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How to Motivate Your Homeschool Child: Proven Strategies for Unlocking Their Full Potential!

May 9, 2023
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    Homeschooling a child creates flexibility and freedom that many families and parents value. Homeschooling can be a challenge, but a great benefit to homeschooling is that you can tailor their education to your child's specific learning style. Considering homeschooling has the flexibility that traditional schooling might not necessarily have, families have the opportunity to get creative and motivate their children in various ways. 

    However, like a traditional classroom, homeschool families should aim to provide their children with structure and a schedule, so children know what to expect throughout the school day. For instance, if you have specific rules and guidelines you want your child to learn and practice, write them down and put them in a place for your child to see throughout the day.

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    How to Motivate Homeschool Child

    Homeschooled children might feel like they can do their work whenever they want, with the assumption that they have plenty of free time to get it completed. As a homeschool parent, you are also the teacher, the principal, and the school nurse, which can become overwhelming at times. 

    If your child needs more motivation to engage in their school work and learn, it may be time to change things up. Homeschool moms who have an understanding of what motivates their child can make the educational experience more rewarding for everyone involved. Motivating your child for homeschool typically involves finding ways in which they enjoy the process and stay interested throughout the day.

    The homeschool journey is not easy, and at times it can feel like you are moving in slow motion. There are challenges that come up, therefore it is crucial to have strategies in place for keeping your child motivated such as creating a reward system, staying positive, being patient, spending time outside, blocking out distractions, and celebrating accomplishments. Keep reading to learn more!

    Create a Reward System

    Over time, your homeschooled child is bound to lose motivation and find the daily life of being homeschooled less interesting. There are a variety of ways to motivate your child, but the most effective strategy is creating a reward system. 

    When you offer rewards to your child, you are motivating your child to complete their work and behave accordingly because they know there is a "want" in place. For instance, consider offering your child small prizes at the end of a long week or after completing a hard task. A good reward system will continue to encourage your child to actively participate and give their best effort in school.

    These can include tangible rewards, positive feedback, extra electronic time at the end of the day, a trip to the local library, or a playdate with friends. 

    How Joon Can Help Homeschool Parents

    Joon is an app designed for children (ages 6-12) that makes daily tasks fun! Joon motivates children to focus and complete tasks assigned to them. 

    With Joon, homeschooling parents can assign tasks, keep track of tasks, and monitor progress! Assign tasks as "Quests" and Joon will do the rest. Your child will choose a virtual pet to take care of, feed, wash, and grow by completing the tasks assigned to them. 

    Joon is free for the classroom and is a great way to keep your child motivated and on task. Homeschooling parents can easily view their child's dashboard to track their progress, review, and approve assignments. Once students complete tasks assigned to them, they will have access to the rewards of Joon! 

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    Stay Positive

    A homeschool day can often feel like it drags on forever, but it is important to stay positive and encourage your child, even when things get tough. If your homeschool student begins to feel overwhelmed, it might be helpful to split up the tasks into baby steps and allow them to take frequent breaks when needed.

    As a parent, it is helpful to also celebrate small wins and milestones during your child’s academic journey. Whether it's remembering to turn their homework in without being reminded or keeping their desk organized for a week, celebrate those wins just like teachers would in a traditional classroom.

    Intrinsic Motivation

    With intrinsic motivation, your child will find the subject interesting and the learning process rewarding, but how does one develop intrinsic motivation?

    When asking yourself this question, it is also important to ask yourself, what motivates my child? Is it extra time on their electronics? Is it more time with their friends? Is it smaller tangible rewards? 

    In addition, children also stay committed to the homeschool journey when they are a part of the decision making process. For instance, when organizing a field trip, allow your child a choice in where they would like to visit. This creates a sense of autonomy and makes learning fun for your homeschooled child. 

    Be Patient

    Patience. Patience. Patience. This is crucial for your child’s success while homeschooling.  Modeling patience also teaches your child how to be patient in the classroom. With patience, children are more equipped to try their best and work through problems that not only come up within the classroom, but in life. 

    Sometimes it is hard to keep the big picture in mind when we are stuck in the monotony of daily tasks. Focus on the short-term goals and be patient with your child as they complete their work. 

    Head Outside

    Spending time outside is  helpful for your child's education journey, but it is also an integrative part of your child's overall health and wellbeing. 

    According to the Harvard Medical School, spending time outside and getting plenty of vitamin D from the sun is known to improve mood, help build our immune system, and promote a good night’s sleep. While not all days of the year are warm and the sun is not always out, it is equally as important for your child to spend time outside during the winter and colder months. Just make sure they don’t forget their hat and gloves!

    If your child is having difficulty focusing, consider taking a break with your child and spending time outside. This can include going for a ten minute walk around the block, kicking the soccer ball with your child, or playing fetch with the family dog.

    Giving your child a ten minute break a few times a day to go outside will have an immense benefit on their motivation, engagement, and behaviors. 

    Block Distractions

    Let's face it. Distractions are everywhere and they may become even more magnified when attending school from home. Your child's favorite video game is in the other room, there are endless snacks available in the pantry down the hall, and electronics are everywhere in the house. 

    While it is ok to give your child free time throughout the day to play their favorite game or to grab a snack, it is important to not give your child too much freedom throughout the homeschool day. Consider requiring your child to get dressed for the day and engage in a daily routine, like they would if they were attending school in person. This helps program your child’s brain to think about school rather than spending a day in their PJs at home.

    In addition, it is recommended to hold "homeschool" in a different room in the house, away from all the distractions. This allows your child, especially younger students, to stay motivated and engaged in their school work.

    Noise Canceling Headphones 

    Consider investing in a pair of noise-canceling headphones to keep your child focused throughout the school day. At home there are so many distractions, such as children's mom or dad working in another room, the dog barking at the mailmen, and people talking outside. 

    Allowing your child to wear noise-canceling headphones takes all the extra distractions out of the equation so that your child can focus on the tasks.

    Encourage Them with Positive Feedback

    Positive feedback is essential throughout the journey of homeschooling. As humans, positive feedback is better than negative ones. It is especially helpful in all aspects of life. It reinforces the notion that what we are doing is "right" and that our hard work is being recognized by others. 

    When complimenting children, it is helpful to provide positive feedback on their efforts rather than their results. Phrases like this help students develop a sense of self motivation and learn to value the importance of education.

    Older students and teens also benefit from positive feedback and words of encouragement. Positive feedback also encourages teens to think about long term goals and how a small project will ultimately help them learn and grow.

    When you provide positive feedback to your child, you are also impacting their self esteem and reinforcing the idea that they can do well.

    Some ideas for words of encouragement can include: 

    • "You are working so hard on that worksheet!"
    • "You must be so proud of how well you did on your essay."
    • "Great job with the math assignment! You got them all right!"
    • “I am so proud of you for reading your book for 30 minutes without asking to take a break.”
    • "Since you worked so hard and stayed on task this morning, I am giving you 30 extra minutes of free time during lunch to play outside."

    Change the Scenery 

    Everyone benefits from an occasional change in scenery, especially homeschooled children. Consider doing school work at a picnic table in the park, at the local library, outside in the backyard, or at a coffee shop. 

    In addition, going on field trips with your child breaks up the home learning routine and allows them to see their home lesson up close and in person! Consider taking your child to the local museum, art gallery, or state parks to make the curriculum more enjoyable. 

    Changing the walls in which your child stares at throughout the day can have a huge impact on their levels of motivation and it also makes learning more fun!

    Celebrate Accomplishments

    Some ways to motivate your child throughout the homeschool year is by celebrating all accomplishments, big or small. If your child is showing signs of decreased motivation, perhaps they need some positive reinforcement to keep them motivated in homeschooling. 

    Take a second to pause and think about how far your child has come throughout the homeschool year and let them know how proud you are of them. Students should be reminded of how hard they have been working.

    Parents should recognize accomplishments such as completing all schoolwork for the week without being reminded, waking up on time for the school day, earning an A on an essay, doing their work independently and quietly.

    Homeschooling Parents

    While celebrating the accomplishments of homeschooled kids is important, it is also crucial to reflect on the accomplishments of the parents doing the homeschooling. Homeschooling your own children is no easy feat and at times it can be overwhelming and stressful. 

    As a parent, it may be helpful to reflect on how hard you have worked to follow a curriculum, as well as teaching your student skills that they might not necessarily learn in a traditional classroom. So, give yourself a pat on the back because even though at times it may not feel like it, you are doing a great job!


    Dr. Brittany Ferri, PhD

    Brittany is a registered and licensed occupational therapist who holds a PhD in Integrative Mental Health. She is the owner of a writing and consulting company called Simplicity of Health. She has direct experience in program development, behavioral health, pediatrics, and telehealth. She has published five books, lectured at 20+ OT/OTA programs, and has been quoted as a health expert by NBC News, WebMD, CNN, and other outlets.


    Dr. Brittany Ferri, PhD

    Brittany is a registered and licensed occupational therapist who holds a PhD in Integrative Mental Health. She is the owner of a writing and consulting company called Simplicity of Health. She has direct experience in program development, behavioral health, pediatrics, and telehealth. She has published five books, lectured at 20+ OT/OTA programs, and has been quoted as a health expert by NBC News, WebMD, CNN, and other outlets.