The beginning of a new school year can be exhausting but typically, we look forward to it. Every new experience your kids will have. Every new concept they will learn about. Every new “ah ha” moment. That joy is our driving force and the reason why we do what we do.
Occasionally, there are hiccups that interrupt these joys. They make us second guess ourselves, the curriculum, the method, everything. These hiccups can be caused by many things but the one that every homeschooling parent experiences at least once in their homeschooling years, is resistance or defiance from a child.
No matter how well your child does in school or how fun and engaging you make school, there comes a point in time in a child’s development where they start to question the reasons and some form of these words will come out of their mouth.
“Do I really have to do this subject?”
“Why do I have to do all this work”
“Are you sure this is necessary?”
While hearing this once or twice is not a big deal, there occasionally is a child that becomes stuck in this mindset. When you hear this question day after day, or even multiple times a day, it can wear on you.
The joy of homeschooling becomes tiring and you start to question everything too.
Our children learn so much just from watching us. We don’t want them to learn to doubt themselves or to walk away when things are difficult. We also don’t need to lecture them to teach them, we just need to model it. We need to show them that work is not to be avoided just because it is boring or difficult.
We take a breath
Think it through
And tell them, yes.
Then we guide them in their work, every day. Even if we have seen them be self-motivated and self-teaching before. They need us to come along side them and partner with them through their struggles. Their minds are growing and they are thinking bigger thoughts, but they need to learn how to think them clearly enough to choose the right actions. Yes, this is exhausting and yes it can wear you down.
Talk to other homeschooling parents. Take a break and get out on your own for an hour or two here or there, no distractions, just your thoughts. Take the time to refresh yourself and ground yourself so you can think and react with responses they need to hear and to model the behavior we know will help them as they grow.
Don’t let their doubts cause doubts in you. Talk to them, encourage them to share their thoughts and reasons why for questioning things. Teach them how to discuss things respectfully and fully. Sometimes our kids can surprise us with good reasons and we are the ones learning things. Sometimes, kids just need to be heard.
My older boy is my logic child. While this can be wonderful, it is logic according to him since he is only just learning what deep thinking logic is. He and I used to argue about school work and the school day would drag on till 10 o’clock at night sometimes. He would lose his temper, I would raise my voice and neither one of us was hearing the other.
It wasn’t until I started making a point of being quiet, letting him say his thoughts and then responding to them in a why that helped him feel heard, even if I was still disagreeing with him. That was when things started to improve. I had tried reward systems, I had tried candy bribes. I had tried electronics time for reward for doing all the school he was suppose to do but nothing worked. I had begun to doubt myself and my ability and I was losing my joy in my day to day homeschooling life.
It has not been easy and with my older boy, it has been a long and drawn out process. That being said, we are getting there. He completes his school no later than 1 o’clock every day now. He is willing to curb his temper enough to listen to what I have to say now instead of speaking over top of me. I have learned how best to explain the reasons why when he asks if he really has to do a subject, without him feeling like he was dismissed or talked down to. We have both learned how to hear each other, how to say what we think and feel, and how to be respectful in our conversations when we are not agreeing.
What my son has learned through my practice of taking my time to respond and modeling of respect has greatly affected our homeschool day and the flow of the whole household.
Yes, he still tries to debate the need to learn how to write well. Today he debated whether literature studies were really necessary to his schooling, but the point is he debated. He did not argue. He did not throw a fit. He did not try to skip the work and hide it. We discussed, debated, and we both respected each others points of view. Then he went and did the work. All by 1 this afternoon.
Do not grow weary. Change tactics. Talk with your kids with the intent of letting them say what they feel they need to say. Listen. Most of all, be sure to take the time to let yourself just be so you can be the best for them.
Enjoy the journey,
Greeting! My name is Joy and I am currently a stay at home mom who is home schooling her three kids in South Carolina. I love learning and I love sharing the love of learning with others so getting to home school my kids and watch the “ah ha” moments when they understand something is unbelievably rewarding. I have been homeschooling since my twins were preschool age so we are going on 8 years now. I am also a military spouse so we have the added joy of being a military family with some of the complications that come with it. As a family we stay busy with our scouting groups, American Heritage Girls and TrailLife, and we do many camping and hiking trips with them. When I have down time, I am typically reading books I have sitting around the house, on YouTube/websites getting more information on different home school programs or working on plans for homeschool. I look forward to being able to share our experiences with everyone and help encourage all homeschooling families.