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Table of Contents
Ways To Motivate Your Child To Learn, Part 2
8. Get Your Child Involved
9. Know and Use Your Child's Interests
a Good Example
a Positive Relationship
Careful Use of Competition
Go to the Lord
AIU Degree Programs
Home Back Issues
Up: Humorous Anecdote
In our last issue we discussed how motivation
is the wind in
the sails that carries your child along in his learning, how with
motivation, he will learn, understand, and retain more, and how
he will also do it willingly and easily.
In this issue we continue to offer practical
suggestions that you
can use to develop and harness the potential of motivation.
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
15 Ways To Motivate Your Child
To Learn, Part 1
to Spiritual Motives
the Purpose of the Study
and Recognize Success
on Learning Styles
15 Ways To Motivate Your Child
To Learn, Part 2
Eight more strategies for motivating your
children to learn,
to give their best performance, and to achieve their potential.
8. Get Your Child Involved
People are more motivated when they make an
contribution to an effort. Have your children:
* Tell you how class sessions could be made more interesting.
* Teach all, or part, of a class to his siblings -- or
* Ask thoughtful questions.
* Suggest related topics or projects.
* Help decide what to do and the best way to do it.
* Help you by finding a resource, such as a related book
video, or by doing some research.
Most of a child's learning needs to be determined
parents, but there are some instances where you could offer your
child a choice. This could be as simple as allowing students
choose one of several options that you give him for:
* A topic for a paper.
* Activities or projects.
* Writing an extra paper or taking the final exam.
Your child will take more personal ownership
education as he learns how to set and achieve goals for himself.
He will then embrace your efforts to help him succeed.
Include your child and his ideas as you draw
up or revise
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9. Know and Use Your Child's Interests
All children have interests of some sort;
you might be aware
of some or all of them. Take time to sit and visit one-on-one
with each child and find out what his interests and aspirations are.
Show that you care about your child by asking
concerns and goals. What would he like to do in the future?
What things does he like?
If your child has not yet developed any strong
interests of his own, you can help him find some. (See "Develop
New Interests" below.)
A. How To Use Your Child's Interests
Create or Use Unit Studies
You can use your child's interest as the theme
of a unit
study that connects all subjects.
For example, your son likes cars.
* History. Study the history of the automobile's
its impact on society in the areas of economics,
industry, population, distribution, etc.
* Science. Study the scientific principles behind
brakes, transmission, etc.
* Reading. Read literature with car themes.
* Math. Use word problems that deal with distance,
time of road trips; spark plug gaps, etc.
* Writing. Write essays, poems, reports, even ads
* Thinking skills. Compare cars from different makers
and compare automobiles with other forms of
If your daughter loves horses (or at least
the idea of
horses!), do a similar study on horses.
Your unit study does not need to stay focused
cars to benefit from the motivation of your child's interest; you
should extent your study into related areas.
For example, broaden your study to include
other forms of
transportation used throughout history and around the world.
Use Interests as Lead-ins
You can use your child's interest in a topic
to lead into
another unit study or section of a textbook. An example would
be using an interest in horses to introduce the study of a culture,
historic period, or a geographic area in which horses were used.
Or use the interest to lead into a study of art, music, and
literature beginning with pieces that include horses.
Look for a way to connect your child's interest
* If your daughter likes scrapbooking, have her do some
reports in that style, perhaps providing special
stamps as incentives.
* If your son is interested in computers, let him type
format his reports with a word processor and
elements, charts, and web addresses.
B. How To Stimulate
and Develop New Interests
Hopefully your children's interest in the
world around them
will continually grow. Interests can be developed in many ways:
There can be no interest where there is no
exposure to a
topic. You must provide some initial experiences that will bring
your child into contact with new things and ideas you wish them
For example, before studying insects in science,
video that will pique your children's interest in insects, or ask
to see an insect collection or display created by a friend.
Look at Pictures.
Buy or borrow from the library, books with
photographs of anything you want to study (e.g., scenery, plants,
animals, or buildings from other places; historical artifacts,
ruins, and shipwrecks). Just browsing through such books with
no pressure to study can awaken interest.
Educational, travel, or dramatic videos can
also serve to
stimulate interests in the same way.
Learn Something New Yourself.
When you study calligraphy, calculus, or Calcutta
enthusiasm, your children can be inspired by your love of
learning and absorb some of your own interest in the subject
or a related subject.
Invest in Educational Materials.
Invest in books, materials, special tools,
etc. that will
make a topic more interesting (e.g., a telescope, chemistry set,
nature guide, or camera).
As you walk, drive, or talk together, look
for things to
wonder about. "What kind of tree is that?" "Did you see
bird?" "How many houses the size of ours could fit in that new
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10. Provide Variety
Be creative and include as much variety in
your methods and
materials as possible. Always be on the lookout for new ideas
and ways of doing things. (Hopefully you will find many in these
* Use lots of examples, illustrations, anecdotes, and stories.
* Use humor when appropriate.
* Try something new -- a new order of classes, a new book,
a new place to meet, a new visual aid, etc.
* Use related videos to introduce a subject or to lend
background or interest.
* Take a field trip to see something related to your study.
Evoke an emotional response by revealing your
or by doing something unexpected.
* Make something fun, exciting, or happy.
* Sometimes it is appropriate to explore sorrow or grief.
For example, recount a period of history from
the point of
view of someone who suffered in it.
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11. Be a Good Example
How you feel about the subject of study will
be as plain as
day to your children and will either motivate or discourage
them. You might need to become motivated yourself first, before
you can hope to motivate your children.
Good teachers usually love the subject they
You can become positive, even enthusiastic, about subjects you
don't like to teach if you ask the Lord to help you and work
consciously to change your perspective.
Energetic teaching is a motivating factor.
will be transmitted to your students, who will be more likely to
Let your children see you follow your interest,
or need to
know, in researching and learning about something.
As home educators, we do not need to pretend
that we already
know everything that we are teaching our children. Sometimes
most interested and motivated person in the class is the teacher
who shows her enjoyment of learning. This is very good as it
provides an excellent example to the children.
12. Maintain a Positive Relationship
If you have a loving relationship with your
child (as parent
to child, not "buddy-buddy"), your child will have a desire for
your approval and be motivated to learn in order to please you.
* Be careful to notice his positive accomplishments and
acknowledge them with appropriate commendation
inflated praise that is seen as insincere).
* Provide constant encouragement.
* During a lesson, make positive contact with your child,
verbally (warm, calm, and kind tone) and nonverbally
contact, smile, nod, or affectionate touch
Fathers can be involved by showing their interest.
example, they can ask, "What did you learn today?" and then take
time to listen and give words of approval and encouragement.
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13. Employ Accountability
Just as our children's yearly exams provide
and thus motivation, for us as teachers, your child can be
motivated to learn if he knows that he is accountable to someone.
As head of the house, the father can
hold his children
accountable for their attitudes, behavior, and studies. For
example, if a child is not doing his best, Father might ask his
child to write down what he could do to improve his effort.
Also, a grandparent or friend might take an
interest in your
child's progress in a subject that needs work and ask for a
specific report once a week.
14. Utilize Teamwork
In Your Own Family First
Children are naturally gregarious. They
like being around
each other, and can learn to work as a team. You can add
motivation by teaching several of your children in one class as
described in newsletter #91.
Your younger students will be motivated to learn
your older children help. And since teaching someone else is the
best way to learn, your students who teach each other will learn
better than if they were learning alone.
You can take advantage of group dynamics if
* Design some team assignments.
* Have group discussions.
* Replace idle chatter with intellectual discussions.
* Try brainstorming sessions to come up with solutions
problem and look at the pros and cons of each.
* Practice role playing.
* Take turns reading aloud.
* Include Dad in your group when possible
Other Group Learning Activities
Your children might be more motivated to study
such as science with another family. You could meet together
once a week after completing assignments separately throughout
Or two families might study the same subject
on the same
schedule, compare their progress frequently, and have a report,
presentation, or celebration once a month or quarter. (This could
also motivate teachers to stay on course!)
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15. Make Use of Competition
Competition can be extremely motivating for
and paralyzing for others; know your child. Some options are:
* Competing against his own, a sibling's, or a friend's
score and/or time.
Some educational computer software keeps track
* Preparation and participation in a local or national
See information on making a contest a learning
and a list of more than 100 national contests at
Go to the Lord for Help
Take your concerns about your children, their
and your teaching to the Lord in prayer every hour of every day.
He offers you help, guidance, wisdom, and strength, as well as
His very presence with you at all times. What else do you need?!
"My soul, wait thou only upon God;
for my expectation
is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation:
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory:
the rock of
and my refuge,
is in God.
Trust in him at all times; ye people,
pour out your
heart before him:
God is a refuge for us."
Don't forget to praise and thank Him for all
He has already
done for you.
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Sunnyside Up: An Unlikely Status
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