Power Struggles with Your Homeschool?
Hey there, it’s Caleb at http://homeschool-curriculum.org. Welcome to the weekly blog or my attempt to have it as a weekly blog. This week I want to share a little bit of something that’s going on in our household.
Chances are it has happened in your household or other households that you know. First, we had a great summer. It was busy. We were active. We did a lot of day camps. Had visitors, we took vacations, travel, all of that, we just kind of put homeschooling to the side. For me, that’s something I really like about it because with homeschooling we can be flexible, we have freedom, we can choose the time and the place that we want to get back into more of a routine. However, as the beginning of August was coming around, I said, “Hey, it’s time to get into a routine pretty soon.” I’m saying to my son, “We’re going to homeschool soon. I can’t wait to get going.” You know, my wife and I have been cooking up some great ideas. We have some plans for this year. It’s going to be a fantastic year and we know you’re a year older and you’re going to come at this from a place of even more maturity and engagement. I should have started reading his responses because they were like so-so.
Finally we got to the Monday of the homeschooling week. You know, I’m ready to start in. I’m all keyed up. I’ve been telling him all weekend, “Monday’s coming, let’s do it! I can’t wait.” And it happened. He said, “Math is boring. Why do we got to do this?” This kind of “meh” reaction to the whole deal.
Oh, my gosh! Here I am. I’m the expert and this is happening in my own household. It’s like when you’re coaching a team and your kid doesn’t want to play. You’re like, “Wait a second, we need to be on the same team here, buddy.”
Make Homeschool Adjustments
I figure this happens in just about every homeschooling household. I wanted to share some of the ways that you could respond to it and some of the ways I did respond to it. I’m just kind of taking you through my reactions as we went through it. The first one was, I call this “Making an Adjustment” or maybe my “Plan B.” Make any adjustments; “Okay, I get you math might be boring. I had some subjects I found were boring, too. What should we change here? How can we fix this? What could be different?” It might be just tweaking a couple of things. “Hey, you know what? We’re doing worksheets. They are a drag.”
It could be, “Hey you know what? We’re doing so much in one shot, we could just do smaller periods. Take breaks, what are some different things?” Those adjustments are easy. You might consider just chucking math out the window for a bit and say, “We’ll come back on that. You’re doing well enough on that and, look, we’ll just come back to it.”
So you talk about that and maybe you’ll get the reaction you need so you make the adjustment you need to make. If that doesn’t work though, they say, “Well, I just don’t want to do any of it.” Then your making adjustments isn’t going to work out so well.
We move on to reasoning, right? Reasoning is really taking them serious and respecting them. Say, “Well, you know, these are the reasons that are important to me. I think that we’re doing this homeschooling deal because, you know, it’s a different education for you. It’s going to offer you just a different experience that’s just unique to everything. It’s really special that you could do these things. We need math as something in our future so we can, you know, be able to either it’s going to be business, if it’s going to be science, if it’s going to be engineering, if it’s going to be to balance your checkbook or if it’s going to know what the discount is on the item you want to purchase. You’re going to need this math. It’s going to be important.” Reasoning could work for you. I didn’t get that type of reaction from him.
So, we moved right along.
I said the next place I go to is a guilt trip.
“Because if you’re not listening my reasoning and we’re not going to make adjustments, I’ll tell you what. I work so hard, decades, to get to this point where I can provide this type of education for you…” and at this point I don’t know how lost or not, “but I can provide this type of education for you, that maybe you could just help me by responding and working through this with me, you know, we can do this together.”
If the guilt trip works, it’s fantastic. It’s probably grudging and probably isn’t going to work for very long. So you fast forward or you switch right from guilt trip if you don’t like that avenue and go right into punishment which I seriously considered.
I said, “Okay that means that if you aren’t going to do this stuff that means no play dates, you’re not going to be able to play on the electronics you want to do, we’re not going to do any of the fun stuff you want until we get this done.” The punishment approach could work, but it’s really a loser’s game. For me, it takes the respect out of dealing with my child even if he’s not respecting the situation back.
I’m the Parent
The one I like that if you get through, you know, guilt trips not working, punishments not working, let’s just fall back on, “Well, we’re going to do it because I’m the parent and I say so.” Right?
That’s the one that we just pull out and we try never to pull it out of our bag of tricks. I didn’t get there either. As I thought through some of the reactions we just do, “I’m the parent and I say so.”
Lastly, though, the reaction that I’ve really considered and this is what we ended up doing is really the things that we have asked about when we were their age. We said, “Hey, why don’t you respect me? Why don’t you trust me? You know, I’m capable of making good decisions. Why don’t you trust my judgment?” So I said to him, I said, “Hey, look, you know I’ll trust your judgment. We’ve got a couple of options here. One of them is going to do this thing and we can work through it for all the reasons I mentioned. We’ve been through reasoning, making adjustments, all those things. We can go and do the homeschooling thing but that may not be for you. We can go and do the schooling thing, because there’s a good school right down the road and we can put you right into that school. It’s just a matter of you telling me how you want to do this. I know I’ve got one picture of the school he’d be going to
and I know he’s got a different picture of the school he’d be going to.
I did have a little bit of gamesmanship going on there, but I let it lie with him.
Just a few minutes later he came and found me and said, “All right, Dad. Let’s do this homeschooling thing,” and we started off.
The point of this story is, I think respecting our kids, really bringing them to a point where they start to use their judgment and having to think it through, really builds to a more solid decision in the long run. From my side, this is an expression I share with my kids all the time and I know a couple times on these videos here is, “It always works out.” That’s it for this week. This is Caleb at http://homeschool-curriculum.org. Thanks for tuning in!