Finding Your Child’s Homeschool Motivation

“Can’t you just do your homeschool and then it’s finished and you can play?”

Intrinsic & Extrinsic Homeschool Motivation

Children will find an intrinsic (internal)  motivation to learn eventually. In the mean time we need to set up a homeschool motivation atmosphere that helps them extrinsically (externally). “What are you talking about?” I hear some of you saying. I’m really just putting psychological terms on what we might call independent learning and internal motivation. Somewhere along the way your children do take the responsibility to learn into their own hands even though we may think it will never happen.

My oldest son went to school when he was thirteen. Even though I thought he was “lazy” in his home school lessons, when he got to school he needed no prodding. To my amazement he had an intrinsic motivation to learn. I just hadn’t seen it.

My daughter went to school last year for Year Nine. Part of her desire to go was because she wanted to be prodded (extrinsic motivation) to work harder at her studies. I wasn’t standing over her and making her DO her work. She thought school would MAKE her work. After twelve month at school she decided to return to homeschooling. Her attitude to her education changed, she wanted to take responsibilities for her own studies. She had found her intrinsic motivation.

A few years ago my two youngest realised that they weren’t very good spellers. They requested more spelling lessons so we embarked on daily dictation. Their spelling improved greatly and they were not complaining because they knew that they wanted to spell. They were intrinsically motivated.

Will intrinsic motivation come naturally or can we help it along?

Charlotte Mason’s motto, “Education is a discipline, an atmosphere, a life” , is really a recipe for leading our children towards being intrinsically motivated to learn. She encourages us to make learning a habit and to set up an atmosphere for learning; this will facilitate lifelong learning. So if you are despairing, remind yourself that as you continue to provide an environment that encourages learning and reinforce the habit of learning it will pay off. It will!