From the outside looking in, homeschool has this sort of rosy, dreamy glow. If you were to believe the blogs, the news articles, Pinterest, the community in general, you might think that every day perfection is the norm. But what if, for you and your kids, things seem to be an every day struggle, you dread get started in the morning, frustrations outnumber the joy, and you just want give up and surrender.What if homeschooling isn’t working?
What if homeschooling just isn’t working?
First, take a step back.
In the thick of things, it’s hard to take a good, serious look at what’s going on. Pull yourself out of the moment and evaluate. What is really happening here?
Are your everyday battles because you’ve picked a curriculum that’s too hard, too boring, too different from how your child learns? Are they because your child has a bad attitude and doesn’t want to co-operate? Are they because you have expectations that are too big for your child? Are they because your child is struggling with something but doesn’t know how to articulate it in any way other than arguing?
From here, you need to evaluate what you can do to change this.
- Is it as simple as finding a new approach to teaching and learning?
- Could just changing to a new curriculum be effective?
- What about changing up your daily schedule or breaking up your day differently?
- What if you add a new element of fun to your days – like gamification or more outside time?
- What if, instead of doing the pre-set curriculum, you opted to study a topic that your child wants to learn about?
- If you give your child the power of independence – giving them a checklist to complete before a certain time – would that make them more willing to work?
It might be worth it to both take a break from schooling for a while. Take a week, take a month, take whatever time you need to reconnect with your child one on one. Spend the time you would usually do school focused on something your child loves. Reading together, playing LEGO, kicking a ball back and forth. Find a positive with your child instead of the constant negative.
Talk to your child. See if they can offer ideas or suggestions that might change things around. Kids often have fantastic insight and ideas. For example, I was desperately trying to find a way to encourage my boys to stay on task. I talked to my oldest and he came up with the idea of turning schooling into a “video game” – earning exp for completing lessons and fighting a mega boss through the week by using “hit points” they earned as well. He designed a mega boss and we had a great week. Did it last forever? No, but it allowed me to help them (and me) have a successful week, we had fun, and it gave me ideas for the future that we can do to freshen things up if we’re struggling.
If nothing is working, or your relationship with your child is at danger of blowing up, remember this important thing – School IS an option. You haven’t failed because you’ve sent a child off to the classroom in your neighbourhood.
Homeschooling, no matter how appealing or ideal, is NOT the only way for your child to get an education. Your parent-child relationship, your sanity and your child’s self-esteem are far more important than homeschooling success.
It’s OK to send your kid to school.
This break from each other every day can help repair a frazzled relationship, allow you to spend more quality time and less “teaching” time together, and give your child a chance to see the difference between school at home and school at school. Even if you choose not to return to homeschooling, it’s a good comparison for them to make.
Do what is right for your child. Whatever that will end up looking like.