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Motivating Homeschoolers is Hard

20th May 2024

Julie Walter | FamilyYields.com

If you are frazzled by your homeschooler’s resistance to doing their work, this post may help. 

Trying to teach someone who just doesn’t want to learn drives me crazy!

Here’s how I went from pulling my hair out, to having homeschoolers who are excelling with their work – without all the tantrums and hassles.  

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Is this you? I know how frustrating it is when you want to teach your child, but they just won’t show up for the work. 

I’m thinking: 

     -Why is this so difficult for you? 

     -Why can’t you just get this over with? 

     -How did you get so spoiled? 

     -What am I doing wrong?

     -Are you going to turn out okay?

     -Should I even be homeschooling you?

Homeschooling is hard. It is a 24/7 job that doesn’t pay very well. (LOL!)  And it’s even worse when you show up to the gig feeling like a failure because your kids are just not working with you.

I used to feel like I was a martyr for my children’s education. Alone. Unappreciated. Exhausted.

As a homeschooling parent, you feel responsible for your child’s whole future. You have fear about their success in life. You may worry about whether you made the right choice to homeschool in the first place!

It can feel so desperate in the moment you’re trying to get your homeschooler to do something…anything! 

Things can get really tense.

Surely a stand-off with a six-year-old shouldn’t be as stressful as a hostage negotiation? 

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I had so many moments where I felt like nothing was working and I didn’t know what to do.

Getting my kids to do anything was hard enough, let alone inspiring them to actually enjoy themselves while doing the work!

For 16 years, I was a classroom teacher, and it never felt as hard as it’s felt with my own kids. Traditional schools create an atmosphere for motivation. Teachers can take away recess or special activities, if students don’t smarten up and get their work done. Or they can be sent to the principal’s office if they are being really disruptive.

Homeschooling is different, and doesn’t lend itself well to these kinds of punishments. When learning at home, kids need to feel safe and secure with us, since we’re not just their teachers, we’re their parents too. 

All you want is to enjoy your children, and have them enjoy the learning environment you’re trying to create for them. 

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You might have noticed (I know I have) how social media posts always show these perfect homeschool rooms with beautifully curated learning materials. In matching colors, no less! I don’t know about you, but that’s not what my homeschool room looks like! And that’s just one piece of the onslaught of unrealistic expectations about what you ‘should’ be doing as a homeschooling teacher.

There are plenty of people out there telling you what NOT to do, but not very many that are telling you what TO do.

When I started out, I wanted a bunch of solid ideas based on research and experience.  I wanted to see what would work for me and my family. Instead, all we get are these constant messages of ‘never good enough’ – whether it’s from friends, family, the internet, or (for me, the most common) myself.

It doesn’t usually even feel safe to talk about how your child is doing with their homeschooling.

What if they don’t measure up to someone else’s expectations? What does that say about me as a Mom? (or a Dad – shout out to the homeschooling Dads out there too). 

From my career as a teacher, plus years of research and experience with literally hundreds of students, I’ve learned that motivation is essential to student success. So how do you do it? 

So, how do you motivate your homeschooler?

You are not alone.  Even us adults struggle with motivation! This is our chance to teach our children the mindset they need to succeed in life.  

It is hard to show up for things you find difficult or just plain don’t want to do, but sometimes you have to do it anyway.

After loads of research, and trying everything, including adapting classroom management techniques from my time as a teacher, I’ve put together the Motivating Your Homeschooler Toolkit. It’s absolutely loaded with practical solutions to ongoing motivation problems. 

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In the Toolkit, I focus on five tools that will help you navigate your child’s lack of motivation:

  1. Checklists
  2. Creative planning
  3. Balance control
  4. Mindset reset
  5. Adjusting expectations

This toolkit is completely practical, and easy to implement. Pick the tool that seems to best fit your family. Try it using the done-for-you templates and worksheets that you can print and use immediately.

If it works, great! You’ve found a technique that works for your kids! If it doesn’t work this time, try one of the other strategies.

As we know, one size does not fit all, and no tool will work for everyone. With five different techniques, all presented in a detailed but easy to understand and implement right way, there’s going to be multiple ones that function for you and your homeschooler(s). 

Each tool also has a few related activities you can try, and printables to help implement it successfully in your family. The strategies presented are open-ended, and aren’t just useful for your children.  You can implement them for yourself too!

I made this Toolkit because it’s something I wish I’d had years ago.

Something to refer to when I was struggling with motivating my kids. Something that was encouraging, but also with a ‘nuts and bolts’ approach. The last thing we need to do as homeschooling teachers is reinvent the wheel – we have enough to do already!


Invest in your sanity!

Buying the Toolkit is an investment in your sanity! And it’s cheaper than hair replacement (after you’ve ripped yours out in frustration.)

I’ve priced the toolkit at $57, but honestly, based on how much is in it, I was considering $97. 


But the thing is, I really want to get it out to as many people as possible, so right now, if you buy through this page, you’ll get it for just $37. 

That’s a great value for something that will help so much. Just think how it will feel to: 

  • Get clear about what to do when your child is shutting down.  
  • Make feeling connected, and supported part of your homeschooling experience.  
  • Bring confidence and meaning to your role as a homeschooling educator.
Real people speak about their experience:

Thanks Julie!  So much information and so many practical ideas!  When it comes to creative planning I am often intimidated but you encouraged me to select topics I’m excited about and to trust that what is important to me can be what my child learns about as well as what my child is excited about can be the basis for the skills I want my child to learn.  I feel empowered! I’m excited to use the Learning Wins worksheet too.  Everything shared in this kit is meaningful and manageable.  Thank you!” 

– Rachel K.

Julie enabled us to think about why the triggers happened in the first place, and how we could get to the source of the trigger. Having specific strategies to try made me feel productive; and then trying new ones if those didn’t work!

– Tara B.

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