Intrinsic motivation is a wonderful thing, but sometimes a little contest or competition can get students excited and motivated to do their very best. I have found that when I can tie schoolwork into a contest or competition my children will work harder and turn in work that is above what they typically do for a ‘regular’ assignment. There is also generally less grumbling and excited planning.
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While not every assignment can or should be a competition, there are lots of available options. Writing is one of the easiest subjects to incorporate this strategy. There are quite a few writing competitions available for a variety of prompts and genres, many of them are free to enter. We personally participate in writing competitions with the North Carolina Tar Heel Junior Historians and the North Carolina State Fair. The 4-H program also offers some great writing competitions. Having these prompts and directions can help students be engaged and excited about their writing. It also gives them the opportunity to get feedback from someone outside of the home about their writing. I found that this was particularly helpful to me when one of my children thought that I was too harsh of a critic. The feedback on their entries helped them realize that correct spelling really was important and noticed by other people.
Science is another great area to incorporate competitions. You could participate in a local science fair (or start one) and allow them to work through the scientific process. You could also work on things through Science Olympiad which would allow them to compete on a team in various science activities. Another option that we utilize are 4-H competitions. My children participate in Avian Bowl, Poultry Judging, and Poultry Skill-a-thon as well as other livestock and chicken activities. They also offer competitions in robotics, horticulture, and many other science areas. Students learn to be subject matter ‘experts’ in their fields and spend lots of time studying and learning together.
In addition to writing projects, my children participate in a variety of history projects through the North Carolina Tar Heel Junior Historians program. They are able to make models, film movies, create scrapbooks and more all while learning about North Carolina history. This is a great incentive for them to do their very best. I also appreciate that this particular program is really good at making them cite their sources and learn about good research. There are junior historian programs around the country and I highly recommend checking to see if you have a program local to your area.
If you have a budding artist or photographer there are lots of opportunities for competitions in these areas. My daughter has just gotten into photography after purchasing a camera at a local yard sale. She is going to be using the 4H photography curriculum and the photography courses from SchoolhouseTeachers.com to help her grow her skills and then entering her pictures into our state fair, Tar Heel Junior Historians competition, and a 4H spring competition. There are dozens of other small art and photography competitions that your student could enter to display their work and get expert feedback in order to continue to improve their work.
Last but certainly not least, I want to take a minute to talk about public speaking. I believe that public speaking is a skill that is important for students no matter what their career or life goals. As adults they need to be comfortable speaking to a variety of people in a variety of situations. We have found that 4H presentations have been a great way to improve my children’s comfort levels when speaking in front of a group of people. My oldest son has been participating in presentations for about seven years and I have watched him not only get more comfortable during presentations but also flourish in a variety of speaking situations. He can interact with people in a confident and clear manner. This was a major benefit last year when he was running a supply trailer after Hurricane Florence. He interacted with volunteers, disaster victims, and the people and companies bringing in supplies. More than once people sought me out to tell me how impressed they were with his communication skills. I truly believe that 4H presentations are a big part of that success.
Contests and competitions are one way to add a little fun into your homeschool. Make sure to check back each day this week for a new way to add fun. Also, do not forget to check out some of the other great posts in this five-day blog hop. There is sure to be some help and encouragement for you.
CREW @ Homeschool Review Crew – 2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses – ABC of Homeschooling
Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag – Adding Fun to Your Homeschool Day
Erin @ For Him and My Family – Large Family Homeschooling
Lori @ At Home Where Life Happens – Learning Life Skills
Monique @ Mountain of Grace Homeschooling – Homeschooling the High School Years
Monique D. @ Early Learning Mom – Homeschooling With Autism
Yvie @ Homeschool On the Range – 5 Days of Upper Grades Homeschooling
Abby @ Making Room 4 One More – Time Management for Homeschool Moms
Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool – 5 Days of Homeschool Questions
Amy @ the WRITE Balance – Year-Round Schooling
Annette @ A Net in Time – Homeschooling.
Betty @ Lets Get Real – Homeschooling High School
Yvonne @ The Life We Build – 5 Days of Relaxed Homeschooling
Destiny @ Some Call It Destiny – Encouragement for the Homeschooling Mom
Karen @ Tots and Me…Growing Up Together – A Peek into Our Homeschool
Cassie D @ Deputie Tribe – Homeschooling 6 Taking Care of YOU
Kristen Heider @ A Mom’s Quest to Teach –Theme: A Quest for a Great Homeschool Year
Patti Pierce – Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy – My Favorite Homeschooling Things
Wendy @ Life on Chickadee Lane – 5 Days of Nature Study
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning – Homeschooling my final 4
Christine @ Life’s Special Necessities – Yes! You Can Homeschool Your Special Needs Child
Sally M – Tell the Next Generation – Tips for Homeschooling Struggling Learners
Kim @ Good Sweet Love – Last Year of Elementary
Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure
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Deals and Freebies
SchoolhouseTeachers.com is doing an amazing sale this month! Buy One year get One Year FREE! We use this for several of our courses and one price covers all the students in your home for as many of their over 400 courses and you would like to use.
Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.
Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)
Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)
Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!
Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!