Homeschool parents have an interesting perspective on their children.
We’re with them 24/7 for the most part. We see behaviors and weird things they do that we might not see if they were in school.
Sometimes these things are adorable, and sweet and endearing.
Other times they are pull your hair out irritating.
Sometimes you look at them and wonder exactly how your DNA is woven through their bodies because clearly they didn’t get any of these annoying habits from you…
must come from their father’s side…
What I have come to find is that universally one of the most parent trying habits that homeschooled kids have are their distraction techniques. These are the things they pull out when it’s time to work on their least favorite subject, when they’re tired, or when they think maybe they can wear mom down and get done early.
While there are many I’m sure there are some popular ones that almost every kid I know has employed at one time or another. Maybe there’s a secret society of homeschooled kids and they trade secrets…. “I can tell you how to really irritate your mom…”
Here’s just a few…
#1 (The most popular in my house) The pencil dropper
Suddenly the lowly #2 pencil has become the most difficult thing in the world to keep hold of. It acts as if it has a mind of its own, leaping out of the child’s hand onto the floor. There it becomes almost impossible to pick up… mostly because the child is trying to use their toes instead of bending over to get it. In and effort to corral the unruly writing instrument the child will get up….as…. sloowwwlllyyyy… as possible. Once the pencil is back in their hand, but before returning to a seated position it leaps again… this time to roll across the room in an effort to escape. The stealthy (incredibly slow) child is forced to sneak across the room like a ninja to capture it again. Once this happens and the child has been seated again the process is likely to repeat multiple times… or until mom threatens to tape the pencil to their hand.
#2 The Bathroom Break-
This technique begs the question, “Is math a more effective laxative then ExLax?” Every….single… time… the book appears it is met with, “Mommy I have to go to the bathroom.” Suddenly your child is setting world records for hours spent on the toilet in a single visit. You hear them talking to themselves, singing, or washing their hands for 10 minutes… anything to stay in the sanctuary of the bathroom a little longer. Have you considered sending the work into the bathroom with them? Maybe you have, and maybe you have experienced its return with nothing done… “Oh I couldn’t concentrate.” Or with soap on it…. “It was on the counter while I washed my hands.” You may have considered changing your children’s diets in order to prevent less frequent trips to the bathroom. You realize the amount supposedly coming out doesn’t equal what is going in… You may even threaten to take them to the Dr. because if a trip to the potty takes that long surely something is wrong… besides just math.
#3- The Attentive Sibling-
Any other time your children could care less if they’re little brother or sister were playing with fire. Or they think they’re the most annoying person on the planet. Suddenly, faced with a spelling list, they have the overwhelming urge to work on their sibling of the year award. It works for a minute… you are a proud momma watching your children spend time together, love and nurturing… then you realize it is all a very clever rouse designed to pull at your heart-strings. You remind the child of their work only to be met with protests of “But we were having so much fun,” or “but he was crying.” This is one you might let go on a little longer then you should though… the peace and quiet is nice!
#4- The Big Helper-
Very similar to the attentive sibling the helper is a bit of an evil genius. How in the world would Mom get upset if I’m taking the trash out, feeding the dogs, putting my dish in the sink…. landscaping the yard, putting brakes on the car… What.Ever.It.Takes… They will come up with random “helpful” things designed to look like an initiative taking child, when really they are doing anything to avoid what ever worksheet is sitting on the table. Suddenly they have in interest in helping you plan dinner, or maybe laundry seems like a great activity. Don’t be fooled Momma… they’re motives are not pure!
#5- The Poor Starving Child-
It does not matter that lunch was 17.365 seconds ago… they are HUNGRY!! It does not matter that they just swallowed they’re last gulp of juice… the thirst is overwhelming. Who cares that they’re up to 3 snacks already today and it’s only 11am? How can they possibly concentrate when they are hungry??… you ask if they are paying attention only to be answered with, “I can’t I’m just sooooo hungry.” Watch out if you cave… if you start to believe they are hungry and offer a snack… it is a slippery slope. Now the kid who eats his dinner in 3 minutes can savor a string cheese for 45. Each bite is excruciatingly slow… chewed thoroughly and there is a lengthy pause between bites. Drinks are even more dangerous… they can get a mind of their own even more than a pencil… Do not , I repeat DO NOT put a drink in close proximity to school work. There is some kind of crazy magnetic field around school books that causes drinks to topple over and spill. It is best to just reassure the child that they will not starve or dehydrate in the time it takes to read a chapter in a History book… assure them they will survive this trial in their life.
Which is your child’s favorite?? Do you have any to add? I’d love to hear your stories of your kid’s best distraction techniques!
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