Homeschooling, the wrong choice?

Hello, looking for advice or encouragement or maybe both! Warning this could get long! My Daughter is 8, we have always homeschooled her and her younger brothers. None of them have ever been to public care or school. The end of last year and so far this year have been really rough with my daughter. She baulks at almost everything I ask her to do, school related or not! She still pitches fit like a two year old over simple things when she uses her time unwisely and doesn’t like the outcome of her own actions, so for example getting her to do regular routine things, like get ready to go in the car. Is an absolute nightmare. Even when she is given proper time notices and warnings! Her brother whom is 6.5 is not like this most days. I know we all have bad days, but she is really wearing me out, when as the oldest I need her to be more helpful. So now I am starting to wonder if homeschooling is the best for her or if I am making a mistake homeschooling her? I also am seriously lacking in the support department, so I don’t feel like there is anyone close to me who I can truly talk to about it. My husband thinks she should go to ps. I am hesitant as I don’t think she would do well at all and our local schools are not great to start with. Which is one of the reasons we homeschool to start with! I am just feeling really frustrated, lost and alone. If you made it this far thanks for reading! Any ideas or moms that have delt with similar situations? TIA.

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Hello @MomMichelle!

I am sorry you are so frustrated at this time with your daughter. I know there are times when I feel the same way with my children, especially with my oldest (also a daughter) when she was about your daughter’s age, as I expected so much from her.
We want our children to have the best opportunities in life, we give so much of ourselves to them, and we see things a certain way, with a vision to accomplish the work set before us, and then somehow it doesn’t always seem to flow!
I’d like to encourage you in the work you are doing as a mother, though. This is certainly a part of it. It won’t go away if she goes to public school. I find I am always learning, with my children. It’s amazing how much learning and changing * I * need. I firmly believe that it is in our everyday circumstances that God uses to shape us and to transform us into whom He is making us like, His Son, if we are His.
I too look for support and I like to learn from older godly women, and I immediately thought of the following women as I was reading your post - if you’d be interested in reading their blogs here they are:
The Character Corner - Kathy Morrissey
The Transformed Wife - Lori Alexander
Above Rubies - Nancy Campbell (the latest women’s devotional through email was wonderful, I can forward it to you.)
I am encouraged by these women, who continue to share the truth of God and the need of our work as women and mothers and that is so good for us to have in terms of encouragement. I hope you look them up. And I hope things will work out at home. Sometimes we need a new breath and some new way to do things a bit differently. Sometimes we exasperate our children. Sometimes they just need more discipline. Being home with them and they with you is the best place to work things out. God bless!

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Homeschooling isn’t easy. We reject an existing structure in order to create our own. Then all of the pressure and anxiety fall on our shoulders. To support, encourage, and nurture our children, while simultaneously holding enough in reserve for ourselves. Have you found anyone with whom you and your kids can spend time that make you feel better about the entire proposition? There are a few moms I spend time with who make me feel better, despite the fact that we are doing very different things with our schooling time. Hearing their stress and worry mirror my own, even when the issues are different, is reassuring. It carries me for awhile, and certainly rejuvenates my commitment and sense of what I am doing. So, first, are you setting yourself up to be replenished in any way?

Second question I would ask is whether you talk about this issue with your kids at calm times? Not in the heat of the moment when no one will get in the car and you are ready to blow your lid. Or give away a kid. But the next day, or later, have you really talked to your kids about the struggle you are facing?

I would start there. Explain the pressure and the amount of work you put in, trying to make this a successful venture. If they don’t hold up their end of the bargain, by keeping a good attitude, and trying to complete their responsibilities, then you’re not going to be able to keep doing what you are doing. I’m open with my kids about this, particularly my 10 year old, who has been oppositional about work for the last 2 years, at least. When I explain that I can’t do this, if she doesn’t help it to work, she comes back to toe the line.

Another thing that helped me a lot was writing her assignments for the day, including basic chores like the dishwasher, in spiral notebook with the date. That way, instead of having a fight with me over what we are or are not doing, she’s done when she checks everything off the list. Free time, and / or a reward, are often the follow-up to a successful day. Then, too, on other days, if she is trying, but I put too much in the book, I will take things out. We create a dialogue, which usually helps, but don’t kid yourself. There is a still a tug of war over things. That is part of who she is. But she knows, if she doesn’t help this to work, she will have to go to school to accomplish the same things.

Take deep breaths. Have a heart to heart over ice cream with her. Show her how important this is to you, and how serious you are in it. Create a contract together, if you need to. This too, like everything else, is only a part of the journey. It just FEELS like it’s going on forever. It means you need to tweak something. You can do this, mama, you just need to have faith in yourself, and you will find a way through this to a more balanced day to day life. No matter what that outcome is for you and she. Best of luck.

Hi Michelle! I’m sorry you’re having a rough time right now! Some seasons of homeschooling and just plain parenting are difficult.

One question to ask yourself–since she is balking at even things like getting ready to go in the car, why would that get better if she went to public school? In my experience, when kids are around more kids, they learn more ways to act out, so I wouldn’t really expect that she’ll learn good behavior. There can be reasons to choose public school, but this wouldn’t be one on my list.

I would take a step back and try to discern why she is giving you more trouble. It could be that she feels that pressure of being the oldest and it feels like your expectations are unfair. Or sometimes a child will feel they have to “act better” since they are the oldest but there isn’t a commensurate reward. Since she’s only 8, you might consider whether some of the expectations just feel like pressure to her (not that you meant them that way at all), and whether you may need to have all of the expectations be the same for awhile.

Sometimes kids act out if they are trying to get more attention–even bad attention is better than no attention to a child (and they don’t really know and understand that they don’t want this!). Consider whether she might feel left out in some things and might be acting out to get attention.

Another possibility could be related to personality. Sometimes a certain way of parenting really works well with one child but not with another. It could be that the way you parent really resonates with your 6 year-old (and/or that your 6 year-old could be a more easy-going kid or more of a people-pleaser or more of a peace-maker)–but that it doesn’t work as well for your oldest. You may need to consider different approaches and strategies for your oldest due to personality or other differences.

There are some stages of parenting, and I suspect she has entered into a different one from your younger ones. Age 8 is a common age for parents to post about problems with a child. Sometimes our parenting styles have to shift as kids grow up–and that 8-12 age range does need some differences in parenting compared to that 4-7 age range.

Pray about it and ask God to give you a window into her heart and give you wisdom in how best to parent her. Some children really hate to change gears and need to know farther ahead of time–they may need more 5- minute warnings to help them mentally prepare for switching gears. Some children have trouble remembering auditory instructions or multi-step instructions, and need things presented more incrementally. Sometimes an oldest child gets “wise in her own eyes” and thinks that she should decide what to do and when to do it (sort of a “third parent” type of thinking.)

Hang in there! God will walk with you on this journey!