I started homeschooling at the beginning of year 6 in 2020. I will admit that sometimes when it comes to schoolwork I can behave in ways that some people might call “defiant” and “stubborn”. I want to help other families find a way to have a happy and fun time homeschooling, so I'm writing this to help other people even though I don't love writing.
I'm going to talk about possible reasons for defiance now (these are from my experience and are not 100% going to apply to all children). Most of the time I don’t know what triggers me to become defiant in the first place. But later, when I can think about it I realise I was anxious. I don't always know the reason for me being anxious. But sometimes I do, for example–
- In public I am very good at hiding my emotions and that applies at school also. So when I started homeschooling - it was at home so I wasn’t needing to keep my feelings hidden, so I let them out and started having lots of meltdowns when mum tried to get me to do work.
- Some subjects at school I was very good at but didn't get the support I needed when I needed help. For example, in maths I am well above average so when there were a few gaps in my maths I got no help so I got very bored and found I had no motivation anymore. When I started homeschooling I still had that experience in my mind, so I started having meltdowns with maths because my body was so used to screaming inside me whenever I did maths at school.
- I feel I'm not very good at English/Writing but at school there are about 20 other kids to take the attention away from me if I feel I'm not doing well. At home, however, I am the only ‘student’ so I have all the ‘teachers’ eyes on me. It took me a while to get used to this and caused me anxiety.
- Also mum was a bit anxious too. She wanted to do a great job homeschooling me and was trying really hard. I think she was trying to win the “Homeschool Mother of the Year” Award. Her anxiousness made me anxious too.
So, we have looked at some things that caused me to behave in ways that some people would call “defiance”. Here are some solutions to try which I think might work. Once again these are not 100% going to accommodate every child's needs, but they helped me.
- Remember your child is probably not trying to be “defiant” - they are just anxious.
- Make sure everybody feels safe and secure (ask your child what will make them feel safe).
- Don't forget to ‘deschool’. Mum and I both needed to learn how homeschooling is different to regular school.
- Be a friend to your kid. Take time to have fun together, play games, do cooking and have fun in general.
- Be firm but make sure to be kind :)
- Give them something they can succeed at.
- And have fun :)
- Give lots of encouragement.
- Do lots of hands-on lessons. Don't be stuck at a desk (this really helps me).
- Focus on what your child enjoys learning about. If they don’t seem to enjoy anything, help them discover their passion.
- Make sure to not have any stress. Try to relax and don't be in a rush. Nobody learns when they are stressed out!
- Find a method that suits both the parent and the child.
- Check that the level of the work is just right. Make sure the level is not too hard or too easy otherwise the child will become bored very quickly.
- DON'T FORGET TO HAVE FUN!!!!
If I can help one family homeschool more happily, this will make all this writing worth it!