments,
large or small. It might be simply saying,
"Good," at the
end of each paragraph for a new reader, or
"That's right!" for
the correct answer to a question.
* Make his writings into a booklet or family newsletter
* Display his projects at a science fair or support group
* Have friends over to hear a presentation or see projects.
* Enjoy a special trip or dinner after a certain achievement.
* Create a certificate of accomplishment, complete with
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6. Capitalize on Learning Styles
Use your child's dominant learning preference (visual,
auditory, or kinesthetic) when introducing new concepts or
working on a subject that is difficult or unappealing to him.
Memory is often connected to visual images.
We can provide
motivation and better learning by attaching images to the
material we teach. Use:
* Drawings, diagrams, pictures, posters, charts, and graphs.
* Globes, maps, and timelines.
* Bulleted lists, outlines, and material formatted to show
* Objects to help students anchor an idea to an image.
* Imagination to picture something in your mind.
An auditory learner learns best and easiest
sense of hearing. He will find it easier to learn and thus more
motivating if you:
* Read aloud about the subject.
* Play CDs, tapes, and videos.
* Have frequent discussions.
Many children (especially younger students
and boys) learn
best when they are physically active. Hands-on learning, even
for part of the lesson, will help motivate them.
Try to to include both mental and physical
having your child:
* Produce or make a project.
* Act out something.
* Use manipulative objects to figure out problems or
demonstrate a concept.
* Take a nature walk or field trip.
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7. Give Incentives
The Use of Rewards
Children who do not yet have their own intrinsic
to learn can be helped by extrinsic motivators in the form of
rewards. Over a brief period of time, the feeling of
accomplishment and recognition become their own rewards for good
A reward is a tangible recognition of an accomplishment.
can (and should) be small and appropriate to the level of your
child. Rewards can include:
* Prizes, or points to earn a larger prize.
* Exemptions from extra work.
* Verbal praise. Even a "Good Job!" stamp or sticker can
encourage a student to perform at higher levels.
* An attractive new notebook in which your child can write
personal spelling list.
* Educational materials such as a telescope, nature guide,
camera to use in their study or projects.
* A special study area and supplies.
Accentuate the Positive
Reward correct behavior and answers, rather
criticizing unwanted behavior or incorrect answers. Your children
will continue or repeat behavior that is rewarded. Reward for:
* Diligence and effort.
Save the Best for Last
An old incentive is called the "grandmother principle":
do this first, then you can do that thing that you really want to do!"
For example, "After you finish your spelling
list (not her
favorite subject), we will do art (her favorite!)."
Just Do It
A concept that you need to teach your children
everything that is worthwhile is not necessarily always
enjoyable. Some things take "plain ol' work." This is an
important life-skill lesson that should not be overshadowed by
our efforts to provide positive incentives and motivations.
The old-fashioned concept of duty has received
but it is very legitimate and useful in real life.
Discipline and Correction
Although we want to provide positive and enjoyable
motivation for our children as much as possible, negative
consequences are sometimes appropriate.
It is always correct to lovingly require your
obey the Lord by obeying you, whether they are motivated
to or not.
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for
this is right."
God has directed parents to administer discipline
correction when needed. This would primarily be for rebellion,
whether active or passive.
Correct your son, and he will give you comfort;
He will also
delight your soul.
See newsletter #45 on child training and discipline.
15 Ways To Motivate Your Child
To Learn (continued)
This series will be continued next week with
8. Get Your Child Involved
9. Know and Use Your Child's Interests
10. Provide Variety
11. Be a Good Example
12. Maintain a Positive Relationship
13. Employ Accountability
14. Utilize Teamwork
15. Make Careful Use of Competition
Go to the Lord for Help
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"For by grace you have been saved through
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