Written by contributor Jena of Yarns of the Heart
Have you ever felt like this? A reader shared her heart with me recently:
“I am in a desperate search for homeschooling counseling. I grew up in NYC and attended public school all the way through high school. My parents and friends aren’t very acquainted with the day to day concept of homeschooling.
So I find myself lonely and questioning whether I’m doing homeschool the “proper” way and truly second guessing the whole thing.
I’m a mom to an only child and am wondering if there is a certain approach I should consider. My daughter will turn seven in a little over a week and I find she gets bored very easily with her homeschool activities which makes me wonder whether I’m meeting her needs.
However, if I add a more challenging activity, she cries because it’s too hard. I really don’t want her to have a bitter experience with school. I’m afraid she’s building resistance and/or manipulating.
Do you have any suggestions on how to deal with this? I am currently not following any curriculum simply because I’ve no clue where to start. Because of this I feel a bit overwhelmed with the lack of structure and as to what to do, where to start and how to go about the whole matter.”
Here’s what I told her…
Where to Start and How to Keep Going
1. Get involved with other homeschoolers in your area.
They will offer lots of ideas and support. Often local homeschooling families come together weekly and the parents teach classes. If there isn’t anything like this, start your own! It’s something to look forward to and something to work toward each week.
If you don’t want to get involved in weekly teaching, you could join their field trips. Plus you’ll both make friends with people who understand your lifestyle.
2. Print out a copy of The Core Knowledge Sequence (see this post for the link) and look for topics to cover.
It’s a handy, free reference of grade-appropriate school topics and can be a life saver when you don’t know where to start. You could read the list to your child and have her pick what looks interesting, then go to the library and find material.
You can also choose the topics yourself and have the resources available to share with her.
3. Find a school supply store or a teacher store in your area.
They have lots of workbooks for you to browse and find something to work through. This will give you some structure at low cost and commitment. Find a math book, then maybe one other topic to see if she likes working this way.
We always had some sort of workbook that made the kids feel like they were in school and gave me something to assign if things weren’t going great that day.
4. Make your day as structured as you like.
Some families do better with more structure. You could start with an hour a day of scheduled activities, then she could move to reading a book she chose from the library or a book on tape while she draws or paints.
You’re right about not wanting her to be bitter about homeschooling. Finding what she enjoys and gets wrapped up in…that’s the key.
5. Sign her up for lessons, community theater, or park district activities (music, art, sports, drama).
Anything that gets her out of the house and with other people will relieve boredom complaints and help her find her interests.
6. Help her start a business or volunteer.
When Melissa was around 10 years old, she started a dog walking service in the neighborhood. Maybe you have elderly neighbor or a friend at church who needs a helper once in awhile.
- Three Ways to Motivate a Reluctant Learner
- What to Do With Homeschool Doubt
- What Really Matters in Homeschooling
- Beginning Homeschooling
What advice would you give to this new homeschooler?