Get your child excited and motivated to learn

Posted on March 06 2013

Being enrolled in an online high school has its advantages. It allows your child to work at his own pace and he can give more time to subjects he is struggling with and enable him to breeze through subjects he is good at. However, like a traditional brick and mortar school, a virtual high school also has its challenges, chief of which is to ensure that your child is motivated and continues to be motivated throughout the course of the online high school program.

Keeping your child motivated during his online classes is one sure way to help him earn his high school diploma online. And if he learns how to motivate himself towards learning or achieving a certain goal, this ability will be key to his success in future endeavors.

As a parent, one of your responsibilities is to create a learning environment that is welcoming and motivating for your child. Of course, the instructional material at The American Academy is designed in such a way that it is motivational. There are also licensed online teachers at The American Academy can be your partners. Working together, you can create a “classroom” that stimulates your child’s thinking and encourages him to achieve and do his best.

Have an understanding of the purpose of the lesson. Ask, “Why should my child learn this?” This will help you give a positive and prompt answer when your child starts to complain about a particularly challenging lesson. Remember that lessons in The American Academy curriculum are designed with a particular purpose. A lesson can serve as a preparation for more complicated subjects. It can open your child’s eyes with a new awareness of the world (i.e. science, history or the arts). It can stimulate your child to ask questions, explore, discover and think critically.

Maintain a positive atmosphere. Your attitude and words will set the tone for the school day. Be sure to remain positive in the midst of complaints. More so, make it clear that whining and complaining are a definite no-no. If your child has an issue with a certain lesson or activity, he should also be able to present alternatives.

Provide structure to your child’s day. A disorganized schedule and classroom will do much to distract your child and hamper his performance. Provide a space where your child can study peacefully and without disruptions. Work with your child to keep his learning space neat and organized. Study the course syllabus and outline the online high school classes for the week. You can also make a calendar of activities and assignments so that your child does not become frustrated by missed deadlines or the necessity to cram just to meet these deadlines.

Have fun with your child. Learning should be a fun activity. The lessons from The American Academy can be linked to specific activities that can inspire discovery and critical thinking. Set up fun experiments or encourage your child to get up and moving for your Physical Education classes.

Provide regular, positive and honest feedback. Your child will know if feedback is not sincere so don’t dole out praise when this is undeserved. Give specific and honest feedback. Also, focus not just on achievement (high test scores or a lesson done quickly), but on effort as well. You can provide feedback on how hard he works on the exercises, how he is able to schedule his day or how he is able to maintain a positive attitude even during a difficult day. There is a danger though, in focusing too much on achievements. When your child often hears the praise, “You are so smart!”, “You are so talented.” May actually foster a fear of failure in your child and as a result prevent him from trying new and more challenging things. In addition, don’t underestimate the power of a hug or a tap in the back to encourage your child when the going gets tough.

Give rewards and incentives. At the onset, discuss expectations and rewards. Be sure to promptly give these rewards when you know that your child has earned them. Rewards don’t have to be complicated. It can also be intrinsic (that feeling of achievement and knowing that you have done a good job).

Allow your child to make mistakes. Also, mistakes are not opportunities for your child to beat himself up for “failure”. Rather, this can be transformed into learning opportunities. If your child does not do well in a certain test, help him find out the possible cause. (i.e. Did you follow instructions? Did you miss anything? Do you need more time to review prior to taking the test?) Criticism should be constructive and focused on your child’s attitude. You can guide your child to keep positive (and even to laugh it off). This way, your child will not fear failure and will learn to explore and experiment more.

Learn your child’s moods and how to address them. Be a student of your child and respond to these accordingly. For instance, if your child indicated boredom or tiredness, encourage him to take a quick brake, eat a snack or just get up and stretch. If your child is apprehensive about a certain project or subject, you can provide guidance (or as an online teacher from The American Academy). You can also break the project into more “chewable” chunks.