Our question today is brought to you from a homeschooling mom: “What do you do with unmotivated kids, who try to beg and plead their way out of doing school work?” Share your motivation and discipline secrets!
Cristina: “Behavioral Management Chart: It uses green, yellow, orange, and red cards. Each subject has its set of cards. If he gets three red on three different subjects, there are no electronics after school work is done.”
K. Ann: “I simply set daily and weekly goals. If someone wanted off early, they might work on material the day before or start earlier and when that day’s materials were finished, that day was done and the rest of the time was their own. Also, I would drive them to extra activities if the work was done. In short, there were concrete and limited materials that HAD to get done each day and each week, no limits on doing more if a child chose to do so, and rewards of time, freedom, and rides to other activities if they did their material in time.”
Aimee: “We try not to make it a discipline issue and realize that everyone has bad days. If it is ongoing, I will take it to mean something needs to change in the way of curriculum or teaching style.”
Jennifer: “A little bribery works well, too. Not all the time, mind you. Just to shake things up a little sometimes. Meant to add, I have charts for a couple of my kids. They get a sticker for every day they do school without complaining or whining. Then after a certain number of stickers they get a trip to the Dollar Tree or Five Below. Something inexpensive, but that they don’t normally get to do. It’s amazing how much a buck or two can motivate a kid!”
Adam: “The best motivation, for myself at least, is remembering that I don’t want to be in high school forever.”
Lisa: “Since I am doing what I like to call before and after schooling and Montessori at that I always give my daughter choices with what lessons she chooses and some days have set lessons, like poetry is always done on Tu/ Th and reading and literature is daily. Math is M/W/F. Works well for us. We also have daily Bible stories and prayers and then add some sensorial and geography and history on the other days.”
Colleen: “When the kids get the doldrums, I try to incorporate games into the lesson plans. When we are studying synonyms and antonyms, we may skip the workbook lessons and play “Password” instead. When studying the civil war from our textbook gets a little dry, some days we use a board game called “Game of the States,” using only the states during that time period. We changed the rules a bit so in order to “win” a state the player had to name something important to the civil war having to do with that state (a general born there, famous battle, etc.). If the kids don’t know their math facts, they can easily get bogged down. We will occasionally take a day off from “regular” math to play multiplication games with dice or dominoes. Adding a time can really get things going. We also take time for following step by step directions (legos and origami are good for this). Here’s my last hint. My kids HATE spelling. We turn it into a game by going outside and spelling with sidewalk chalk (we’re in Texas, so we can do this all year round), doing jumping jacks while spelling (good for boys, especially), spelling at the top of our lungs (yelling spelling), hopping in one sidewalk section for each letter. Inside we use Boggle and Scrabble for practice.”
Shannon: “Colleen also turned us onto a video game called Timez Attack (bigbrainz.com) that teaches multiplication facts in a 3D game environment. My kids love it. My 8-year-old just finished all the levels (2′s through 12′s) last week.
Meg: “What about unmotivated moms? I find, this time of year, it’s actually the kids trying to motivate me!”
Stephanie: “Time for a field trip!”
Kristin: “Nutella sandwiches after school….:-)”
Amy: “Nutella works great for the kids…and mom.”