Most families has at least one child who hates school at some level. I know that I did! My second child struggled with learning to read and because of that his self-confidence struggled and his attitude was challenging on some days. I knew my son was smart and capable of overcoming his challenges but I needed to work on what stood in the way of his learning and joy of learning and that was… his self-confidence.
Those who hate school often times are the ones that are dealing with the lack of confidence because of a learning struggle.
At the time of this struggle, I wasn't finding a lot of help except for this poor advice…”Just wait until next year, he may not be ready to learn and may need more time.”
Please listen to me, this was NOT the right advice and my son struggled because of me listening to this advice. These tips that I'm about to share with you are what did work and each of these proved important to his need of building his confidence and trusting that he was able to learn. Today he is graduated and has more self-confidence than I ever dreamed he would have and yes, I just about cried typing that one!
7 Ways to Homeschool a Child that Hates School
- Be Patient – This is not one of my strong points, trust me. However, it was so important for me to stay patient with every lesson, because if I wasn't, his self-confidence crumbled to the foundation and it took weeks to rebuild. During this time, we stayed into books that were easy readers, way below where others his age was reading. My goal for this stage was for me to build his confidence and that came with him hearing himself read as fast as his older sister, who was a skilled reader. His perfectionistic mind has always been this way, so why wouldn't it fall into his school work? After several months of just reading easy readers his skill got to the point where he was reading quick. I then moved up to the next level, until he was reading at his level and always reading aloud because this is where he struggled with his self-confidence. As I mentioned before, waiting later wasn't wise for either of us. It made me impatient because of his age and it made him have less confidence because of his age. So I would advice, ‘instead of waiting, put your full focus on practice in the area where they can perform and then once they do it well, increase the difficulty.' You will see so much progress doing it this way and patience will be easier for the both of you.
- Find Their Interest – When I started seeing that my son was always looking for creatures, I invested in field guides for us to learn more about what he was finding in our yard. In addition, we would visit the library and bring home a stack of books on the animals that he was wanting to learn about. During this time, we were only reading easy readers and he ‘believed' that he couldn't read. However, after he would find the creature in the field guide, on his own, and would sit with this book, he was able to retell me about the habitat, their diet and where they lived. I was shocked! He could read and read so well that he was comprehending at a higher level than his age. His lessons became all about animals! Our geography was based off animals. He learned about people who studies animals.
- Plan Educational Field Trips – My son was interested in weapons and battles, so he would read a lot about these in books. We live in a historically rich area, so we would do a lot of educational field trips because he proved to retain more through audio learning than through books. What amazed me is that after we did a field trip, his interest was captured and then I could introduce a book and he would do well with it. Finding what opportunities are around you is really important and a great way to break up the mundane of homeschooling, especially for a child who hates school.
- Implement Nature Walks – As a Charlotte Mason home educator, we just loved doing nature walks. My son who hated school and dreaded Mondays because of it, was thrilled for a nature walk. It didn't take long for him to become our teacher. I remember times when he did a presentation of a garner snake with some of our friend at their house. He was so proud of himself being a teacher. Another time, he was giving ‘how to catch a snake' to his siblings, with me sitting watching them. In addition to the nature walks, we would do journaling of what they found. My son always drew in his free time and still draws today!
- Do Oral Work for Some Subjects – My son hated writing because he struggled with spelling with his obvious challenge with reading. Doing oral work accomplished several things for us: it gave me the knowledge that he was retaining and it gave him the confidence to know that he was really smart and just needed more focused practice where he struggled so he could get better. Spelling can be done orally while they are learning the word and then a test can be done written to see how they do, but only after the oral test has great results.
- Practice Writing in Disguise – If I told my son to write about an animal in his journal, he was thrilled to do it. However, he hated to write. If he wrote to his cousin, he was enjoying it but he didn't want to write about his field trip that he shared in the letter. He would be happy to help me write my grocery list, but writing spelling words were torture for him.
- Invest in Educational Resources – Learning is different for a lot of people and finding out how each child learns best can help you find good education resources to make learning fun, even for a child who hates school. We used a lot of unabridged books on tape or CD, we used animal shows and Liberty Kids or Jonathan Parks to teach them things that most people only use books to teach. We would watch videos on battles or people.
I will never forget when my son was in 7th grade and I purchased a series of books for him because they were set in the Medieval times. It didn't take him long to come to me and tell me, “These are the best books that I have ever read!” I thought I was going to cry a bucket of tears right then because it was the first time THIS child enjoyed a book that wasn't about animals.
It was that year that I started to see more confidence build in him and his attitude about homeschooling change. He quickly became an independent learner and went on to teach himself golf, fishing and many other things. So you can homeschool a child that hates school and turn them into a lover of learning… but first find the ‘why' and then use these tips to win them over!
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