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How to motivate your 1st grader

Posted by on Oct. 8, 2015 at 9:41 AM
  • 8 Replies
My son is in the First Grade and this is our first year homeschooling... I am working on setting a routine.. Getting a flow going and motivating him.. Any ideas?
by on Oct. 8, 2015 at 9:41 AM
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by on Oct. 8, 2015 at 10:07 AM

I am not a homeschooling mom, but have two friends that are.  You are right about a routine.  It has to be totally structured just as much as the school.  You are brave to homeschool.  It's not an easy job.  I know I would not be up to it.

by Silver Member on Oct. 8, 2015 at 12:54 PM

It doesn't HAVE to be structured at all...what ever ends up working for you and the kids is what is important....

With my little guy - this is his 1st grade year - I have eveyrthing written out that I want to do each day for a week at a time. I don't care what order we do anything in, I let him choose. We don't spend a specific amount of time on anything. If things get done quickly - great!, if not...we take our time. We have jumped down many rabbit holes and gotten off track, and then wrapped up the lesson by going over what we started with, and quickly finishing up the lesson lol. If there are projects for a certain subject, like science or history, I ask him to save those for last so we can spend more time on those and still get things like math and writing and reading accomplished for the day.

Right now, I'm not even getting them up early, just whenever they get up...however, with tech week at the theater looming over our heads, I'm going to have to start getting my two up earlier...and that is when we will go into a little bit more of a structured routine of getting up no later than 7, eating breakfast and starting school no later than 9. That way my little guy will be done with school by lunch time, and I can finish up with my older one, and get to doing theater things before actually going to the theater.  

by Silver Member on Oct. 8, 2015 at 12:59 PM
Structure is good if that is what works for your family, but it doesn't work for all families. First grade is still a fun year, lots of hands on activities and learning through play, IMO.
by Silver Member on Oct. 8, 2015 at 1:12 PM
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Homeschooling does not have to look like public school. If that model worked so well, homeschooling wouldn't be necessary. In fact, I'd suggest you look at Finland's education system, then read Raymond Moore's book, Better Late Than Early. There is a lot research that suggests formal education isn't necessary till age 8-9. First graders can learn so much, and learn more naturally, with an informal, play based approach. You shouldn't ever have to motivate a first grader to learn. Learning g comes so naturally to little kids. It's when we sit them down at a desk for hours with worksheets that they start to think learning isn't fun.

Start the day off with a nature walk and a spiral notebook. Draw what you find, collect rocks, create a lapbook about your finds. Play "store" with pretend money, invent stories, write notes to grandma, find out what he's interested in and build a unit study around it.
by Member on Oct. 8, 2015 at 2:10 PM
We have a weekly rhythm, which gives ours (4 and 5) a sense of familiarity and anticipation each day. We do a circle each morning integrating our weekly song, story and lessons and then expand on those with an activity, which they really look forward to.

They know that Mondays are our painting days, on Tuesdays we model with beeswax, Wednesdays we bake, Thursdays we do a craft, and Fridays are our "wild" days in nature or field trips. They really enjoy that. :)

Edit: when my mom homeschooled me for a year I remember discussing the plans for the week ahead with her,and that would build my excitement. And she'd take what I had an interest in and make that a part of my lessons. For example, when I went through my comic books phase she'd have me write compositions and short stories about my favorite characters. ;)
by Group Admin on Oct. 8, 2015 at 2:56 PM
I have no schedule and my 6 year old who is in first does really well and school takes us about 2 hours a day.

As for motivation we have classes he enjoys, games he likes to play and places he likes to go each week. If he is not done with the work I need done by that day and if he has chosen not to then I will not let him attend. And he knows it so he does the work and usually is ahead.
by Bronze Member on Oct. 8, 2015 at 3:28 PM

My son loves school and often asks to do school on weekend days if he's excited about what we are doing. I theme teach, each week is a different theme(occasionally we do a 2 week theme but those are rare because his enthusiasm wanes). I have a book, a phonics or grammar activity and at least 1 or 2 math activities each day but he gets to pick what order we do the work. Games or work trays are set up for the whole week usually 1 math and 1 literacy (although this week it is a 2 for 1 working on number words 0-10!). He also has a phonics reader for guided reading he has to read to me in addition to whatever book I am reading to him(he reads the same book for the week and once he's mastered that one we move on to the next in the collection). We do science and/or social studies several times a week but it varies depending on our theme. School takes a maximum of about 2 hours for the academic stuff plus calendar/weather, usually it is an hour and a half. Some days we start by 8:30 other days we don't start until mid-afternoon.

by Kim on Oct. 8, 2015 at 4:38 PM
I would figure out what works well for your family - some families benefit from a set routine each day/week, some do not, some school in the morning...while others school in the afternoon instead. It's really what works for you.

For me, I have a 2 year old & a 4 year old so he's doing prek this year. I do a circle time flowed by an activity a few times a week.....& then do other activities when it works for us (like science). When we do kinder, we will likely do academic work (about 30-45 minutes) in the morning then leave the rest of the day for playing/exploring.
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