Sometimes homeschooling can be
really f-ing hard … ahem… challenging. There are days where our kids decide to be obstinate no matter what we try. There are times where we’re pretty sure they’re not learning anything except how to argue with their mother and give her a headache (and they’re really good at it!) There are days where we reach the end of our ropes and seriously consider if what we’re doing is best for them.
Thankfully, once we realize a few things we can make those days few and far between. I can say with all honesty my first couple of years of homeschooling were full of fights about spelling words, tears about multiplication, and days where I knew that sending my son to school would be better for him. But I kept at it, and now here I am 13 years and 3 kids later with a whole lot more perspective.
So often in groups of moms I hear the words “I just don’t know if I can do it anymore” followed by a description of a horrible day. But you know what? Often the things that went wrong that day were totally preventable, or could be recovered from quickly with the right thinking. It’s hard though when you are just starting on your homeschool journey to recognize that, so that’s why I’m here to help!
Remember when you homeschool- you are mom first and teacher second.
Its easy when you homeschool to get caught up in your role as teacher. It is no small thing to be responsible for our children’s education and we really don’t want to screw it up. We want to make sure we’re covering everything, giving them every opportunity and doing all the work necessary.
That is what often leads to frustration. We’ve got this lovely little lesson plan made and our child refuses to do the writing assignment we have for them. Three hours later, in tears, the assignment still isn’t done and we feel like a failure.
This is where you need to take a breath and remember, you are mom first.
Ask yourself these questions.
-Is this assignment worth damaging my relationship with my child? Is fighting them on it going to have more benefit or cause more heart ache?
– If my child was in school and their teacher was treating them like this would I be ok with it? If their teacher yelled, forced them to do something or brought them to tears would I think it was best for my kid??
Often we let the stress get to us, we push hard because we want what is best for our kids. Sometimes what is best is to realize that we are our children’s biggest advocate, and sometimes we need to advocate for them to ourselves!
When you find yourself in a moment of frustration take a breath, give your child a hug, remind yourself that your relationship with your child must come first!
Recognize if you are having a bad day.
There is a huge responsibility as a homeschool mom to set the tone for the day. Sometimes your bad mood can be the thing making your homeschool day suck. Maybe you’re stressed about money, or an argument with a friend. Maybe you’ve got PMS (hey, we all go through it and sometimes it’s a doozy!). Maybe you’re not feeling 100% or didn’t sleep well and your patience is thin.
It’s ok to take a day. It’s ok to have a “Mommy has PMS and might rip your head off day” that is totally 100% OK! It is better to recognize if you are not in the right frame of mind to teach your kids then to try to push through a day knowing that the energy you are bringing to it is impatience and negativity.
You can always watch educational tv, let your kids spend time reading or playing games. You could take a field trip, or spend time outside or making art projects. A laid back day doesn’t have to mean no learning happens, it just means that you’ve chosen your sanity over school work, and that is just fine.
**Related Post- Moms Need Self Care So They Don’t Lose Their S#!t
Ask yourself why your child is uncooperative
If your child is flat-out refusing to do something, or struggling through it, or if they are otherwise acting out when it comes to school work, chances are there is a reason.
First ask yourself if they are in the right mind-set. Did they get a good night’s sleep? Are they hungry? Is there something else that could be bothering them or distracting them?
I know for my middle son if he has something else on his mind we have to talk it out, or he has to do whatever it is, or formulate some kind of plan before he can let it go and move on. My youngest becomes the most weepy, difficult human being on the face of the planet if he’s hungry, so I try to figure out if that is the problem first.
The next thing to consider is what you’re asking them to do. Is it difficult for them? It is quite possible the timing is right. Like I’ve mentioned before sometimes just waiting a few days, weeks, or months to introduce a concept can make a huge difference. If they are struggling it’s ok to move on to something else until they are ready. Or maybe they are bored!! There is nothing that can make a child resistant to work more than finding it boooorrriiinnnggg. I realize that sometimes it’s not possible to make all the work interesting but do what you can. If they’re reading find something they want to read about, the same with writing! If the struggle is with math find a fun video or get some manipulative and do some hands on learning. If your child is bored to tears it’s time to re-evaluate.
But what if they’re just being difficult??
If your child just has a bad attitude that is a whole other ball game. But there are things you can do. If they’re just coming out of public school you might need to de-school for a while and find your new groove. If they hate doing schoolwork of any kind you might need to sit down and talk with them and explain that you have to show progress and learn. You might negotiate with something they enjoy i.e. 1 hour of schoolwork = 1 hour of video games. That’s not bribing, it’s not giving in, it is giving your child something in return for their work.
**Related Post- Are You Parenting Your Child Or Bullying Them??
If you’ve been butting heads for a long time and the difficulty getting work done has been your normal it may take a while to recover. You’ll have to show your child that you are making an effort not to lose your cool and that you want it to be enjoyable for both of you. Consistency is key, if you are relaxed and they can sense that you have their best interest in mind they are more likely to be cooperative!
Relax, revise & give lots of hugs-
The days that try us the most are the ones when we need to remember to take a breath and know it will all be ok. As the span of your child’s time homeschooling stretches out in front of you there is plenty of days to get the work done, and learn what needs to be learned. If you fall behind in your curriculum its ok. If you child isn’t at the same grade level as their best friend its ok. If you need to take a week to reevaluate and regroup it is ok!!
Take a breath, take stock of what is really going on and how you can change your attitude or your approach, give your kid a hug, tell them it’s ok, and find what works for your family!
What challenges have you faced with homeschooling? What advice would you add for the mom who is at the end of their rope?
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