Homeschooling – Three Ways to Motivate Learning

Oma H. Barnett

Use Travel to Motivate Learning

During the summer and other holiday times, families frequently travel. Homeschooling families have the flexibility to travel at other times. As well, in preparation for these trips, encourage your children to discover information about the place of destination and other places along the way. “Research” can continue during the trip by stopping at tourist shops and other places. Upon return the child can write a report in the form of a paper, design an exhibit, a make scrapbook/photo album or compile a notebook. Some students have electronic ways to report on their travel – i.e. blogs, and power point presentations. At one time I had a student in one of my home school classes that spent some time in Louisiana during the fall. He learned much about the state and history of that area. He did a report for the class when he returned. If you belong to a travel club, you can get help in planning your itinerary. Depending on the age of the child you may also want to consider using the library or Internet to explore points of interest. Holidays and travel are just examples of how LIFE is our classroom and curricula. Happy Homeschooling!

Use Holidays to Motivate Learning

The holiday that instigated this tip was October 31. Research on the Internet can provide cultural notes explaining the origin of Halloween and Day of the Dead (Los Dias de los Muertos in Mexico) on November 1. They take us back to the Celtic tradition that had the dead returning to earth to wander around the land of the living. The Celtic towns in old England would light bonfires and feasts to honor the dead. All Hallows Eve or All Hallos Day became Halloween as celebrated today. In Mexico, death is seen as the beginning of life rather than the end. They honor the dead on the Day of the Dead or All Saints’ Day on November 1. Many are unaware that October 31 is Reformation Day. On this day in 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses (or statements) on the castle church door in Wittenberg, Germany. These statements, meant as a catalyst to bring about reforms within the Church of Rome, began discussions that ultimately led to the rise of Protestantism. Reformation themes are Scripture Alone, Grace Alone and Faith Alone. What a contrast of ideas! Researching the holidays can motivate students at a time when children have a hard time focusing on learning. As you discuss different ideas about these holidays, Christian parents can guide your child in determining which and to what extent these ideas are Scriptural.

Use Teachable Moments to Motivate Learning

Those of you who were in Washington State on February 28, 2001 experienced some very unsettling teachable moments. Our 6.8 Earthquake shook long and hard. Talking about why we fared so well for such a strong quake can be a science lesson and a Bible lesson. You can talk about how to respond in different kinds of emergencies. You can talk about why spaces are left in sidewalks and bridges. Children can learn to help the needy. Children can learn to pray for those affected by disasters. How we react can be the best lesson of all: Do we trust our Sovereign God to take care of us or not? One student asked me to pray that an earthquake would never happen again. I could not promise to do that, but I did remind her that God protected us. He does whether we are in historic Seattle buildings, the State Capitol Building in Olympia or in homes that suffered no damage. Hebrews 13:5 reminds of His promise, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” He will enable us in what ever the circumstance of life. (I Corinthians 10:13). We have teachable moments everyday; some are more memorable than others are.

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