How do I motivate my child when he/she has no interest in doing school work?

Some clarifying questions here would be helpful. Were your kids in school and now you are beginning homeschool? In that case, some of the lack of motivation could simply be due to things being new and different. In fact, you may need to give your kids a break and have some “de-schooling” time. They need to come to understand that learning happens in many environments and in many ways, so not being in a desk in a familiar classroom is okay. They may also feel like “home” equals “rest” and so doing school work there feels unusual. Take some time to set goals and expectations with your children about what school at home could look like. What do they feel they need to learn well? What made learning difficult in a classroom setting? At home, we are free to work in a quiet bedroom or at a busy dining room table. We can spend time learning outside. We can shift our day to work in the morning or afternoon or evening depending on when the child is most alert and able to focus. By spending some time discussing the why behind their lack of motivation, your child will likely be able to collaborate with you on building a very motivating and efficient learning environment. This is all part of the fun of homeschool!

If you have always homeschooled and are suddenly finding your child is resisting the work, take some time to see if anything has changed that they wish was the same, or if something could change that they wish was different. Do they really hate the particular math curriculum you are using? Are they more alert in the afternoon than in the morning? Did you move the school room to the basement but they prefer the bright living room? Did content suddenly get more difficult and they wish school felt fun again? Is it time to add more field trips or extra-curricular activities? Or are there too many field trips and the kids are exhausted and stressed when it comes to desk work? As in the previous paragraph, spend some time setting goals and discussing barriers to motivation with your child.

Also, it could be a good year to slow down on the book work and focus instead on building healthy family relationships. Children work hard and learn well when they feel safe, healthy, loved, and supported. Find out what emotional needs your child may have either coming out of a stressful school experience or a rocky homelife environment. Taking time to focus on healing relationships with mom and dad will absolutely pay off in learning success down the road.

Ultimately, the school work just needs to get done, just like parents have to go to work and someone must eventually clean the bathroom. School lessons also need to get completed and there is a good lesson there in learning diligence. But we ought to strive to make homeschooling as enjoyable as possible, so why not work with your child to find compromises you can both live with that make jumping back into school a desirable part of the day.