August 26, 2014

Three Ways to Keep Them Interested in School

When my children were younger, keeping them interested in school work was easy. A pretty work book. Princess pencils. A field trip to the playground for gym class. Stickers on their worksheets.  In my experience once they hit about 9 or 10 years old, it can get a little harder to keep their interest. Princesses and stickers are not as appealing all of the sudden. Here are three things that I think help keep them focused on school.

Number One --  Teach Diligence. This one is really for before they start losing interest. From anearly  age, instill the value of finishing the task that you start. It's not only good character, it's Biblical wisdom. Proverbs 12:14, Proverbs 14:23, 2 Thessalonians 3:10 ... the Bible is full of verses that demonstrate the importance of a diligent attitude towards work. It may not help keep a rolling-their-eyes teen jumping for joy over their algebra assignment, but it will help them understand the importance of doing that assignment well.  Being diligent in the small, unappealing things - ahem,
cleaning their room or doing their math homework? - will teach them how important it is when the things aren't so small.

Number Two -- Let Them Have Style. Homeschool parents have the freedom and privilege to choose their students' classes. This is a weighty responsibility as we have to be sure that we are covering all the things required by the state in which we reside. (Need some clarification on your state's rules & regs? Check out this post from Home Educating Family!)  With that said, homeschooling gives us a unique opportunity to choose curriculum styles that are well suited for our children. My older daughters strongly prefer the traditional text and workbook style. Even though I'd prefer a more literature-based curriculum, with lots of writing and discussions, it just doesn't work for them. So we are doing a much more traditional style this year and so far? theyloveit. 

Number Three -- Reward Small Obedience. We obviously can't throw a party every time one of our children do something correctly. It would make for a very long day. But every once and awhile, for something that is normal and expected and completely mundane - reward your children. Thank them for putting away their school books with a special lunch. Load the dishwasher for them after they've done it for a few days without whining. Bring them a cold drink while they're mowing the lawn on a hot day. Just as much as we all love it when our husbands notice that we cleaned the house, our children love it when we notice their small obedience. They want to know that we notice the good things, not just the bad. I think when our children know we see them, it creates a desire in them to do more good. It doesn't have to always be big and fancy. Just make sure they know that you notice.

How do you keep your older students interested in learning?  What other resources work well as students move into upper high school grades?

 12:14
A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his words, And the deeds of a man's hands will return to him.
- See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/diligence#sthash.OOqh2lLc.dp
Proverbs 12:14
A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his words, And the deeds of a man's hands will return to him.
Proverbs 14:23
In all labor there is profit, But mere talk leads only to poverty.
- See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/diligence#sthash.OOqh2lLc.dpuf
Proverbs 12:14
A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his words, And the deeds of a man's hands will return to him.
Proverbs 14:23
In all labor there is profit, But mere talk leads only to poverty.
- See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/diligence#sthash.OOqh2lLc.dpuf

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