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Home Learning Tips + Tricks to keep children motivated

Hope you’ve got bottles of Sauvignon Blanc bulk shipped because…

Hurrah! HOMELEARNING all of term 3! 

What’s better than working from home, AND having kids running around in the back of your zoom call? 

If you’ve noticed your child losing interest in their schoolwork, and have asked yourself ‘how can I motivate my him/her?’, ‘How can I make all our lives easier?’, then keep reading!

Here are 5 tips and tricks during my own home learning experiences (you can find more here.) 

#1: Find your child’s will-driver. 

Termed by educator Dr Robyn Jackson, she mentions the 4 common types we all fall into. I’ve summarised it and provided easy steps to figure it out. 

Once you know what their will-driver is, you’ll better understand what actually drives/motivates your child. 

Is it belonging, purpose, autonomy, or mastery?

E.g

My neighbour’s 10 year old child is purpose driven. So before each task, I’d answer the questions ‘What is this for?‘ and ‘How is this relevant?’.

For example, he SEVERELY disliked writing (you can read more here). So, I linked writing a short passage for english (work), with being able to email NBA customer service and ask for a verification code (purpose). It was extremely relevant as he brought up the NBA email issues just that morning!

#2: Personalisation is KEY!

This is all about personalising the school work to your child’s interests. 

I’ve found that school work can make anything boring, and wipe out anyone’s curiosity (been there done that …). 

E.g

If your child is naturally interested in alpacas, then centre maths, english, history etc, around alpacas!

Can she/he use school maths equations to calculate dimensions of a 15 year old alpaca? Can she/he write + describe her dream alpaca farm? 

#3: Link a toy or item that belongs to your child, with the school work. 

Similar to above, the more relevant you can make the work, the better. People are naturally more invested in things which are theirs. 

E.g

With my neighbour’s 5 year old child, we learnt about ratios and measurement. 

BEFORE you sigh “fake news” and leave this page, I can assure you that it IS possible. 

We took one of her toys which had ENORMOUS eyes. Because she was fond of it, she was excited to measure the length of its eyes in comparison to its body. 

Then we used those measurements to compare to her body, and voila! Ratios!

#4: Multiple choice activities are your worst enemy.

They are easily cheat-able, and only encourage superficial learning/guessing. Best to replace them with a short answer question or project, to show they actually understand! (I explain in the example).

If the content doesn’t interest your child, they’ll find a way to cheat to get it over and done with. I’m sure we can relate to this as well. 

E.g

Take my neighbour’s 10 year old. He had to do a reading comprehension about clouds etc (I explain more here). He had no interest in them, and ended up memorising the right answers to get an 100%. 

So instead, I asked him to read something he actually liked, and followed up with relevant questions. Same skills applied, different method ultilised. 

But say if he actually liked clouds, then I would’ve asked ‘describe the formation process of clouds’ OR ‘in your preferred method (writing, drawing etc), explain ‘X’ and ‘Y”. 

#5: Praise the process, not the outcome

Credit goes to Dr Carol Dweck, and her FANTASTIC book ‘mindset’ (here’s a great video summary of it). 

Essentially, we either have a fixed or growth mindset.

Fixed means: “I’m not good at this” “I’ll never improve”

Growth means: “I’m not good at this YET”, “I’ll improve slowly yet surely”

When we say “oh awesome, A+ that’s great”, we’re praising the outcome, ie something fixed.

Whereas if we say “oh great, you worked really hard, your efforts paid off”, we’re praising the process.

Hopefully you find these tips useful – Feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions for other topics below!

Jo

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