It’s common for students of all ages to lose motivation from time to time–and this can be a source of stress and strain for parents. Below are several fun ideas suggested by some creative Connections Academy parents that you can use to combat difficult academic challenges, waning self-discipline, and slipping enthusiasm:
Try using “marble jars” as a fun motivation system. Each student has his or her own jar filled with as many marbles as there are lessons scheduled that day. As the student finishes a lesson, he/she takes a marble from the jar and puts it in the family “completed” jar. Each student can keep track of how much more he/she has to do that day. When the start jar is empty, the school day is completed!
Use games to make learning fun
Questions can act as a review before a quiz, or an introduction to a new concept to see what your student already knows and understands while keeping your student interested and motivated to learn. “Each day I post a ‘Brain Teaser’ question on the board that covers anything we’re studying. My son can guess at the answer even before he starts to work on it. It really draws him into the classroom and motivates him to get started on the school day.”
Volunteer in the community
A great idea, for any time of the year, is volunteering in the community. Make it a reward when students complete assignments. “Our children volunteer twice a week at a local veterinary clinic. An experience they truly enjoy, but they may go only if schoolwork is done well and attitudes are appropriate,” says one parent. This type of community involvement can motivate your student with completing schoolwork, is a reward for work well done, provides social interaction in a quality environment, develops mature responses from the student, and provides experience in life science, in addition to the service it provides to the community!
Find a special place to display schoolwork
Display schoolwork, whether it’s art, handwriting, or a difficult test that scored well. Reserve a place to hang some of the things so the rest of the family can see what your child is working on. It gives your student a big boost of confidence that may be needed on a tough day.
Find special activities that motivate your child to learn
Here’s a challenge you may have faced: “My son was having a hard time learning spelling words in our classroom. He just wasn’t getting it. One evening he picked up the jump rope we use for PE, asked me a spelling word, and jumped as he spelled it out. So now his favorite way to learn spelling words is to go outside and jump rope. I sit in a chair with a stack of spelling cards and call them out to him. He spells out each word by jumping and saying each letter of the word.”
Let your child see his or her progress
Review where your child started a week, month, or year ago and compare it with his or her current abilities. It helps you see which goals have been accomplished and develop new objectives. Help your student set goals appropriate for his or her growth, confidence, and happiness–you can even give your kids a chance to set their own goals. It teaches independence and responsibility. Post the goals in your school area so your student(s) can check them off as they are accomplished, providing a continuous sense of achievement.
Using these tactics may give your students a sense of achievement and confidence that will increase their motivation to learn.