Homeschooling: How to motivate your child to learn

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many parents in Germany are suddenly responsible for holding homeschooling for their children. In this article we explain how you can motivate and support your children.

Homeschooling: why it matters

First, you should realize that homeschooling will be a lot harder if your child doesn’t understand why it’s important and necessary. It is therefore advisable to have an open conversation with your child by first describing the current situation surrounding the corona virus in an age-appropriate manner and explaining why school is suddenly taking place at home and your child is no longer allowed to meet friends. Also, give your child the space to ask any of his or her questions. 

You should then convey to your child that this is not about vacation, but that education must continue. Here, too, it is important that you teach your child, in an age-appropriate way, how important a good education is. You can do this by talking about the future opportunities and possibilities that this opens up, or by incorporating what you have learned into everyday life so that your children see that it actually helps you – for example with counting sheep or writing a list. 

But be careful not to negatively associate the topic. This usually has the opposite effect. Learning should always be fun, even at home. 

Home schooling with discipline

Unlike at school, there is usually no fixed timetable at home. This can be of great help. If your child has a fixed structure, he or she may find it easier to focus for this time – they know it’s school time. Consider creating a home timetable with your child. This can look similar to the one at school. Here you enter when it is time for homework and when it is time to play. In the event that the school holds lessons online, the times can also be entered here every week so that your child does not miss the lessons. 

For older children, a schedule can be especially helpful. For example, studying for a high school exam can be overwhelming because there is a mountain of material to study. Anyone who creates a plan together with their teenager by dividing the big task into small parts – for example chapters in a book that have to be read in full by a certain date – creates that a seemingly insurmountable task becomes many small ones that are easy are to be managed. Your child can probably motivate themselves much better for these. 

In addition, reducing the distraction options can also be helpful. Depending on how old your child is, you can, for example, consider whether you should take the cell phone, tablet or game console with you during “school time”. 

support for your child

When homeschooling, parents inevitably assume even greater responsibility for their child’s continued, purposeful learning. Since teachers often do not have the opportunity to check the homework or the progress of your child, you should – depending on the age – take on this task. At the end of the day, let them show you what your child has been doing. 

But it is also important that you have an open ear for problems and difficulties. Don’t expect too much discipline in an unfamiliar situation, and reinforce your child that doing his or her best is enough. Also offer to help with assignments – this is usually still possible, especially with younger children. Also, doing homework together can actually be a nice activity if you can make it fun and educational instead of being demanding and punishing. 

The same applies to online lessons: In the beginning it is certainly complicated and unfamiliar. Help your child master the technical aspects by being willing to solve problems. At the same time, you can check that your child is actually taking part in the lessons. 

If you realize that you cannot help your child in a situation, you should encourage your child to ask the teacher for help or do this yourself. Online tutoring is also plentiful these days. You should do this even if the teacher doesn’t seem to take your child’s education seriously or doesn’t provide the necessary materials. If there is still no change, you can also design a rudimentary lesson yourself by looking at the school books and trying to work through them together with your child. And fun, educational activities are also worthwhile: How about a visit to a virtual museum, for example, where your child can learn about the story?

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