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Staying Motivated When Learning From Home

With the Prime Minister announcing yesterday that schools will stay closed until the beginning of March, are you struggling to keep your child engaged in home learning?

Children have been learning from home on and off for almost a year now - and that has taken its toll both on education levels and children’s motivation to keep up the hard work. Rest assured that even experienced school teachers have struggled to teach their own children in a home environment - it’s just not the same as sitting in a classroom with a teacher who doesn’t also cook your dinner and set bedtime!

Here are some tips for keeping yourself and your child motivated when learning from home:

Make a physical to-do list for each day or week

Do not underestimate how good it feels to tick things off a list! And getting to the end of a list can feel very satisfying. With that in mind, try to limit the number of items on the list, so as to ensure children don’t feel overwhelmed by what needs to be done.

Offer incentives

Ask your child what would make a good incentive for them to complete their allocated tasks. Time playing Minecraft? Playing a board game, or other dedicated time with you? Negotiate a suitable reward for work done, and remind them of this periodically throughout the day.

Praise effort rather than correctness

If you’ve also been attempting to work from home, you’ll be familiar with that feeling of complete mental block that can sometimes take over your brain - and this is the same for children. They might usually be great at spellings, but now struggle to spell the most basic of words. Or perhaps their maths has taken a bit of a slide. It’s important not to berate them for struggling in a situation like this. Instead, make an effort to notice and praise the effort they have put in on a regular basis.

Watch your words

Pay attention to what you say to your child when they are struggling. There is a big difference between “I know you’re not good at spelling but you need to try” and “I know you find this hard but I’m impressed by how hard you have tried.” Try to avoid saying they are “not good at” or “good at” things, as this can lead to trouble.

Admit it when you don’t know the answers

What is a fronted adverbial? Who knows; many parents are finding that new terms and phrases have come into being since their school days, and it can be hard to help a child learn something when you don’t know what it is yourself. What can really help is to openly say “I am not quite sure what this is; let’s find a way to learn it together.” Often once you begin to read an explanation of the term, it can jog their memory and they find that they are able to tell you the answer - which is a great boost for their self esteem, especially if they are then able to teach you something!

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