The holidays are over, it’s cold outside, and there’s still a LOT of school work to do! It’s this time of year that I find my students in our Learning Center lose some of their motivation. Maybe your students are in the doldrums too?
The first quarter everything is new and exciting and the students take off with zeal! The second quarter includes Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks which are highlights keeping students looking ahead to something fun. But once that is all in the rear-view mirror and looking ahead all they see is cold and snow, it’s hard to get moving on the PACE work each day.
Here are a few things I find helpful in our schooling to get over the winter blues:
1. Step back and get the big picture
Mid-January is also the mid-point in the school year for us. I like to help students see how close they are to being at the “peak” of the mountain. It’s all down-hill from here! Since there are twelve PACES per subject per year, sit down with your student and see how close they truly are to the midyear point of having six done. That helps them realize they’ve really accomplished something. If they are behind, then mid-year is a good time to catch that and come up with a plan moving forward.
2. Realize that the Third Quarter is the hardest
It’s the same every year, and with all my students. The third quarter is a slump for motivation. So don’t take it personally and feel your teen’s lack of motivation is unusual. Also, realize that once you get into the fourth quarter those last few weeks fly by quickly and easily.
3. Create a Distraction
I try to have something special to occupy the teens’ focus for the third quarter. Many ACE schools participate in regional and national competitions in art, music, speech, etc. Students begin choosing their entries and working on the projects during this quarter. Some years we have a spring drama and so January through March is busy with learning lines and practicing scenes. One year we did a road-trip to the Creation Museum in Kentucky.
4. Plan a Big End of Quarter Honor Roll Trip
Most years I plan our biggest, most exciting honor roll trip for the end of the third quarter. Students have to be “on track” (in other words, have 9 of their 12 PACES done, and have an overall average of 88% and higher). Even in a homeschool setting parents could plan a special activity or trip and set a standard to be met first. Boys especially benefit from some type of competition. Make up a special chart for the quarter and celebrate the weekly progress.
5. Inspect progress carefully
There is a danger this time of year that students just want to “get ‘er done” and give in to the temptation to not read carefully, not score accurately, and not study adequately. Have you heard that saying, “Students don’t do what you expect – only what you INSPECT!” There’s a lot of truth to that! So, if you as supervisor or parent have not been checking goals, check-up scores, and scoring procedures lately, it is important to reinforce the rules. I used to have a monitor who insisted we have “boot camp” as soon as we come back from Christmas break and go over all the rules and expectations again and follow through on consequences.
Be encouraged and challenged! Mid-January *is* the middle of the September through May school year. We are half-way to the end of this school year!
Do you have any other suggestions that you use to get through the Winter Blues? Put them in the comments below and share with us all!
Other articles you might enjoy
- Time management and planning tools to help students complete their PACES
- Answering the question, “Why do I have to learn this?”
- Reasons students like ACE
- 7 Rules to follow to use PACEs effectively
- Students don’t do what you expect — only what you inspect
- Positive motivation ideas for your school or homeschool