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As homeschooling families, we all have our good days and our bad days, just like any other regular family. The only difference is that, since we homeschool, we might potentially be with the kid who is causing us distress the whole day while other families might have some hours that the child is at school to think about how to handle the situation when the child returns from school, time to sort of push the “reset” button. So, our bad days sometimes feel like bad weeks, bad months or even a bad year. There are many reasons for things going wrong and for most there are solutions that work differently for different children. Today I want to write about what it is that pushes most families to thinking that they should stop homeschooling (or never even start) and invite you to investigate why that shouldn’t make you stop and how it can potentially be solved. Most of all I want everyone to realize they are NOT alone in these struggles, it is very common.
Here are some common concerns that homeschoolers face during the years of homeschooling:
• Student(s) resisting instruction
• It’s too expensive
• We have a lot of hard days
• I’m scared my kids will have gaps in their education
• I’m worried I’ll mess them up
• I’m not patient enough to do this
• I’m worried they don’t have enough friends
In this article, the first in a series, I would like to explore just the first concern and in subsequent articles, the others will be discussed.
• Student(s) resisting instruction
Many of us probably have encountered the child who, when called to start “school”, gives a sigh and asks, “Do I have to?” Although that is not a fun thing to hear when you spent several hours preparing something that you think would be important or even fun, it is important to not take it personally.
Remember the following possibilities:
– If you were waking the child up to go to the school down the street, you probably would’ve had the same response, but wouldn’t have thought anything of it, because that would be “normal”, because everyone else also deals with that and you’re not anything unusual.
– A lot of times if you have a child just coming out of traditional school, they might need some time to deschool first.
– It’s not always easy and neither is it fun to be pulled out of doing something you’re really enjoying to do something that you might not be that interested in. We don’t even like it as adults.
Some possible solutions:
As is the case with all homeschooling issues, there isn’t just one answer, but several possible options that might be helpful.
– Give the child a time that school will start and it is great to have that be a consistent time, e.g. 9am every morning or 2pm or whatever time works best with their natural rhythm and age (teens usually like to sleep in way later).
– Give the student some warning, e.g. remind them about 10 minutes before they need to start.
– Some families let the student set their own schedule. They are given an assignment sheet for each day and they have freedom to do those things whenever they would like as long as it’s done by the end of the day. This encourages time management and self-regulation, but it might have to be slowly implemented with younger children who might have a hard time to manage all their time right away.
– Reconsider the curriculum you’re using if this is a common occurrence where the child is complaining about doing school work. It might not fit their learning style or modality. Keep the lines of communication open and don’t take anything personally.
– Always encourage them to give you feedback. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Try to feel what they’re feeling. The more they have a say in how and what they’re learning, the more likely they will be active participants.
– If the problem persists, consider setting up a meeting with a homeschool consultant (like myself) to discuss potential solutions for your specific situation.
More on the other concerns in my next article.