Over the years as I have talked with many potential homeschoolers, one of the common concerns is, “my kids would never listen to me!” Well, welcome to the club, I don’t know many kids who always listen to their parents. But don’t confuse the two: Your kids’ ability to listen is a parenting issue- whether you homeschool or not. (But sometimes homeschooling does magnify any parenting issues you’re having!! #hardtruth)
Homeschooling well is not a matter of teaching your child to listen or obey. I’m all for obedience and we are raising our kids to listen to us. But when it comes to education, the path is not through obedience but partnership. It’s taking off your I’m-in-charge hat occasionally and sitting next to your child as a partner. Sometimes they listen to you, and sometimes you listen to them.
Are your kids invested in their education? Homeschooling is so much more successful when kids have a say in what they do and how they do it. (Within reason of course, which is where you put your parent hat back on.) Kids don’t learn well when they feel powerless or like a pawn in a game. When their education is just a matter of “this is what you have to do.” Sure, every kid and every adult for that matter has stuff they have to do. But no one wants to work under a dictator. The people I know that do are miserable and not rising to their potential. Getting those have-to-do tasks done is best done in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Cooperation.
I can teach my kids all day til I’m blue in the face. My kids may even be “listening” to me. But later in the day, I realize, they have no clue what I just went over mostly because they didn’t care. By creating a partnership with your kids, you increase their chances of caring. They have to care just a little bit about what they’re learning or it’s pretty pointless. It won’t stick.
It’s easiest to feed your kids educationally when they are hungry. So watch your kid and see, what makes him hungry? What is he hungry for? When you see an appetite for something good and beautiful, feed it! How can you partner with your kid today? Instead of everything coming form the top-down-do-this-do-that, sit side by side. Really listen to your kids and be amazed at what you hear! They may end up teaching you something 🙂