When Your Homeschooler Does Not Like School, 8 Steps to Re-fit Your Program
There is something you can do about it and that’s what makes homeschooling successful. When your child tells you that he doesn’t like school, you know the program doesn’t fit. Just like when a shoe pinches, it’s time to get a new one.
Your child will start showing signs when he does not like school. Red flags may appear in his attitude, action, and work. He might even come out and say he doesn’t like it with words that none of us like to hear. He might just be having a bad day. But when the problem continues day after day, it’s time to do something about it.
Step one - Completely ignore the undesirable actions, as long as he’s not hurting anyone. He doesn’t need any attention, negative or positive, as a reward.
Step two - Recognize with in yourself that it’s not working for him, and you need to make some changes. Keep it to yourself, don’t tell him about it just yet. Think back over the last few days, or weeks. At what times, in what subjects have these signs been showing up? Try to make as complete a list as you can. If there was a final blow up, what triggered it? Write down all your findings and conclusions.
Step three – Take a break. Stop school for a day. Do something the child enjoys. Now here’s the most important thing. Don’t connect it in any way to the bad behavior of the child. Make up an excuse. “Aunt Betty needs some help today. Let’s take the day off and go visit.”
Step four - Call the family together when every one is happy and there are no pressing emotional issues. The dinner table would be a good time. It’s important at this stage to keep a positive discussion. Start with one person, preferably one that has been having a good time at school. Ask “what do you like about school?” Write down the exact words of the answer. Ask another child and write down the answer. Continue until everyone has given two or three answers.
Now ask “What can we do to make school better?” Again, make no reference or connection to the targeted negative behavior. Write down the suggestions even if they are unreasonable or unrealistic. Children have big imaginations.
Step five – Take the child aside to a private place where you can be alone with him. This is between the two of you. Ask him for specific reasons why he’s done what he’s done or why he does not like school. Keep this private. He doesn’t need everyone giving their opinion or criticism. Ask what subjects are hard, which are easy. Are lessons too long, not plain, or is there not enough time. Write everything down.
Step six – Using all the data you’ve collected, let the child help you come up with a new schedule. If he’s suggested things that are out of the question, like having recess all day, explain that it won’t work. Allow a little longer time for subjects and projects that he enjoys. Take each of the other children in for a similar private conference. They don’t have to do something bad to get a little of your time and attention.
Step seven - Write up a new school schedule with the whole family. Let them know what changes will be made. Thank them all for their help.
Step eight - Make the new schedule happen as close to the way you wrote it as possible. Don’t let yourself slide back into the old habits.
Lily Ann is a mother to six bright children. She has enjoyed great success in the area of homeschooling. She is always looking for ways to improve and loves to learn new things. Please visit her website.