Homeschooling can be a beautiful experience of learning or it can become a constant battleground in the war to keep up with a curriculum. I love homeschooling my kids because we have more joys than battles. Let me show you how I’ve cut down on the battles and built up the joy.
How I choose a healthy perspective
I teach all six of my kids at home. The youngest, age 3, doesn’t really do more than listen to stories and color pictures. The oldest, age 13, is doing advanced work to prepare for an apprenticeship at 16. This might sound great, but it’s not all easy.
Sometimes my kids don’t want to do their work. They complain, moan, and bellyache until the red mist threatens to come down over my vision.I try to remember one important thing:
My struggles with my kids over their schoolwork are not really about the assignments.
Every day, parents engage in the process of character building. We fight tooth and nail to help our kids grow up to be good. The arguments about schoolwork are really about character traits such as diligence, laziness, and self-respect. When I remember this, it helps me stay calm and focused – most of the time.
Help your kids understand the why
My oldest child is also my first son. He is doing work now to help him start an engineering apprenticeship at age sixteen. He chose this path of study. Since he made his choice, the arguments over school work have diminished.
The idea I want you to try is talking calmly with your kids about what they want to do and how school work can get them there.
Younger kids might struggle with this idea. You could try talking with them about the government’s requirements. Your kids can understand they have a right to an education that opens doors for them.
Bribery will get you everywhere
Most of us are voluntary victims of bribery. Our bosses pay us to work in a very respectable form of adult bribery. I’m totally not above bribing my kids to do their work because I’m not above being bribed to do my work.
What works for us is a simple routine involving bribery in a structured way. My kids love playing video games. I love a tidy house and completed school assignments. So we have a deal. If they will do their chores and their school work, then I will let them play video games for an hour every day.
Successful homeschooling is your creation
What I’ve just described is what works for us. It might not work for you, or it might work a little differently. Try a few unconventional things to motivate your kids. Here are a few quick seed suggestions you could think about:
- Mix up short-term and long-term rewards
- Use reward charts to track progress towards something
- Try ‘Pavlov’ rewards like a small cookie at random times when they are working
- Work with them by helping them or doing your work next to them
Just keep experimenting with fresh ideas until you find what works. Eventually, you will help your children learn to be diligent and responsible with their work.