Whether you’ve been homeschooling your student for a while or this is the first year they’re learning outside of a traditional school setting, you want to make sure they stay on track to graduate. Keeping them motivated, especially when you have work and other responsibilities can feel like a full-time job. Here’s how to start them off on the right foot this back to school season!
It can be tough to feel motivated when it feels like you have no say in what you’re doing. That’s true for a lot of people, whether they’re adults at work or students in high school. If your homeschool student has struggled with staying motivated and moving forward with their coursework, helping them take ownership of their education can make a big difference. Whether this is the first year your student is doing online high school, or they’re halfway through their James Madison curriculum, start the back to school season on the right foot!
Before your student jumps back into school mode, take some time to sit down together and plan out a study schedule. Don’t just do it for them; make them part of the process. Set the expectation that they need to dedicate time to school work, but that they can do it their way. Using a shared digital calendar or a simple wall calendar, go through the month ahead and work together to create a study and exam schedule. Is your student a morning person? A night owl? Talk about when they have to most energy and try to plan study time in those periods.
Help your student decide on reachable weekly and monthly goals. Then, have them make a timeline that will best allow them to reach those goals. By allowing them to take the lead in planning their study time, you’re not only teaching them time management and organizational skills; you’re letting them know that you trust them to start making more decisions about their future.
There’s something special about having your successes acknowledged and celebrated, no matter how small. As a homeschooling student, your son or daughter is able to learn in an environment that works best for them, around a schedule that fits their needs, as well as your own. But when a slump in motivation comes along, the flexibility of an online education with no deadlines and due dates can make it seem like there’s all the time in the world to get back into study mode. One way to shake a bored or unmotivated student out of their study funk is to offer positive reinforcement and rewards.
Reinforcing your student’s success doesn’t have to necessarily come in the form of something tangible. A reward for meeting a weekly study goal could be something as simple as allowing them to have an extra hour of sleep in the morning or skip a chore they don’t particularly enjoy. Besides motivating them to push through slumps, offering rewards and acknowledging successes lets them know you’re paying attention. Not sure what to give your student for good grades and staying on schedule? There are more than a few easy, inexpensive ideas you can use or you can work out a specific reward system with your child.
When studying or taking an exam seems like the last thing your student wants to do, suggesting a change in scenery can inspire them to get back on track. The benefit of mobile education is that wherever there’s an internet connection, your student can study! When much of their school time is spent at home in front of the computer or in their room with their tablet or smartphone, it can be easy to fall into a slump and lose motivation. Switching up the daily routine makes things seem fresh and exciting again.
Since the online program can be completed wherever you have an internet connection, spending a dreary day at a cafe working on classes is an easy option to make a change and can serve as a reward for working hard. If it’s nice out, printing out study guides and hanging out in a local park is a change of pace that can help your student shake off any boredom that may have been hampering their progress.
You’ve given your student the independence and confidence to create their own school schedule and study in a way that works best for them. But we all need help every now and then. It’s just as important to offer support and advice when they make a mistake or fail an exam as it is to celebrate their successes. One less than perfect grade won’t derail their progress but it can cause them to lose their confidence. When your student is upset about a bad grade, ask them what they think they could have done differently. Maybe they need to change their study habits or spend some extra time on certain classes. Whatever the case, letting them know that it’s okay to be less than perfect can help them move on from something disappointing, allowing them to jump back into their schoolwork.
What does your child want to do after high school? Are they hoping to go to college? Career school? Join the military? Starting to map out the future with them can help your student stay motivated to cross the high school finish line. Earning a diploma is the first step toward reaching their goals, no matter what they are. While it’s up to them to make the future they want, reminding them what’s next can keep them moving forward.
Not sure how to help your child through a tough math problem or a tricky essay prompt? At James Madison High School, your homeschool student has support from academic advisors, teachers, and student services representatives. From questions about lessons they’re learning to study tips, they’re here for you both! Take the next step toward making this back to school season the best one yet for your student (or yourself) and reach out to James Madison at today.