Young teenagers can be difficult to motivate, whether they are home schooled or not! This article looks at the specific struggles of teaching pre-teens and teenagers, including focusing on how to motivate and retain their interests, and curricula options.
Choosing a Curriculum Between 11-16
Many home schooling parents decide not to use a specific curriculum during primary school age education, but equally as the child grows older, many opt to find one to follow during middle school learning to prepare for qualifications like GCSEs. In America, some states insist on home schooling parents using a curriculum. In the UK, this is not the case, but there are some curricula available for sale, most of which follow the National Curriculum. Home schooling parents can choose between following one curriculum, following no curriculum, or picking and choosing between the options from various text books by following a child’s specific interests.
If you do want to find a curriculum for your middle-school aged child, research the options at your local library, educational book shop or online. With children aged ten or eleven at the start of the middle school curriculum, it’s a good idea to discuss with him or her the course options. Ask the book supplier for samples before ordering a large batch, or look through those that a fellow home schooling family might be using.
Take into consideration your child’s learning style – a child who learns best through drawing, for example, might prefer a graphic-based textbook and curriculum to one with dense writing. Check out second hand book shops, online and in high streets, for good deals on books. Some companies which provide curricula include InterHigh, for children between 11 and 16, which provides about three hours a day of online tuition, and ACE, an American study course which is available with some parts adapted for a European education.
Motivation Tips for Children Aged 11-16
Organise the teaching area so that lots of learning options are easily available, such as inspiring books and magazines, arts supplies, science equipment like thermometers and magnets, writing and drawing supplies, a telescope, globe, maps, etc. Make frequent trips to the library to ensure there are always new books around.
Organise the learning schedule around your child’s interests and hobbies, such as learning science using insects on a woodland walk, or discovering measurements and fractions while baking a cake. Occasional treats can be useful as a motivational aid, but don’t make this a regular practice because the motivation will be temporary, and this hinders the development of a self-motivated learner, which the home schooling education often encourages.
Always be very enthusiastic and encouraging, which will help ensure that the child knows their education is progressing and they are developing. Some home schooling parents like to write a daily schedule or ‘to do’ list on a black board to help ensure a set amount of ‘learning time’ is completed every day, but it’s important to also know when to allow playtime: when the child’s interest and energy is wilting, learning will not be efficient.