Sunday, July 18, 2010

Motivation and Homeschooling

Keep It Up Sign Card Motivation 2012 Girls on the Run Grand Rapids Montessori February 22, 2012 9 by stevendepolo
Here's a question from one of my readers:
"I'd love to see how you manage homeschooling. For me, also a high school homeschooler, I have lots of work and its sometimes just as hard as going to regular school...."
A big problem I had as a high school homeschooler was being an older girl with a younger brother. I'm good at school and like most of my studies, and Aaron hates school (how many 14 year old boys don't?). Guess who got pressured to study? Guess who was monitored and constantly reminded not to dawdle? It certainly wasn't me! It was easy for  me to slack off. I was still regarded as a great student even if I took a few liberties with how much effort I put into my work. And I did take some liberties. 

I'm ashamed to admit that.

I think that some people have the idea that homeschooling must be easier than public schooling (as suggested by the question above). It's true that it can take a lot less time than traditional schooling and you can work in the comfort of your own home, but the study is definitely not easier! I can sympathize with having a heavy workload and trying to manage my time and effort. 

As I said, sometimes I lacked drive, which is something you've got to have if you're going to be educated at home. You might not have  a teacher, or even a mother, looking over your shoulder making sure that you're doing what you should be, which means you have to step up to the plate and motivate yourself.

It's tough, but that is actually one of the most rewarding aspects of  homeschooling!  It makes education personal. You're not just ingesting textbook language and regurgitating it on a page. It's all about learning for the sake of learning, not because "everybody has to do it." It's a challenge and a benefit.

Shouldn't that be how we always live our lives, no matter whether we're in school, or past school?  If we don't internalize our learning, if we don't take it seriously and motivate ourselves, if we just go with the flow because of everyone else then what have we gained? A mediocre life. To be successful, one must be self-motivated. That's true in life as it is in school. If you're only motivated by outside circumstances then you'll be forever tossed on the waves of chance and fortune. Your influences vary daily and so can your actions. But if you are internally driven, you can accomplish much.

How do I manage homeschooling? Very badly sometimes. But when it comes right down to it, it's about drive. No one made me do well in English, no one made me tear my hair out over the third hour of staring at my algebra book. No one but myself. My family had expectations, I had a reputation, it was something I had to do, but when it comes right down to it we have the power to decide whether we hit it seriously or wimp out and do a half-baked job. 

I decided that I wanted to finish my REA book on US History II in one week. I could read just a few pages a day and accomplish that goal, or I could hit it harder and finish sooner. Now, no one is going to beat me over the head if I take it leisurely and spend a week on something that could be easily done in few days. But what would that say about me? 

Tata for now,


  1. Good post! I start Nursing School on Aug 23rd, but I went ahead and ordered my anatomy and chemistry books so I could start reviewing them. Your writing is very polished, Abby!

  2. Thank you! Glad to know that you're being driven :)


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