What do we do if our kids are unmotivated, or they’ve lost excitement about homeschooling? Here are a few tips for spicing things up a bit:
1) Get out of the house and just do stuff. Walking in the park, library, friends’ houses, picking weeds, farmer’s market, anything. Getting out of the house is a trick we used when the kids were babies and nothing seemed to calm them down. It works for older kids too. And it works for adults.
2) Focus on YOU and what you like. Enthusiasm is contagious. If you have things in your life that you’re enthusiastic about, the kids will want to feel that excitement. They may not be too excited about your particular interests, but they will be excited about being excited. They can see how happy you are about what you love, and will learn signals from you on how to find that excitement. Also, when we have our own interests, as parents, we don’t spend so much time hyper focusing on our kids. They need our love and attention, yes, but if we are too hyperfocused on them, as the schools tend to be, it makes kids less likely to be at ease and comfortable with themselves. When we feel like someone is paying REALLY CLOSE attention to us all the time, it’s hard to have room to feel excited about things, without always wondering if that other person approves. There are many coping mechanisms for this, and one of them is to shut down and not be interested in anything.
3) Get together as a family – either formally (ie. a family meeting) or informally (ie. a dinner or in the car) and talk about stuff. Not interrogate our kids, but just talk about things, like we do with someone we trust, love and are curious about. Act as if our kids are fully capable of being happy, fully capable of being successful, with or without us – they have it in them already. And talk about what our family goals are and what’s important to us, what it means to be alive, what we expect from homeschooling.. all that stuff.
The main thing – have fun and get to know each other – save the assessments and worrying for later. I have a 9 year old, 6 year old and 4 year old. My focus, especially when they were little, was on being together as a family, loving each other and keeping those relationships strong as possible. The rest, miraculously, worked itself out. All the learning came, and still comes, from an enthusiasm for life.