There are few things more encouraging to a homeschool parent than to see your child actually interested in what they're learning. I am a strong proponent of scheduling our days and roughly sticking to the schedule throughout the week. Sure, the day to day grind of learning certain topics can be tedious but sticking to the schedule is important so you can cover all the material you need to cover throughout the year. That being said, however, it's also extremely important to be attentive and to recognize your child's interests and curiosity. Throughout the year you will notice certain topics which truly capture their imagination. Even though its important to roughly stick to the schedule it's even more important not to let your child's motivation go to waste. They will learn and retain far more material when they are actively interested in what they're learning. Instead of forcing a rigid schedule, be flexible and accommodative to your child's motivation.

I'll use a few examples to highlight my point. My third grader's routine last year was to start the day quietly reading a book of his choosing. He really loves reading Goosebumps books and typically he reads a chapter or two before jumping into the next scheduled part of his day. I started noticing that as he was getting towards the end of some of the books he would want to read for far longer than usual so he could finish them. As an avid reader myself, I understand the urge to finish a book once you get close to the end. I had to ask myself, is it the act of reading I want him to learn or is it the joy of reading? Obviously, I want him to love reading. What a waste of his momentum and motivation it would be to cut his reading time off and force him to move on to his next task for the day. Instead, I let him finish his books and we adjusted the schedule for those days accordingly.

Another example from last year was in science. The book we started with last year was very high level on a broad range of topics. On numerous occasions as he was going through the material he would start asking more probing questions than the book offered answers to. Sometimes we would carry on a conversation about a particular topic for well over his scheduled time for science. Often he wouldn't even finish the classwork for the day because we'd be discussing tectonic plates or magnetism in depth. We would Google for answers to his questions together and discuss what we learned. Even though he didn't finish the work for the day and we would have to adjust the schedule, we used his motivation and interests to explore various topics in much more depth than he would have by simply following the book and sticking to the schedule.

In conclusion, never let motivation go to waste. It's a powerful educational tool that you need to recognize and learn to harness. Conversely, to squander your child's motivation by forcing to a strict schedule similar to what they would experience in a typical school environment would be a travesty for their education. We want to engender a natural curiosity and eagerness to learn in our children. One of the most effective means of achieving that is by never letting your child's motivation go to waste.