As we make our way through the first semester, we know burnout can start to set in, and students can become discouraged. It can be hard to give them the motivation to keep going. We asked our MODG Teachers and Consultants, what their tips are for helping students! Here's what they said:
- The first thing is to find out what the child likes and WHAT will motivate him. Some children are motivated by tangible rewards; others are motivated by opportunities to be with friends; still others are motivated by praise and encouragement. It's important to know that what motivates your child might be totally different from what motivates you. It has to do with personality.
- Be sure to set reasonable short-term deadlines so the student can meet them and see his accomplishments.
- Having a schedule with set times for each subject can help (e.g., math lesson starts at 8am, edit science paper at 9:30, lit/history reading at 11:00, lunch at 12). That way, a student has incentive to focus on the easier subjects ("If I finish in an hour, I get a half hour break before the next task"), and if a subject is harder, it isn't allowed to take over (I'll have to finish editing my paper this evening, but at least everything else is done"). It certainly doesn't work for everyone, but for many people it's encouraging!
- For my LS students, I've told them we could bring our favorite drinks to class, like hot cocoa, and tell everyone what our favorite is. Just as a kind of silly but fun way to get them excited about the class.
- My own children seem to be motivated by the prospect of something fun to do that day. I find when they know they can go do the fun thing after they finish school, they work much more quickly and with more focus. Sometimes not being busy enough can backfire and they use all the time for school since they have it. There’s a balance between being too busy and not busy enough, and it can be tricky to find that sweet spot.
- I have found that it is important for parents to try to remain enthusiastic and curious about what their children are learning. This can help set the tone for your children's attitudes towards their responsibilities.
- Encourage the students to change up the location of their study spaces so that they are not just sitting at one table for the whole day. Altering the location can help break up the day so it feels less daunting. Our homes are our school rooms, it can help to put some thought into creating a welcoming space.
- We've enjoyed interspersing rewards into the day to be enjoyed after a short, manageable chunk of work is accomplished. For example, set a goal, such as finishing religion and math, and then take a break to read aloud to everyone from a favorite book, or head outside for a short nature walk or outdoor game. Even something as simple as letting the children take turns picking a favorite song to listen to, sing, and/or play when a certain goal is achieved can be motivating!
- When a student seems unmotivated, I find it can be because they are stuck on an assignment, because they don't understand it, don't know where to start or are overwhelmed by it. Talking to them (explaining the assignment and asking leading questions) and lending an ear (for discussion) or a hand (taking notes or helping to create an outline) can help to kick start them again.
Thank you to our teachers and consultants for taking the time to share your encouraging words! Mother of Divine Grace School keeps you all in our prayers!