5 Ways to Make Your Kid Hate Homeschooling
Have you ever heard a kid say, “I hate homeschooling! I want to go to school!”? This can happen for a variety of reasons. My oldest didn’t exactly hate homeschooling, but she didn’t like being different. She didn’t like being confronted with people’s incessant questions and assumptions. We did not honor her request to go to the public school, though. In the end, she was glad we didn’t send her and reflects fondly on her homeschooled years.
Sometimes, we do things that exasperate our kids and drive them away from us. Our mistakes and attitudes can cause them to hate being home. Here are five ways to make your kid hate homeschooling and beg you to put him in school.
5 Ways to Make Your Kid Hate Homeschooling
Insist he do lessons that he is not developmentally able to do.
If you want your child to hate being home, ask him to do things that he cannot succeed at. Sometimes children are not trying to be disobedient. Instead, they are trying to avoid an overwhelmingly difficult task. We need to be careful of teaching certain subjects too early, cramming too much into a day, and mistaking immaturity for poor character.
Never take your child’s interests and learning style into account.
Do you choose curriculum because you like it or because you think your children will like it, or do you take both into account? Do you avoid crafts or science experiments because you feel intimidated, even though your children love them? Do you buy curriculum because your friend is using it, not because it is right for your family? One of the greatest advantages of homeschooling is the freedom to tailor education to the needs of each child. Let’s make sure we are doing that. It is so easy to fall into the trap of doing what others are doing. We can make the mistake of dismissing our children’s interests in favor of a particular educational approach. Sometimes this leads to a legalistic homeschooling mentality. Let us always remember that God instills purpose, talents, and bents in our children; and we would do well to pay attention.
Always follow the curriculum to the letter.
This goes along with the one above. Schools don’t even finish their curriculums by the end of the year; that’s why they spend September reviewing. However, I have heard homeschooling moms say, “George is still in 3rd grade because we didn’t finish the curriculum.” If you want your kid to hate homeschooling, don’t ever alter the curriculum to fit the child. Don’t ever skip sections because your child already knows that material or finds it boring. Don’t supplement it, either. Do everything exactly as it is written because the homeschooling parent that wrote it knows your child better than you do (not).
Do not participate in any outside activities or field trips.
Gone are the days when homeschoolers never left the house. Even if funds are tight, there are plenty of free activities to participate in. Home can feel like a prison if you don’t allow your child to do anything outside of it. And, how will she find friends? This is especially important in the teen years.
Make sure you are legalistic, controlling, and harsh.
This doesn’t really need any explanation. We need to remember that we are moms first. Even on days when everything seems to go wrong and no one cooperates, we need to end on a positive note. Say something like, “We didn’t have the best day today, but I know you tried. I still love you, and tomorrow is a new day. Maybe we can try a different approach. Let’s make some hot chocolate and just read one of your favorite books together, okay?” The way we treat our children affects our testimony. If you want your kid to beg to leave your home and go to school, don’t do this. Make it all about a list of rules, a checklist, a page of problems. Make sure he knows how much he disappoints you and falls short every day.
Obviously, we don’t want to drive our children to hate being home with us. Often, we are respecting their interests and adapting curriculum, taking them places and treating them with kindness. But, perhaps a child is lonely or, like my daughter, feels uncomfortable with being a bit different. She was curious about what school was like. There is a “school culture” that our children know nothing about and which is difficult to explain. Watching cartoons like Arthur on PBS makes the school environment seem benign and fun. Conversations with other kids at church that center on school can make a homeschooled child feel left out. We need to be sensitive to this and be ready with answers.
Julie Polanco is the homeschooling mother of four children, the oldest having graduated in 2016. She is a frequent contributor to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and is the high school botany instructor for www.schoolhouseteachers.com. Her book, God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn, is now available for pre-order through your favorite bookstore! If you send her a copy of your receipt, you will receive a personalized note from her and a digital exclusive. Go to her website, www.juliepolancobooks.com where she regularly posts about the writing life, homeschooling, Christian living, and her book projects.