7 Creative Ways to Motivate Virtual School Students
Wondering how to help motivate your student at the start of the new school year? It’s common for all students, whether attending homeschool, virtual school, or traditional school, to lose motivation from time to time—and this can be a source of stress and strain.
Over the years, many experienced homeschool parents and virtual school Learning Coaches have shared with me their own personal strategies for keeping students excited about learning. Now you can also combat difficult academic challenges, waning self-discipline, and slipping enthusiasm with their ideas below (and thanks to all you experts out there!):
Use games to make learning fun
“Each day I post a ‘Brain Teaser’ question on the board that covers anything we’re studying. My son can guess at the answer even before he starts to work on it. It really draws him into the classroom and motivates him to get started on the school day.”
Such questions can act as a review before a quiz, or an introduction to a new concept to see what your student already knows and understands while keeping your student interested and motivated to learn.
Use marble jars
One Learning Coach uses “Marble Jars” as her motivation system. Each student has his own jar filled with as many marbles as he has lessons scheduled that day. As the student finishes a lesson, he takes a marble from the jar and puts it in the family “completed” jar. Each student can keep track of how much more he has to do that day. When the start jar is empty, the school day is completed!
Volunteer in the community
A great idea, for any time of the year, is volunteering in the community. Make it a reward when students complete assignments. “Our children volunteer twice a week at a local veterinary clinic. An experience they truly enjoy, but they may go only if schoolwork is done well and attitudes are appropriate,” says one Learning Coach. This type of community involvement can motivate your student with completing schoolwork, is a reward for work well done, provides social interaction in a quality environment, develops mature responses from the student, and provides experience in life science, in addition to the service it provides to the community!
Find a special place to display schoolwork
Display schoolwork, whether it’s art, handwriting, or a difficult test that scored well. Reserve a place to hang some of the things that are returned from the teacher so your student can see that the teacher does look at his or her assignments and the rest of the family can see what he or she is working on. It gives your student a big boost of confidence that may be needed on a tough day.
Find special activities that motivate your child to learn
Here’s a challenge you may have faced: “My son was having a hard time learning spelling words in our classroom. He just wasn’t getting it. One evening he picked up the jump rope we use for PE, asked me a spelling word, and jumped as he spelled it out. So now his favorite way to learn spelling words is to go outside and jump rope. I sit in a chair with a stack of spelling cards and call them out to him. He spells out each word by jumping and saying each letter of the word.”
Let your child see his or her progress
Review where your child started a week, month, or year ago and compare it with his or her current abilities. It helps you see which goals have been accomplished and develop new objectives. Help your student set goals appropriate for his or her growth, confidence, and happiness. Virtual schools provide teachers and school counselors who support your student, so be sure to include them in your plan to reach those goals and measure progress. And remember to give your kids a chance to set their own goals. It teaches them independence and responsibility. If you post your student’s goals in his or her school area, he or she can check them off as they are accomplished, giving your child a continuous sense of achievement.
Implement a reward system
Reward effort and persistence. Many students respond well to rewards that acknowledge academic progress, meeting deadlines, reaching specific goals, and maintaining good attitudes. Create a reward system that matches your child’s personality.
Do you have other ideas you’d like to share or any questions about motivating your student? We’d love to hear your motivation strategies and concerns.