Welcome Back to Ask a Homeschool Mom! Each week, I’ll pick a question I have been sent in, and we’ll see if we can find you some answers! You can submit questions on Facebook, by leaving a comment on a post, or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s Question is:
“She HATES the idea of homeschool and wants a “real” school and teacher … any ideas how to get her excited to start home schooling?”
Every once in a while, one of my kids says something along the lines of, “but I don’t WANT you to be my teacher. I want to go to real school.” What do you do when the kids don’t want to be homeschooled?
I’m afraid this is going to sound really mean, but my kids just don’t have a choice in how we school them. As they get older, I would probably listen to them if they wanted to air their grievances in a non-whiny, productive sort of way, but at this point in our lives, they just don’t have a say.
We are going to homeschool, period, because I’m the Mama, and I said so (for many good reasons).
Just because I won’t change my mind about homeschooling, doesn’t mean I don’t care about my child’s feelings- of course I do.
Typically, complaints like these in my house are said over a really tough math problem, or right after I took away the kindle because someone was trying to play mine craft instead of doing their assigned reading.
These complaints are rarely because they don’t want to homeschool per say, they are more often a symptom of a bigger problem.
They may be overwhelmed, tired, struggling with a concept, bored, or in the case of a new homeschooler, like the daughter mentioned in this post, she’s probably afraid of the unknown, and grieving the loss of experiences, and time spent with friends who will be continuing on to the brick and mortar school up the street.
So what can you do to help your child when they really, really don’t want to be a homeschool kid?
Helping the new Homeschool Student
New Homeschoolers need a taste of all the good things that are coming their way. If they have already been public schooled, or have a lot of friends in the neighborhood who are starting school in the fall, it’s easy to understand why they would feel left out.
Visit Other Families
Do you know any families who homeschool? If you know someone who really makes it look fun, see if you can tag along for the day on a field trip, science experiment, or art project. Don’t just show up at their house on a Tuesday morning, because you don’t want to sit through the math lesson, or spelling test, but do call ahead, and explain to your friend just how your little one is feeling.
Most homeschoolers, when given plenty of notice, don’t mind having someone tag along, especially if you are willing to help them with the activity (bring supplies, help plan it, and feel free to pitch in with the teaching!). Come up with something fun to do together, and give your kids a taste of what homeschooling can be like!
Make Keeping up with Friends Part of the Curriculum
Older students can take some time each week to write emails or letters to friends, and keep in touch that way. Bug has a list of people he can send emails to, and once a week, he gets to email instead of working on his typical writing program.
“Physical Education” can be done each day after the school bell rings, and the neighborhood kids hit the playground. Send your child out to play when the rest of the kids are also outside.
Join the Club
Join team sports, scouts, or other activities. This is especially helpful if your child has friends in public school that she wants to keep up with at home. See if you can get all the girls in the same scouting troop, or join a new club to make new friends. Many areas have a large population of homeschooled students, and some places, like libraries and museums have special clubs and classes just for homeschooled kids. You can meet new friends all over town, if you are creative!
Start a New Tradition
This is one of the easiest, and fastest ways to help your student find the joy in homeschooling. Start a new tradition of a “not back to school party” and go to the movies, and grab ice cream when all the other kids head back to the classroom. Head out on field trips once a week, instead of sitting at a desk. Have Wednesday Waffle day, and enjoy a big breakfast while listening to audio books.
Basically, find some way to make homeschooling special for your kids. In our house, (most of the time) we do Tuesday Tea Parties, and Friday Field Trips. We have (not) Back to School traditions, and I always point out when we are done with school and off playing by noon, and the other kiddos are still stuck at a desk. Homeschooling is fun.
Helping the Experienced Homeschool Student
Established homeschoolers aren’t immune from the “I don’t want to Homeschool” complaints. The approach is a little different for these kids, because they already know what homeschooling is about.
Pinpoint Trouble Areas
Typically, this complaint is going to be coming from a specific problem. Is your child lonely? Help them find a social outlet. Is their schoolwork giving them issues? See if you can focus on weak areas. Are you butting heads with them too often? Ease tension with a family meeting, a new routine, and clear expectations. Are they just being lazy and grumpy? Heaven help you, bring on discipline, and keep on being the good mama you are.
Make a List
Older students especially can benefit from a pro’s and con’s list. There are a lot of good things about both sides of the coin, but when a student is thinking the grass is greener, help them remember there are con’s on both sides too. Are they aware that public school kids come home with homework each night, sometimes hours of it? How much time is spent in the classroom on their favorite subject? Is that subject even taught?
Take a Break
When the going gets tough, sometimes, you just need to take a break. Really. Just close the books, and call a week off. The trick is not sitting down and turning off the TV when you take the break. Do art projects. Go on adventures. Read good books together, have a date one on one with each of your kids. Take time to enjoy them as kids instead of students.
Then, take a deep breath, and jump back in. Don’t forget their are your kids first.
Spice Things Up
If one particular subject is causing you issues, perhaps it’s time to scrap that plan. Don’t forget, curriculum is a tool, and is not the boss. If it’s not working, move on to something else.
You can also start a new tradition, like fun day Fridays (board games instead of math, projects, crafts, and movies) or some other fun activity. Don’t let things get boring and stale in your homeschool, remind them of the fun!