How To Influence Your Child’s Motivation

Motivation is the Secret to Successful Homeschooling.

Have you ever found yourself in a power struggle with your child? Ever hear your kids say, “I’m bored”, “this isn’t fun”, or “I don’t want to“? Understanding the principles of motivation will help you, and your child, get what you both want without either one of you having to give up, or give in.  

The following chart shows the cycle of motivation. This chart was designed by my husband Ken Trent based on his masters degree research. He discovered this pattern of motivation in the people that he interviewed. The principles of motivation can be applied in any aspect of life. I can say from experience that they are especially effective when applied to homeschool.

Motivation Cycle 3.0


Motivation begins with Interest. Interest is unique for every individual person. It is determined by personality, belief, and purpose. Interest is what drives the motivation cycle. In order to motivate your children you need to know what they are interested in.

What do they like?

What appeals to them?

What do they dream about?

What energizes their life?

Interest determines what you choose to expose yourself to. It can also influence how you choose to expose yourself to information. For example, let’s say you have a child that doesn’t like to read. Reading is a struggle and makes them feel frustrated. If you want to help them become a more confident reader you can use the Motivation cycle!

Begin by asking yourself, “what do they like?” or “what are they interested in?”. Maybe they like horses or skateboarding. Can you find a book or magazine on their subject of interest that will entice them to read? Something that will seem to them to be worth the effort? Something that will make them want to read whether they think they are a good reader or not?

Your child’s interest can give reading purpose.  Their interest will make the struggle worthwhile.  What feels like a burden can become a joy if it involves something that they want, or that makes them happy.  Herein lies the power of Interest.


Exposure is the first step of action in the motivation cycle. Interest in something leads you to expose yourself to information, or an experience, based on your interest. This simple step opens up a world of possibilities for learning and growth. Some of us are visual learners and like to read information in print, or see it on video. Some of us are tactile learners and like to write down notes or make a model.

Hint: make sure you know what learning modality your children prefer before exposing them to new information. This will directly affect their motivation and how well they absorb the information. The exposure will have a greater positive impact if you tailor it to how they learn best.


To learn is to grow. Growth is the product of true learning. By analyzing your child’s growth you can see clearly what they learned. Sometimes in order to see the growth you have to take the time to reflect on where your child started and how far they have come. Other times it will be easy to recognize the growth as you watch them use a newly acquired skill or ability.

When you do notice growth in your child, or they notice it in themselves, you will have feelings of great satisfaction. At this point feel free to CELEBRATE! The satisfaction will most likely increase your child’s interest and put them back on the motivation cycle in a very energizing way.


Frustration, discouragement, loss of interest, this is the downward spiral of the negative half of the motivation cycle. This is a hard place to be, for both parent and child. One of the definitions of stagnate is “lack of motion”. Your child’s motivation cycle has literally stopped. Somewhere along the way there wasn’t enough positive input to keep your child’s motivation cycle moving.

On the way from exposure → growth there are 9 key factors that will determine whether you end up successful or stagnant.




Goal Setting






If you can figure out what it was that broke your child’s motivation cycle by analyzing these 9 factors, than you can make the needed adjustments and try again (read more about these 9 factors in my post 9 Factors That Affect Your Child’s Motivation). Remember it’s not hopeless. It doesn’t have to be the end. If you are aware of the downward spiral in your child then you can stop the negative cycle before it is complete.


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