Can you identify with this? You’ve spent the three months planning a fantastic homeschool year. The schedule you’ve created is awesome–it’s filled with stimulating hands-on activities that will keep your brood active and their little brains engaged in learning. This will be nothing less than a stellar homeschool year.
When Your Homeschool Plans Fail
Two weeks into your plans, reality hits: your beautiful plan is a giant FAIL! Sweetpea groans every time she pulls out her math book, Helicopter Joe refuses to do any schoolwork–unless Legos are involved or he can write with a crayon. Buttercup is more interested in reading about the love relationship between a werewolf and vampire than classic literature, and Rugrat No. 1 continually tattles on Rugrat No. 2 because, “he keeps looking at her.”
All you want to do is run away because Calgon isn’t strong enough to carry you away from this madness.
Not only do you feel stressed and unappreciated, but you also feel like a failure.
The option to throw in the towel isn’t an option. You have been called to educate your children. So what do you do? There’s no other choice but to change course.
Rethink Your Plan
First off, know you aren’t alone and you aren’t a failure. This happens to a lot of moms at least once in their homeschooling career. So, take a deep breath and lets rethink your plans.
Odds are, parts of your schedule are working and working well. So, don’t scrap the who plan. Just focus on tweaking the parts that aren’t working.
If you have a child who throws a fit every time they pick up a particular book or subject, dig into why:
- What’s causing the stress?
- Is the work too hard?
- Do they not feel challenged?
- Are they bored?
Answering these questions could set you on the right track. For some, a simple change to the time of day or routine could solve the problem. Possibly a change of study environment could ease the anxiety. Occasionally it could be the curricula itself. Then again, it could just be a time for the homeschool parent to say, “Suck it up, Sweetpea, this is just part of life.”
Handling teens who don’t want to do work, is another world entirely. They are old enough to do their work or suffer consequences. In the real world, every action creates a result. That result can be positive or negative. Having a set of standards and rules about schoolwork gives teens a concrete life foundation to stand on. You don’t have to get angry when they don’t do their schoolwork, let the consequences speak. Based on my experience, when a child has a clear-cut set of standards and consequences your day will be easier. If a rule is violated, then a consequence is the result. They will understand when you say, “Oh well, you should have made better choices.”
One thing you should never do is apologize for the consequences they receive. They make their own choices, and it isn’t your fault when they do.
Dealing with a child who gets hyper focused can be tough, but not impossible. If you have one who lives for Legos, then incorporate them into every thing. Writing assignments can be on how to build a castle or what Lego shapes would you create next and why? Reading can include Lego books and stories. Social studies projects can be made from Legos. Adding Legos to math lessons is simple. A science study can have a chemistry unit on the composition of Legos.
As for writing with a crayon, does it really matter what type of writing instrument your child uses? I’m happy as long as it’s written, but there does come a time to follow directions. As a parent you can decide that time and then implement choices and consequences.
Constant sibling bickering is a fact of life in many homes. Again, a clear-cut set of standards with consequences for behavior will make this easier. Doorposts has some excellent resources for consequences to actions.
If you find your homeschool year in a crash-and-burn setting, don’t give up. Take a deep breath, regroup, rethink and salvage what you can. That’s why we homeschool.
Homeschool help is easy to find when you know where to look! Check out our homeschool help Pinterest board and find all the help you’ll need!