Listen. I love my kids so much. We all do. I mean mine are the best. Shine like stars. Thanks for loving them, too.
We all love our own kids immensely. We want the best for them. If you homeschool, you’ve decided that your home is the best place for them to learn their academics. But sometimes, there’s a kid who always makes you yell, even if you just won a million dollars, tax-free.
There’s one who you always make cry. You tell her she’s pretty in a harsh voice and she tears up. And you tell her she stinks in a soft, loving voice and she glows. Kids are crazy.
We have tears and yelling sometimes in our homeschool. It happens. Some years more frequently than others. Some school topics more frequently than others. Some kids more frequently than others. We have had tears or yelling over:
- Where to put the apostrophe in English contractions
- Whether to add or subtract numbers in elementary school story problems and pre-algebra problems (Example: Solve for X when X-357 =120)
- Writing thoughts down on paper to construct paragraphs or essays
- Failed crafts
- The feeling that too much school work has been assigned
- My voice
- Their voice
- Their eyes
- My eyes
- Critical remarks from on-line teachers
- Not fitting in anywhere
Yep. We’ve had tears and yelling. Yelling and tears, to me, mean something is wrong. Something is not right. It does not mean my child is defiant. It means something is wrong, and the buck stops with me.
I’m going to assume if you’re reading this that you have tried the take-a -break, go-get- coffee, hold-hands-and-pray posts. You’ve learned all that. You’ve remembered to use your resources and identify learning styles. All that jazz.
Today and the next post, I want to point out a few ideas that I have internalized which have helped me through our trying homeschooling experiences, so we can stop the tears and yelling. I could write an e-book on this one day, I think. 🙂 But I’ll keep it somewhat short.
When I have to repeat myself, we’re heading for trouble.
From tricky (to the kids) math concepts to writing expository essays, when I hear myself explaining things I’ve explained before, I can tell you one of us will come to tears, exasperated words, or yelling. Whether it’s explaining something repeatedly in four different ways over the course of ten minutes or explaining it in thirty seconds reminders repeatedly over the last month, if they can’t remember important information or processes, I get testy.
The condescending questions start insidiously, “Why aren’t you getting this?” and “Why is this difficult for you?” They’re asked innocently enough, but they are the START flag to the race. My kids commence looking down at their papers, doodling, looking away from me. In their own ways, they’re trying to avert this situation, too, although it’s usually counterproductive.
So when I see myself explaining something multiple times, I know I’m on thin ice and I have to make sure I’m using every single adult neuron in my brain. I know if I don’t change my past behaviors, we will not move forward in any way, shape, or form. And that’s not okay. When the sign says, “Bridge out.” It means the bridge is out! When the signs say, “argument coming.” That’s what they mean!
Evaluate the fear in the situation.
Why do I deteriorate as a teacher and parent when my kids aren’t “getting it?” I have tried my hardest! My kid (yes, whether I believe it or not) has tried her hardest (as she perceives it). Why are we both so frustrated that she’s not getting it?
FEAR. And it is said that fear leads to anger, and anger leads to hate. Whether it’s hating me, hating our homeschool, or hating writing, I don’t want my child to have anything to do with hating anything!
What fears do we have?
- My child is getting behind and is not keeping up with her peers.
- Grandma and Grandpa are keeping tabs on our education, and here is another example for them to say I’m not doing a good job homeschooling.
- My child won’t perform well on standardized tests (and college admission tests).
- My child might have a learning disorder.
- My child will never get this!
- I can’t think of any more ways to teach this!
- My child does not listen well and is going to grow up to be an absent-minded or insolent adult.
- I must be a bad teacher.
- My child does not try and will be lazy and not get a job in the real world.
- My child will not be prepared for college.
- I’m running out of time to get lunch made.
- I’m running out of time to help brother and sisters with their homeschool topics.
- I’m running out of time before we have to make this appointment.
- I’m letting mom down.
- I’ll never get this stuff. I’m not smart enough.
- I really can’t remember what I’m told.
- Mom is mad at me.
- I won’t make it in college.
- I will do badly on standardized tests.
- I won’t have time to play with my friends if I have to do all this stuff.
- Mom is going to give me more homework if I can’t figure this out.
- Mom is disappointed in me.
- Mom and Dad won’t love me if I can’t do school right.
- I’m not as smart as my parents or brothers and sisters.
- I’m going to have a late lunch because we’re working on this, and I’m so hungry.
That’s a lot of fear going around! Once I identify the fears, I come from a place of compassion for myself and my child–and not anger. That’s a healthier place to parent and teach from.
To summarize today’s post: 1) If you have homeschool tears and yelling, well, join the club! 2) Try the usual suggested things to head them off. (Take a break, change curriculum, find a friend to teach your kid, modify the environment, etc.) 3) Know you are responsible for finding a peaceful way through this homeschooling dilemma. 4) Identify the signs that pop up every time you have homeschool tears and yelling and heed them! 5) Give words to the fears behind the tears and yelling!
Kids are amazing. And so are you. Figure it out! You can do it!
Part 2 on Monday!