Motivating Reluctant Learners (at Home)

April 23, 2020

Reluctant learners don’t need punishment.

Whether you are a full-time homeschooler or helping with remote learning, chances are good that you will occasionally have a child not interested in schoolwork. As a former teacher and homeschooling mom, here are best tips for motivating reluctant learners.

Social media can make homeschooling look prettier than it really is. No two days are ever perfect — and you’ll have more “off” days than you might care to admit.

But there are many benefits of homeschooling that make up for it:

  • discovering how your child learns best
  • empowering your child to have an active role in his/her education
  • learning something new from your child
  • making memories as you “live life” together

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Motivating Reluctant Learners (an overview):

When your child doesn’t want to complete his/her schoolwork, try one or more of these tips:


  • Switch up WHERE your child is working. Move from a desk to the dining room table (or vice versa). Allow your child to work on the couch or on the floor. Go outside and sit on a blanket in the grass.
  • Use a flexible schedule or routine. Children like consistency, but they need novelty more. If your child works better in the afternoon than the morning, switch up the day a little bit.
  • Give your child the freedom to choose the order of his/her work. We use a weekly checklist so the kids know how many lessons for each subject they are responsible. It doesn’t matter to me if they skip something one day to double-up another day — so long as it all gets done by the end of the week.
  • Consider whether your child needs frequent breaks or prefers to get it done in one long chunk.
  • Some children do better completing their least-favorite subjects first, when their brains feel fresh and sharp. Other children need the momentum of getting their favorite (or easier) subjects done at the beginning so they’re “primed” for the harder things. (It can vary from child to child and day to day.)

What are your best tips for motivating reluctant learners?

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Motivating Reluctant Learners

Motivating Reluctant Learners