Are You Too Hard On Your Kids?

When I started homeschooling my son in the early 90’s, I really thought I had it all together.  I had worked in a Christian school for numerous years, and I knew the way things worked. The most important thing a classroom needed was order.

I bought a wooden classroom desk and chair for Tim, and a wall mounted dry erase board for me.  Day after day, he would sit at his desk and obediently do every page of work I would assign to him (and I assigned lots of coloring, cutting, writing and reading). I was determined to make my son an over-achiever.

Then toward the middle of the school year, something happened.  I would walk into the room and find Tim sleeping at his desk.  When I  would wake him to finish working, he would burst out in tears.  All of a sudden, he HATED coloring…AND books!!  The only thing he wanted to do was lay on the floor and play with his cars and trucks.  Every school morning was a nightmare – and he was only in Pre School!!!

That was when I started to pray and reflect.  Why is this happening? Is this normal?  Is Tim the problem, or is it me?  What do I do?  Here are the conclusions I came to (they set a wonderful and successful foundation for my homeschooling for years down the road).

1)  Homeschool is NOT the same as an institutionalized school – therefore, I need to relax a bit on the formalities. When a teacher is working with numerous kids, there has to be a certain order or chaos will reign – but when it is just me and my two kids at HOME, I cater to what THEIR needs are – not a Christian School classroom’s needs. 

2)  When I am working with a curriculum guide in my homeschool, I must remember that it is just a ‘guide’.  If I see that my child is well versed in the concept being taught, I don’t need to give him 10 pages a day covering that SAME topic.  I can use that time for something more important.

3)  Why am I such a drill sergeant when in school? Is it for my benefit or for the well being of my children?  Am I pushing my kids to be overachievers because it makes me (the homeschool mom) look good in front of others?  And If I don’t receive that recognition and acceptance from others – does it cause me to educationally beat up on my kids?  When I teach – it should be for the benefit of my child – not for MY self gratification.   

4)  Children learn best when they are enjoying themselves. What methods can I put into my teaching that will make my kids enjoy learning?

5)  Am I pushing too hard? I must take note of my kids reactions during the school day.  Do they seem really distracted, bored or overly tired? Children’s body language will tell a lot about whats going on inside – learn how to watch for it,  read it and assess it.

The above is not just for preschoolers or elementary school kids – but I used these methods all the way through high school as well.  Having a successful homeschool takes work and tons of effort – you’ve got this!!

‘The principal goal of education is to create men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done’           Jean Piaget

2 replies

  1. I’m in tears as I write this. This is me with my 7 year old daughter. I committed on another one of your posts, about adding fun into homeschooling. I told you how my daughter wants to play. I was too ashamed to tell you or anyone else how I am when teaching her. This is why she wants to play and whines when it’s time to do work. I know I’m the problem. Thank you for this abundance of information you share. Thank you for sharing your story but also for sharing tips on how to make it better.


    • Yes, I really do understand. There were sooo many times in my homeschooling years that I literally cried like a baby at the end of the day because I felt so sorry for my kids. I felt so guilty because I knew in different circumstances that I wasn’t doing my best, and they were suffering for it. But honestly those were the breaking points that brought about change in my school because I couldn’t bear to stay the same – I HAD to change or I couldn’t live with myself – and I DID change in many ways. A little at a time….day by day….a little change here and a little change there.

      Don’t be discouraged when you recognize a failure – be encouraged, because you actually recognize it!! Now go and DO something about it.

      kids like to play – they LIVE to play, and learn through play – but they need to be taught how to work without playing as well. They are not adults – and it is unnatural for them to work like us. So in school as we teach the younger children, we have to incorporate play and fun into their learning, and it will be a joy for them – and us. Also, when we give them worksheets/seatwork to do, when they finish, give them a 10-15 minute break so they can relax a little before their next serious subject. I used to do this for my high schoolers (after tests) as well (but not as many…
      Homeschooling is a huge learning experience for parents – you’ll get there!


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