It’s not always easy keeping the forward momentum when you’re completing tasks that seem useless. When are you going to pull from Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography as a resource? How often are you faced with needing to graph a parabola? Are you afraid of getting demoted at your job because you can’t pick out the direct object in a sentence? How do you keep teens motivated to push through the seemingly unnecessary to complete the necessary high school graduation requirements?
While I want Care Bear’s schooling to be as useful as possible, there are certain hoops we have to jump through in order to consider her a high school graduate. Also, I’ve learned that even though I didn’t care for certain things in high school, I see the value of them now that I’m an adult. Therefore, there are a few more hoops to jump through because Mom said so.
How do I keep my teen motivated?
Credit by exam is a BIG motivator in our house. I keep telling Care Bear that if she does well with her high school work, enough to pass a college level test, she will only have to complete that class once, in sha Allah, instead of having to take it again in college to complete her general education requirements. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Still, even when there is an exam to look towards in the hopes of passing and being done with the drudgery forever, that’s a long ways away! In comes the magical timer. What is it that makes the timer so effective? Really, you are just committing 25 minutes (or whatever interval you choose. I would say don’t choose anything higher than 25 minutes to start) to the task. After that, you can take a break, go for a walk, get a snack, whatever. When you know you are on a limited amount of time, it’s like pushing yourself to the same type of focus as if you are facing a deadline. Care Bear does this when she is reading for Literature, her least favorite thing to do, in order to stop herself from just gazing around the room every other sentence. I do it when I’m completing any task I dislike, like grading papers, and it works!
I bribe Care Bear with days off as well. This year, we have chosen to put dates on all her lesson plans to keep us accountable. We know how much work should be completed before winter break, so if she’s done with that work early, she gets more days off. As long as all the assignments are done to an acceptable level, I can’t complain.
Last, but not least, are school days with friends. Care Bear’s very close friend also homeschools, and they are allowed mid-week sleepovers when they are on top of their work. Who doesn’t like doing school with a friend? It’s great for mom, too, because half the time they’ll make sure their work is done at night so they can have all the following day to hang out. This is a big plus for her as she absolutely loves sleepovers, and most of her friends that attend a brick and mortar school have very little availability during the school year.
My teen might not always see the value of her school work, and sometimes may downright whine about it, but to keep all parties happy and to make sure she graduates from high school, she has to do it. I just tried to find ways to keep teens motivated along the way.
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