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  Getting The Most From Your Child

 

 

Motivate Your Child

To get the most from your child...your child needs to be motivated to cooperate and do his best.

We need to consider both our children's academic and emotional needs in order to keep them motivated.  The reward is educational progress and an enjoyable, successful school year for everyone.

There are a number of factors that affect a student's motivation.  A few are:

  • Parent's attitude
  • Learning environment
  • Child's emotional needs
  • Amount of fun throughout the day
  • Child's abilities vs. what is expected of him
  • Amount of rest, exercise, and nutritious meals
  • Child's learning style vs. materials and teaching methods used

Home schooling our children requires time and patience but it should not be upsetting or a constant struggle.  A lack of motivation is usually caused by a combination of factors, often difficult to see when close to the situation.  Sometimes we are unknowingly standing in our own way of gaining our children's cooperation.  See examples below.

If things aren't going the way you had hoped, don't waste time waiting to see if the problem goes away.  Take control and get some coaching! 

 

What we will do in our meeting:

We will sit down together and discuss your situation. I will listen carefully and take notes, listing the problems as they are identified. As I share my thoughts and ideas with you, we will create a realistic action plan. 

It is important that you follow through at home.  If you would like, I am available for ongoing coaching to keep you on track with your new plan.

 

About how long it takes: 

The average appointment for "Motivating Your Children" is two hours, but of course it varies according to each person's individual circumstances.
 

What you will leave with:

A printed action plan that includes your goals, the methods to achieve them, the necessary attitude and your expected results.- Follow-up appointment date and time - In most situations, I recommend setting a follow-up appointment  to assess the results of your action plan. This keeps you accountable to your own goals. It is too easy to get wrapped up in life, forget about your new plan, and fall into old patterns.

Just call Home School Rx at 717-612-1516 to schedule an appointment.  Daytime, evening, and weekend appointments are available.  Over the phone or at my office, I look forward to meeting you!

Tammy

 
For an idea of what can contribute to a lack of motivation, read just five of the potential causes below (taken from my growing Motivation Check List).
 

Learning Styles

Because you are teaching at home, you have the freedom to tailor the learning materials and methods to the way your children learn best which is key to their academic success. When most people hear "learning styles," they think of the modalities...auditory, visual, tactile, and kinesthetic. There are other learning preferences to know that can make the difference between a frustrated learner and a confident learner. I can help you understand your child's preferences and see if the materials you are using offer a good balance between accommodating his or her style and building the ability to learn in new ways.
 

Teaching Methods

Many parents find it hard to recognize if their teaching method is the source of a motivation problem. Some see the problem as a character weakness...their child needs to learn that "sometimes we simply need to do things we may not want to do." While I agree with this to a point, we first need to make sure our ideas or methods are not undermining our children's desire for learning. Sometimes the curriculum gets the blame. In my retail store, I have seen parents change curriculum a couple times in a year to try to find the right one, when the real problem was the way they were using it with their child. Changing curriculum too often not only slows down progress, but also cause our children to lose faith in our ability to meet their academic needs.I have found patterns that help identify if your teaching methods need revised. If needed, we can make alterations to the way the material is presented, or to what is expected of your child. This can make the difference between a frustrated student and one who is confidently moving forward. Read about Jodi below.   Read about Max below.
 

Family-Flexible Schedule

Home schooling families have much to accomplish each day. Families who accomplish their goals with minimal chaos are those who use a schedule that is suited to their individual family. Children are happier and more cooperative when they know what to expect each day (moms and dads are too).A schedule does not need to restrict you. An effective schedule is a flexible tool, providing daily direction while offering freedom to make changes for the benefit of your family. Whether you are interested in proactively getting organized or are frantically trying to stop the chaos, I can help you. I will consider your organizational "personality," your family's lifestyle, children's ages and learning styles and physical challenges to available home schooling time when helping you to create a personalized schedule. Read about Tracy below.
 

Effective Parenting

In some ways, parenting while home schooling is easier because we do not have outside influences undermining our authority and moral teachings; however, it also brings unique challenges. As parent and teacher, we have to be careful we keep a healthy balance. Quite often parents get so wrapped up in doing a good job as a "teacher" that they forget to just be a mom or dad. This is very important. There are proactive methods to keep you from falling into the "teacher trap." These strategies have worked for others and can help you too. Your children's overall happiness should improve, and as a result, their motivation for learning will too.
 

The Right Attitude 

Do you feel tired, frustrated, or perhaps a bit angry much of the time? Do you have a negative tone to your voice? It is affecting your family. You may not even be sure why you are not feeling right. As a home schooling parent, we have the combined blessing and burden of being the one our children count on the most. I can show you how to proactively keep the loving, positive attitude you desire and your children need in their schooling. Make sure your children's future memories of their childhood, and of home schooling life are as positive as you want them to be! 
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Personal stories:
Read about Jodi
:
Jodi is a certified schoolteacher who was very excited to be teaching her daughter at home. She was looking forward to applying her degree by making a difference with her own child.

She came in to talk because she felt that she and her daughter weren't "clicking" with school for some reason. She was afraid home schooling wasn't going to work for her.  Through our conversation, I learned that Jodi's eight year old daughter, Megan loved to read and "ate up" all books including books about bugs and animals, volcanoes, famous people and places in history, and pretty much anything within her reading ability. She liked math and English and enjoyed doing workbook pages on her own. She really was, in many ways, the ideal independent student.

The problem was, Jodi, the creatively gifted mom, wanted to make a big presentation of the new things they were learning, creating bulletin boards and prepared lessons that crossed over into other subject areas. She was excited to teach her daughter.
But independent Megan didn't want the big production. She wanted to work at her own pace and read her books.

What to do??

Through our discussion, it was evident that Jodi had a new goal which was taming her desire to "teach to" Megan and replacing that energy with "learning with" Megan. Instead of creating bulletin boards "for" Megan, she could create bulletin boards "with" Megan. Instead of planning the great things she was going to "show and teach" Megan, she would now ask Megan what she wanted to learn and how did she want to learn it. Making lap books also promised to be a great way for them to work together, with Jodi being able to use her creativity while Megan would have a unique method of demonstrating her learning.

Jodi came in considering giving up on home schooling...with a small change in her attitude and teaching method, she and her daughter were able to love learning together.

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Read About Max
Max is an energetic first grader who started out the year eager to learn math. Despite his ambition, during the day-to-day math lessons, his mother related that Max would start out fine, but when it was time to sit down and complete his practice math worksheet, he promptly began his ritual: moaning, getting up to sharpen his pencil, complaining about NEEDING to go outside to play, going to the bathroom, more moaning, dying of thirst, followed by a series of heavy sighs. (I'm sure you can picture the scene.) 

Out of frustration, Max's mom was wondering about different math programs. Maybe this one wasn't engaging him enough. 

Here are some of my comments to Max's mom
Children develop habits…some are good some are bad. Some are on purpose and some just happen because we haven't purposely created an alternative habit. For example, Max is now forming the habit of complaining about, and avoiding his math worksheet. 

Yes, it is possible that the curriculum may not be engaging him enough. But, before we jump to that conclusion, let's try another approach. (We certainly wouldn't want to jump to another curriculum right away only to find out that the same thing happens.) Let's try creating in Max the habit of sitting down, giving his full attention to doing his best at working the problems on his math worksheet until it is completed. After all, this is our goal, right?

I propose that you sit down with Max and tell him what the goal is and the steps you are going to take to get there. Something like this: 

"Max, learning math is important. I must teach you math. To do that we need to have our lesson first, where I help you learn something new and then you do a worksheet to practice what you have been learning. Practice is important to learning something new. Just like practicing hitting your baseballs helps you to get better, practicing your math helps you to get better and helps get you ready to learn the next step.

Now, if doing the whole page at one time is too much for you right now, we will break it into pieces. Let's try doing 1/2 of the worksheet. After you do 1/2 of the worksheet, I will give you a reward, but you must do the worksheet in this way: You must sit down and concentrate the whole time on trying your best at all the problems on the first half of the worksheet. You may not moan, whine, complain, get up for a drink or do anything else to avoid the work. You must give the worksheet your full attention until the first half is done. If you do that, then afterwards I will give you a reward. Do you understand?  We will work up to being able to do the whole worksheet at one time. But we will take our time to get there."

The reward should be something Max finds worthy of meeting your challenge. It can be a break to go outside for 10 minutes, a special snack, 10 minutes of being read to or whatever you think will motivate Max to do the work giving it his best effort. For a first grader with Max's energy level, it should be something that is immediate. Earning a sticker on a chart that contributes to a bigger prize when so many stickers are earned may be too long-term for a child like Max.

Follow-up
We heard back from Max's mother who had a big smile when she said, "Math is going so much better now! Thank you so much. We love the math program and neither one of us is frustrated anymore! He works until 1/2 page is done and then he either gets 10 to 15 minutes with his legos or he goes outside to play for 10 minutes. He then completes the rest of the page, followed by another reward. He is getting done much faster now, I think we will be able to increase it to 3/4 of a page soon."

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Here is how we helped Tracy:
It was a relatively quiet day at Home School Resource Exchange when we got a call from Tracy. "Help!" was the desperate tone of Tracy's voice as she explained her fear of "not getting enough done." Tracy had two elementary children and a toddler. She was frustrated with the chaos in her home and was too close to the situation to make a plan.

Tracy was able to come in for a "Let's Get Organized" consultation that day. She was able to "dump" her frustrations out on the table to be solved one-by-one. We were able to help Tracy relax in areas where she was expecting too much and set realistic academic goals, as well as help her make some personal changes in how she accomplished meals and housework so that she could get more out of each day. This concrete plan gave her a course of action, rather than the inaction that comes from feeling pressured and overwhelmed.

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