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How to Motivate Your K-12 Student to Learn

  • 18th March 2019
  • Lauren Bachelder

Motivating a grumpy eight-year-old or a sassy high-schooler to work on homework and excel in school can be a daunting task! Here are some tools that you can use to encourage your K-12 student to take ownership of his or her own education!

  1. Help your kiddo understand why school matters!
    Most American kids are unlikely to wake up on school days thinking, “WOW, I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to receive an education today!” As adults with a broader understanding of the world, we know how much of a privilege and blessing education truly is, and the more you can plant this seed in your little one’s mind, the better!
    Point to successful siblings, friends, or other role models that your child looks up to, and highlight the part that education and hard work played in these people’s success! Help your child identify his or her dreams and goals, and explain how school is an important part of the process! Show your daughters that education helps them become strong women, and teach your sons that knowledge and wisdom are awesome!
  2. Focus on the positive!
    Foster open communication with your child about school by allowing him or her to voice concerns and frustrations. Listen carefully, give receptive feedback, and then encourage your child to identify what he or she actually likes about school. Then focus on the subjects, sports, clubs, or friends that excite your child, and bring up these topics when your student complains about school! If your kiddo can’t identify anything that he or she likes about school, consider finding a new sport, club, or program that might incite some positivity!
  3. Create spaces for learning at home!
    No matter how young your children may be, you can create a positive learning atmosphere by reading to them daily, talking to them about the importance of learning, and setting a good example by spending planned time to read and learn yourself. According to Dr. John S. Hutton at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, “Parents are a child’s first and most important teachers, [and] the quality of cognitive stimulation in the home … strongly influences achievement!”
    As your children grow older, put them in the driver’s seat by encouraging them to read books to you aloud! Create fun “reading nooks,” and set aside a certain time each day (or a few times a week) for “reading quiet time.” Help your older kiddos find books that align with their interests, and replace screen time with these entertaining Netflix documentaries for the whole family!
  4. Cater to your child’s learning style!
    Teachers talk about “learning style” all the time, but your child’s strengths should impact how you help your children study at home too! In just five minutes, you can identify your child’s learning style with this quiz, and then start using the tips below!

    • For visual learners: Use visual reinforcements like flashcards, pick books with plenty of pictures for young learners, let your child read along if you read to him or her, don’t hesitate to look up videos to help teach your child concepts, etc.
    • For auditory learners: Use digital books that can read aloud to your student as he or she follows along with the highlighted words, explain concepts by talking through them, read flashcards or spelling words aloud, etc.
    • For kinesthetic learners: Have your child write his or her own flashcards, encourage your student to draw pictures to help learn concepts, use demonstrations whenever possible, consider giving your student a fidget toy to use while studying, etc.
  5. Find a young tutor to act as a role model!
    For help from “super cool college students” to motivate your stubborn kiddo, find an Apollo Tutor! Our tutors are experts in their subject areas, with average GPAs of 3.7 and abov!. What better way to help show your child how awesome it is to work hard?

We hope you feel like you now have a few more tools to light a fire in your children for education! For help with everything from general motivation and study skills to exam preparation, find an Apollo Tutor at www.apollotutors.org