Do your kids seem to hate homeschooling?
I got this question from a friend recently and wanted to let you in on our conversation.
My children are small, but I feel I may be going about this wrong. My kids seem to dislike homeschool work, always begging me for a day off or a break. I am not sure how to change this. They are 6 and 8.
We spend maybe two hours a day doing Math and Language Arts and then maybe science/history/social studies through the week.
I find they just want to get it over with so they can do other things (my eight year old son seems to beg for the computer or ipad mostly). I also ask them to read every day, and even though they can choose what they want to read, they still resist and complain.
I think two hours is reasonable but what you do in those two hours is important.
If they have to sit still and be quiet, that’s hard for young ones. Watching an educational video counts, so does a math computer game or a board game. Reading an ebook counts too. This might be attractive to your computer-loving child.
And remember, they need to move and be creating or figuring things out, not just listening to you or doing a worksheet.
Also, having a reward system can work for awhile. We often had a checklist of things they HAD to do, and when that was done, they could play. Or they’d get stickers or points toward a treat.
Break up the two hours like this, for example: After you finish this assignment, you get this coupon toward 15 minutes on the computer. Or when the timer goes off in 10 minutes, you can stop that worksheet and run around the house for 3 minutes.
And if they didn’t want to get back to work after the reward, I’d say, “I know it’s hard to focus on this, but it’s important, and I know you can do it. It’s only a few more minutes.”
Pep talks, rewards, smiles, doing it with them, making it fun … those were the best ways to get through boring, hard stuff. But keep that kind of work to a minimum.
The goal is engage their curiosity and let them explore things on their own.
Photo by Lori
I certainly do not see a love of learning being formed here, and I am not sure how to change this.
I know you seem to follow a child-led learning technique, and if you could give some advice on how to implement this (or even books) I would appreciate it.
Also, my son would spend all day and night on the computer if he could, I am assuming this is not what you mean by child-led learning?
However your child spends his time, he’s learning, even if it’s not your definition of “learning.”
If you are uncomfortable with what he likes to do, give him more options.
To get your kids out and moving, you have to find things that interest them. Go for an outing/field trip once a week, find a sport they can join (summers are good for this), music lessons, art lessons, scouts, 4H, theater, a telescope to look at the night sky, a garden, a pet, who knows!
It can take a while to find these things and get a new groove, so don’t despair, just keep trying.
My favorite books are by John Holt. He was a pioneer in the unschooling movement. I’m sure there are other great books out there, but I tended to follow my heart in teaching my kids and didn’t want to get bogged down with the ideas of others.
There are principles to follow, like let the child’s interests drive his education, keep the end in mind (they have to learn math, etc), but the nitty gritty, day-to-day stuff can’t be prescribed. That’s up to you and your expert knowledge of your child.
Photo by Kai Schreiber
Thank you! Today as Jeremy explained all the details of the different mods of this game he is learning online, using vocabulary I was surprised he knew … I had the same thought of what you said, how his learning looks different than what I think learning should be.
I volunteer in his religion class, and just seeing those kids sit there for an hour and half working out of a book makes me rethink how we approach learning, because I don’t think these kids are really learning much doing this.
One more question, how did your son do so well on the ACT and SAT? Did he take a prep course? I don’t test my kids at the moment and often wondered if they need “testing” to prepare them for test taking.
During his junior year in high school, Peter read through a prep book we got at the bookstore, but his best preparation was to read a lot. He loved to read and he’d work through very difficult stuff because it interested him and he wanted to understand.
The more experience our kids get with text, the more adept they get at figuring it out. That’s the key to the reading passages in those standardized tests. The other half of the test is math, so that’s why we need to keep moving them forward in that area.
Peter had a great math teacher when he was a freshman in high school. That’s the one year he went to private school. From there he basically taught himself, but he was a natural. I think for a different child, I would probably have them take math at a community college for high school credit.
Thank you again. You have helped a lot.
I just asked my son how he would like to build Minecraft structures following an instruction book on the Kindle for homeschool tomorrow, and he shouted “Yes!” I guess I found a way get him excited and read!
Do you have any other suggestions for this mom?