All children at some point don’t want to work hard, especially doing things that are difficult for them. This type of attitude comes in ebb and flow, and we have certainly experienced it plenty in our home(school). Honestly, we adults often suffer from the same thing. We don’t want to learn new things, especially when it’s hard and require work. We prefer things that are fun and don’t require us to put much effort. So, how do we help our children through this?
Whenever a child loses his motivation to work, the first question I always ask myself is if I’m putting undue pressure on this child. Is his assignment beyond his capability at this time? Do I need to slow down the lesson by couple notches? Have I been forceful in making the child do the assignment? Are there external factors that might affect his attitude right now such as lack of sleep, hunger, or illness? If the answers are in the negative and it’s obvious that the problem is with the child’s attitude, then it’s time for a talk.
Character development is very important and we value it as much as we value academic excellence. The primary driving force in our character development is the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 comes to mind:
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
As Christians we are to do all things that honor and give glory to the One who made us. Homeschooling is really another vehicle for helping my children develop character. I try to dig deeper and have both myself and the child examine his own heart. Why is he unmotivated? Why is he lazy? What does his attitude reveal? Why does he quit when the going gets tough? What can we do together to help? I don’t want the child to feel he’s the only one who has to dig himself out of this hole, rather, I want him to know that I’m here to help. I’m his helper, not his enemy. I stress the importance of diligence, hard work, and perseverance because these matter beyond just the school work. As the child becomes a man or woman, these are still important. How will this man or woman react when approaching something difficult? How does his attitude affect him when it comes to working at a job? How will he handle the pressures of life? I strive to give the child a long view of his life. What he does now matters and it carries forth into his future. I want to help prepare him as much as possible.
Homeschooling goes much more smoothly when our children’s attitudes are in the right place. This is one of the “secrets” of having success in homeschooling.