How To Keep Your Homeschool Student Motivated To Do Their Work!


I’m a part of many homeschool groups on Facebook. I’d be rich if I could bank on the fact that at least ONE parent complains about the fact that their students are not motivated to do their school work DAILY. It’s a constant struggle! I’ve been there many times in the past too. I’m willing to bank money that I’ll be deep in those trenches again many times over between now and the time all of my kids are graduated from high school. However, here’s the kicker, I know how to pull my kids out of these ruts.

The Rut Pit

When my kids are lacking the motivation to do their school work, I classify it as The Rut Pit. We’ve ALL been there. We just don’t have any desire to do the work right now. We’d rather take our chances and go play or even work on something else altogether.

If you don’t admit to being there at least sometimes then you’re far more focused orientated than I’ll ever be! My hat goes off to you. I believe I can safely speak for many other people when I say that more people know what it’s like to lack motivation than the other way around.

The Rut Pit is a hard place to pull ourselves out of unless we are properly motivated!

How To Keep Your Homeschool Student Motivated To Do Their Work!

How do we pull our kids out of it?

This seems to be the million-dollar question across the web within many homeschooling groups. The answer is simple, STOP PAYING your kids to be lazy.

My guess is you’re thinking, “I don’t pay my kids any money to do school work you, moron.”

My answer is, “Ahh, but you do. You “pay” them with TVs, video-game time, and other activities.”

I see it all the time. Rather than deal with the drama of getting a child to do their work, you consent to them getting a break. You justify it by saying they worked hard for the last hour. I’ll give them an hour to play a game or watch a show. “After all, isn’t it one of the benefits of homeschooling to be flexible?”

I’ve fought the long hard fight to get my kids to do their work FIRST before they play. I’ll continue to do it until they graduate and move out of our home.

No Pay Without Work Concept

Do you think your kids are going to be able to obtain a job in society making enough money to live off of without them putting forth some kind of work? I’m betting the answer is going to be NO! So why would you allow them to brush off their “job of learning” to go play? In our state, our kids are required to put in a solid 25 hours a week learning. That to me is chunk chain in the grand scheme of how many hours we’re given a week to be productive citizens.

My kids prefer to work two ten hour days and one-half day each week on their school work. They dive into their work with a vengeance so that they can have extra days off in a row. Some weeks they have to work longer hours because I won’t “release” them of their shifts unless they can conquer teaching me how they did whatever it is they are working on. They have to be able to explain to me or anyone else what they have learned. If they can’t master that for the day, then they don’t get “paid.”

How We Manage Currency

We LITERALLY lock up their controllers to their TVs and video game controllers. I (THE MOTHER AND TEACHER) holds the key. Once they have finished their chores AND their school work successfully, they can have them free and clear until 8PM. You can bet my kids hustle to get their chores done first so that they are the first one I work with to get their lessons done. My oldest has begged to work independently for LONG stretches at a time to get his stuff quicker.

It May NOT Work for You

Sadly, you may not have a child who is motivated by gaining rights to their stuff. What then? The answer may be they need a change in venue. They may also need a change in curriculum. Trust me when I say trying to use the wrong curriculum on your child is a sure fire way to kill their desire to want to learn anything. Find out how your child learns best! Use that method to teach them!

Sometimes a child will shut down because they lack the self-confidence to try. I dealt with that for the past two years and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what happened to cause my once eager learner to not have a care in the world. Then it dawned on me that ONE teacher made him feel lower than dirt by downgrading his speed of reading. Mind you he had been diving into learning how to read with as much gusto as a person could give since he was two years old and at the time that teacher made that comment he was 8. Her comment was the straw that broke his poor heart. Yet, I didn’t catch that detail until he got reenrolled in the school where the teacher worked.

Once I got his confidence back up, he’s been my little beaver chopping away at all of his lessons as fast as I give them to him. He’s making his beaver nests of knowledge in his head all over again with great pride and dedication.

There REALLY Isn’t a Magic Answer

For as long as this post is there truly isn’t a magic answer to getting your child motivated that I or anyone else can share with you. Your child is UNIQUE! Quite honestly, YOU know their trigger buttons. You just have to be willing to hit them with everything you have in you. Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart. Then again, neither is parenting PERIOD! Homeschooling to me is nothing more than parenting and teaching my child everything I know in order for them to be an asset to this crazy world we live in. I want to know that when they turn 18 and step out into this world on their own that they can handle whatever is thrown at them. They will be educated not only through textbook smarts but the ability to live their lives fully.

The biggest question is will they use what I’ve installed in them the right way when they are given that freedom. My hope is that every day I’m giving them all they need to make wise educated decisions.

Let’s Chat:

What would you add to help a parent to motivate their homeschool child to do their work? 


  1. We’ve played racing games to get the children to complete their work, especially math. I set the buzzer for 5 minutes and set a small number of problems. Can the kids beat the clock? It adds a touch of excitement to math and inspires them to stay on task.

    Although I also ‘pay’ my kids to complete their schoolwork. 30 or 45 minutes of computer time comes AFTER they’ve finished the day’s work. It inspires them to diligently work so they can earn their screen time. 🙂
    Sara recently posted…A Weekly Schedule is Vital for a Well-Run HomeschoolMy Profile

    • That’s a great way to keep your kids motivated to do their homeschool work. I love to play Math games with the kids too.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon.

  2. I love this post! You are right, homeschooling is not for the faint of heart! Both of my kids are now homeschool graduates. One is a college graduate, and the other is a senior in college. My daughter would often beg to read longer (sometimes to avoid other school work!), and I almost always let her. She got an almost perfect score on the reading part of her ACT! But TV or video games weren’t an option to escape school work. Great ideas here! #HomeMattersParty

    • That’s great to hear that she got excellent scores on her ACT. I’m glad you liked these ideas as a homeschool veteran.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon.

  3. Although we don’t homeschool, I can relate to your question when it comes to keeping kids motivated to do homework. I don’t have any 100% effective answer, but I always try to let my kids take a break when they are frustrated or just not in the mood to do their homework. They are always much more willing to come back and do homework after they have had an hour of active playtime. #HomeMattersParty
    Nicole recently posted…Home Matters Linky Party #107My Profile

    • There are times when that method is definitely worth using. I’ve used it several times too. Kids give many clues that they are just full of energy and can’t focus.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon.

  4. To get my five year old daughter to clean her bedroom we tell her no tv until it gets finished. That normally motivates her enough to clean it.

    At school the highest daily behavior score they can get is pink. My daughter’s favorite color is pink so this works out perfectly. If she gets five pink days in a row she gets a bag of jellybeans. She has only gotten this one time this school year so far.

  5. I can understand the struggle! Rory also was homeschooled and we struggled to get her to focus! Sometimes her teacher walked down to the neighborhood park with her for a change of venue when reading a chapter and it helped break up the lesson enough to work! Thanks for sharing!
    Lorelai recently posted…Make Your Charge Hub More ProductiveMy Profile

  6. Always good to get a fresh perspective. Personally, I believe it’s truly best to instill a good work ethic at a young age and continue to foster that throughout the years 🙂 #HomeMattersParty

    • I am striving to encourage them to have solid work ethics. Unfortunately, they leave me little choice but to take things away to ensure they produce quality work.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon.

  7. Good for you! I love how you found their “buttons”! Moms really do know how to find them, don’t we. Thanks so much for linking up at Homeschool Memos this week! I look forward to reading more from your super blog 🙂
    Lisa Ehrman recently posted…Homeschool Memos Linky Party #4My Profile

    • It’s so hard to stick with pushing those buttons at times. There are so many times I want to cave.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon. Thank you for hosting a Homeschool Linky Party.

  8. […] My kids also love to do long days for their homeschooling lessons. As a result, we are usually done with their school work by Wednesday evening PROVIDED we don’t have interruptions in our homeschool routines. My boys love to work 10 hour days and then one 5-hour day that way they are done within 3 days with their school work for the week. This provides them with four days a week to do whatever they see fit. (*I installed this concept in their heads from the time they were very little because I HAD to in order to ensure everything I needed to get done was able to be done.) This method has also helped with keeping them motivated to do their school work too. […]


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