Motivation & Homeschooling

Are you worried about maintaining your motivation for the school year ahead? I think I can help with a Principle named  Goldilocks.

Goldilocks Principle

The Goldilocks Principle states that, “humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right.” 1 Here are some simple steps to take advantage of this powerful concept in your homeschool.

  1. Make an honest assessment of where your kids are at. Humans love mastering a skill just beyond their current abilities. In order to set academic tasks just there, you need to know what your students current abilities are. The simplest way to asses is to observe your kids and understand their abilities. A good understanding of ages/ stage will be helpful. The Way They Learn, or Ages and Stages is a good place to start. Get clear about human and academic development, realize there can be wide variances in what is “normal” and get to know your child at a deeper level!
  2. Set your kids tasks right at the edge of their current abilities. Humans, big and small,  love a good challenge. They want to be pushed. But not so much that the task seems unattainable. Your kids are no different. They want tasks that don’t condescend to them by seeming too easy. They also don’t want to be given tasks that seem insurmountable and overwhelming, constantly demanding that they work outside of their comfort zone. They don’t always want “fun.” Sometimes they want to overcome something really tough. Motivate them with charts, stickers, rewards and time spent with you. It’s not bribery. It’s reward for a job well done.
  3. Customize your child’s learning. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can do just that. What will motivate one child will discourage another. By setting tasks for each child, particular to them, you are able to motivate each student.
  4. Don’t neglect the teacher! One of the ways I’ve maintained homeschool motivation over the past 25+ years is to set challenges before me. How can I streamline the laundry cycle, eat healthier on a budget, learn Latin with multiple kids and demands. In other words, don’t settle for status-quo.

`Understanding this powerful principle can change your homeschool for the better! Utilizing it for even one subject- say the most difficult one- can change your homeschool day, bringing motivation to the otherwise discouraged!

I’d love to hear what you think of the Goldilocks Principle! Is motivation something you think much about as you homeschool? How do you keep motivation going and flowing in your life?

1 (https://jamesclear.com/motivation#How%20to%20Stay%20Motivated)

2 https://www.onlineassessmenttool.com/knowledge-center/assessment-knowledge-center/assessment-vs-testing/item10641

Lisa Nehring

Lisa Nehring has been married for over 30 years, has five children, 2 graduate degrees and a black belt in homeschooling. She has homeschooled since 1991 and wrote a Master’s Thesis on Why Parent’s Homeschool, including A History of Education in America. She is motivated by good books, strong coffee and finding God’s purpose. She teaches Literature and Composition, Psychology, Intro to Latin and Writing Club for True North Homeschool Academy.

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