We know that distance learning from home has been hard on kids and their families. Finding the joy in school and keeping engaged can be really hard for students. So we asked some experts - teachers and students - how they motivate, and stay motivated, to learn!
Ms Horn, a Middle School teacher and parent to a 1st and 4th grader learning from home, suggests giving students multiple ways to do their work (video, writing, drawing, etc.). Hopefully their teachers are already allowing this, but if not, she stresses communicating with your child’s teacher and working with them to create workarounds that play to your student’s strengths.
This makes sense to me... a kid may not be motivated to write a paper, but if they could do a podcast instead, that might be the push they need!
One thing that has worked well for Ms. Horn with her own kids is using speech-to-text for writing assignments, since writing is the most challenging for her children. Her 4th grader uses it to get her thoughts out. Her first grader needs to physically write since he is still learning that skill, but using speech-to-text to get the letters removes the worry of spelling and lets him "do it himself!" Which is also very important to many students.
With how little choice and control is available right now, Ms. Horn’s best advice is to “try to find ways for [students] to have as much choice as possible while completing [their] school work.”
Third graders from James Johns Elementary shared their expert advice on staying motivated. They mentioned that they like having fun breaks between assignments, and a consistent "reward" like 10 minutes of games/videos, drawing, stuffie time, or a virtual friend meet-up. Interestingly, every other suggestion they gave had to do with help scheduling or understanding when to do what. They suggest having a schedule posted, something that they can easily see while in school. They also enjoy having a schedule they can check off when something is done and/or having a schedule with must do (blue), should do (orange), or choice (green). I think we can all agree that whatever help with structure and organization we get right now, relieves stress and helps us be more productive and engaged. Thank you to Library Teacher Ms. Rolf for interviewing these local experts for us!
And here are some additional resources to help:
- 6 Tips for Keeping Kids Motivated for Online Learning
- How to motivate students who are distance learning during COVID
- 8 Tips to Help Your Child Focus and Stay Engaged During Distance Learning
- How Can I Keep My Kids Motivated and On-Task While They’re Distance Learning?
This article was written for our Family Newsletter, brought to you by Home Learning Support and available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.