The Homeschool Minute ~ Teaching the Rebel

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History Though Music

Teaching the Rebel
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The Wuehler Family

Do you have a child that is really difficult or challenging or rebellious? My daughter (scoring high on the Asperger’s scale) was our “rebel” from ages 7 to 17 and we both thought we’d never make it through those years. She wrote this a few years back about how to help a difficult child with homeschooling:


You know sometimes, it’s not the child that is difficult, but the curriculum and the environment that is making it so difficult for the child. I happen to be one of those “difficult” children and I have a hard time doing school with certain environments and curriculum. For instance, I don’t do well when books ask me questions I will never use. I like practical word problems that make sense and that I can apply to everyday life. I also like any kind of learning that is based on my interests.

For example, my interests are in animals, so I’m currently writing an essay on whether dogs should, or should not be vaccinated. Writing comes so much easier when I have to write about something that I like or that I have read about. I have a hard time with the actual handwriting, so my mom lets me brainstorm on paper, type my essay on the computer, and then we can print it and correct it.

Another thing I have a hard time with is our crazy, distraction filled home. Unlike others, I cannot tune out all the noise! Sometimes the only thing that will help is to put up a cardboard cubicle around me and ask mom to tell the kids to be silent during school time, or I can listen to some non-distracting music with earbuds while I work. And, money is a big motivator for non-motivated children-we really like rewards!

So, sometimes it’s not the child willfully being difficult, although that may be the case for some children some of the time, but just maybe God wired their brain to work differently than others.

Do you wonder if your difficult child just might have a brain that works differently than others?

Need a little help? Dianne Craft’s Biology of Behavior videos really helped (see the sidebar in the Summer Editorial here). It was eye opening for us as we researched information on Asperger’s syndrome and sensory issues. Before that, we struggled for many years trying everything in our power to deal with the spirit, soul, and body of our little rebel. It was the most draining ten years of all of our lives. But God has healed and restored and we now have a 20 year old daughter who follows Him wholeheartedly.

When life gets challenging with your difficult children, run to your Helper. When you feel like you are failing and need extra strength, you will find it in Him alone. No one else understands like He does. God’s presence and God’s Word are a lifeline to a drowning homeschool parent (and child)!

“Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart fail: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:25, 26

P.S. Know someone raising a rebel? This week, we have Homeschooling the Rebel, Part 1 and Part 2 FREE!Let us know what you think!



Homeschooling the Rebel Part 1 Homeschooling the Rebel Part 2




Why blame kids for rebelling against history that’s taught as

disconnected facts and arbitrary, irrelevant stories? Our essentialized,

fully integrated curriculum gives them the evidence they need to love history – the relevant and compelling causes explaining their world,

today. Come see how to engage and develop active minds through

Raising Real Men    

People come up to us all the time and say, “One of my children is so strong-willed! What do I do?” It’s tempting to answer, “Be thankful it’s only one of them, we have eight strong-willed ones!” but that’s not very helpful.

Sooner or later, most of us end up teaching a rebel, one of those kids who challenges every command, drags his feet through every lesson, and makes school stressful for everyone. For some it’s just a bump on the road, for others it seems to be a lifestyle. So, how do you get them to do school? How do you teach them? We think it’s by first understanding that it’s not really homeschooling that’s the problem.

Are you teaching a preteen? Emotional outbursts, distraction and absentmindedness, and trouble focusing in school are very normal in the preteen years. It’s not just their bodies that are changing! Their brains are going through changes and the hormones make it hard for them emotionally. Kids this age need a lot of patience! It’s also important to preserve their love of learning. Eventually, their brains turn back on. Honestly!

If you just have a one who wants to be in charge, you can get them more on board by engaging them in planning school and giving them some choice about how to do things. With a teen, why not let them plan their schedule entirely? Then, make it worth their while to finish the plan: limit internet or entertainment use until after the list is done.

Sometimes, though, you’ve already tried everything, it seems. If you’ve got a rebel, you’ve got a bigger problem than just school. You’ve only got a few short years before they can just walk away from you and potentially all you believe, too.  It’s time to ask, what’s the heart here? This might help:

Listen. Sounds pretty obvious, but it sure is hard! Instead of responding in anger and frustration when they lose it, instead sit down, calm down, and say lovingly (told you it was hard!), “What’s going on here? Tell me what’s up,” and then hear them out. If they’re disrespectful, you’ll have to deal with that eventually, but not right now. This is the time to understand what’s going on in that heart.

Time for a reality check. Each time, once you’ve really let them talk it out, it’s time to take them to the Word, to explain your reasoning, to issue some discipline, or to repent yourself, depending on what’s called for. They’ll be a lot more open to those things once they know you understand how they feel.

Praise what you can. When a child’s a rebel, they take a lot of heat, naturally. It makes some of them think, “It’s hopeless. I can’t do anything right. I might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb,” and gets worse. Fight this by praising every single tiny movement toward righteousness. Give them hope and love!

It’s tough. It’s so worth it, though, and not just to make school easier.

For more on those critical preteen years, check out our live webinar series, Boot Camp 9-12, for parents of preteen boys. It’s one of the most popular things we do for a reason! 

Your friends,

Hal & Melanie Young 



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The Familyman 


I’m tired. Just pulled in late last night from speaking at Sandy Cove, an awesome Homeschool Family Camp. It was a week of family fun, great conversations, and the dashed hopes of a canoe race gone awry.

All week we talked to homeschoolers who, like you and I, sometimes feel like they’re about to “go under.” The pressures, expectations, and unending relationship struggles just feel overwhelming. But here’s the deal as it relates to this week’s topic of homeschooling the rebel: your ‘rebel’ needs your love more than your math lesson.

I know you think you need to battle it out to make sure they get their lessons done so they don’t end up homeless or burger-flippers, but what they really need is you to listen, smile often, and never give up on them. You might have to set the lesson plan aside, NOT to avoid conflict but to tackle mending the relationship. My wife wisely put school on the back burner with one of my children once to spend more time doing fun things together until the relationship was mended.

Mom and Dad, I know you think you have a rebel, but you may just have a child who isn’t as easy and compliant as you’d like. They need you to never give up on them, to love them unconditionally, and to care more about them than you do…your lesson plan.

OK, that’s about as good as I can do today…I’m bushed.

Be Real,



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