When your 6th grader just chooses NOT to try

Going into the 3rd week of homeschooling & my 6th grade son who has had academic struggles since Kindergarten is just genuinely choosing not to try anymore. He just doesn’t care & even today said he just wants to rush & finish so he can have his freedom (go outside, play in his room, etc.)!! When I actually take the time to help him, it takes about an hour n a half to two hours to do a subject and he still struggles with the review parts & scores low…like D/F low! When he does it by himself he finishes in less than 30 minutes & fails!! But both our sanity stays in tack!! I thought bringing him home & giving him that extra time would help him…so far, no change and I’m feeling that him being home distracts him more than he was in a classroom :frowning: Has anyone been through this and came out striving at the other end?? Any good articles to read about this?? I’m starting to accept the fact that he just isn’t academic material :frowning:

I’ll preface this by saying: I don’t have experience.

However, in reading a lot of blogs over a few years, maybe he needs a different learning style? I did Public School, and while I did fine copying blackboards of text onto paper, because I could remember where I saw it on the page. But my friend struggled greatly, because she didn’t learn that way.

When my mom HS my brother last year, she found that if she started too early in the day, he struggled all day. But if she waited until 11 am, and did math before lunch, and English after lunch he did pretty good. She hated doing school until 3 or 4pm, but it worked so much better for him.

I hope you figure out a solution that works for both of you!!


Thank you :slight_smile: You’re absolutely right, I don’t want to do studies till the late afternoon :wink: My ideal is 2pm!! :slight_smile: I could try that kind of schedule one day and see how it goes…I honestly don’t think there’s ever a good time for this kid!! LOL! :wink:

Sorry you are going through this. We are going through something very similar with our son. Last year he did great and this year is a HUGE struggle. We lost my Dad last year and I think that played into it. I wish I had advice for you, but we are in the same boat with no answers at this point.
But I can pray for you and certainly if we find anything that works I will pass it on. Also when you start homeschool it is an adjustment for all, so that could be playing into it as well. It looks like bestcee has some good ideas.
Can I ask how your son feels about homeschooling? Was he excited to start? My kids really had mixed emotions in the beginning. While they were excited to homeschool, they really missed a lot of things from traditional school. Maybe that is playing into this as well?
Hang in there hon! He is lucky to have a Mom that is going the distance trying to figure it all out.


Hello! I’m sorry to hear about your dad…my condolences​:heart: And thank you for your prayers! I have been lacking in that area big time!! Definitely the right place to start. He is extremely happy to be homeschooled! He enjoys being home. Especially after having to deal with occasional bullies. But I told him we all go through that & that’s not why he’s home now. He’s home so he can catch up, have more one on one time when needed. But he doesn’t see it that way. I’m going to look more into how people overcome this issue…anything I find I will share with you too :slight_smile: May we both be sensitive to the Lord and hear what He wants us to do…or not do! Maybe we’re to stand still and let Him do His thing :wink:

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I’m having similar concerns too! My son would rather rush through and go play than actually do school. We clash every day about doing school just like we did when he went to public school. While I have zero advice to offer, I wanted to share that my hope is by being consistent and not giving up that he will eventually come around. I understand that I might be waiting for a long time to see results but I’m willing to do it. I had hoped to see instant change like so many other homeschoolers seem to see but that’s not to be I guess. hang in there!!


My son is in 7th grade this year and we struggle also. This is our 4th year homeschooling. We didn’t have issues prior to this. We both cry a lot cause of frustration. Some days I just want to throw in the towel. On the other hand, we have good days as well. The good days are what gets me through the bad. I pray for patience every morning. I can across a blog called “Raising Real Men” and that has helped me a lot. They have raised 6 boys and share their experience. They also have a great book that helps understand boys. I recommend you check out their site! From what I’ve read, it’s an age and hormone thing. I thought it was crazy at first but after thinking about it and watching my son, I really do think they are right. He gets very moody and cries about nothing. He gets depressed and feels stupid when it comes to school work and nothing I say changes his attitude. I’ve learned to just step back, try to encourage him and it helps. I’ve made him responsible for finishing his own school work and that helps too. I wish I could offer more advice but just know you aren’t alone. I will def pray for you!!


My son is entering 3rd grade this year so not as old as yours but he certainly has areas that he is interested in and areas that he could care less about. He absolutely hates writing and he hated reading last year. So he didn’t write, in fact often times he would tell me the answer and I would write it for him when it came to things like explode the code and even some of his math problems. For reading we either had 2 reading sessions or just a shorter session. I’ve adjusted that again. Now I read to him quite a bit (both kids actually) and if there are comprehension questions or whatever he answers them. For his reading I use a reader from CLE and he reads a couple of pages only, thats what he can do without becoming upset. We’ll extend the number of pages as we can.
I also have a 14 year old daughter that I pulled out of public school last year. We went through 5 math programs before I found one that she was agreeable with. I also changed her L/A program from 1 grade level below where she was to the same grade level as her brother, this is where she needed to be. She knows she struggles and I’ve talked and talked and talked to her about the fact that she is at different levels in different subjects AND THATS OK. I also remind her that she kicks tush in riding dirt bikes, other kids don’t even know how to start one let alone race or jump or scare their mothers nearly to death, but she’s great at it!
Some things that have changed my views and really helped me to understand my kids are not made from cookie cutters are:
Simply Classical by Cheryl Swope. Hands down the best homeschooling/educational book I’ve read.
Just about any podcast by Andrew Pudewa especially Teaching Boys and Other Kids Who Would Rather Be Playing in Forts and Nurturing Competent Communicators,
Two books I just ordered because of A. Pudewa are Boys Adrift and Why Gender Matters, both by Dr. L. Sax.

Hope this helps, hang in there.

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Thank you so much!! Will look into this website…hormones can definitely play a huge role, no argument there :wink: And thank you for your prayers too! Will be praying for all the mamas out there that are going through the same struggle.

Awesome!!! Can’t wait to get my hands on these books too!!! LOOOVE encouraging books and ones with tips & tricks that have been tried and works :slight_smile: At least you’re trying to help him at such a young age…I let it get this far before finally saying enough is enough! Good job catching it early!!

I have a daughter who had a common attitude towards school. I have found that her learning style is totally different from her older sister. This year we have changed the style of learning to a Charlotte Mason style. It is based on living books & short lessons. This is working so much better for her then the public school textbook style of learning. There are many Charlotte Mason resources & sites on the net to help you find ideas & materials. Hands on , short lessons, creative projects, living books & lots of outdoor time have really made a difference in my daughter’s outlook on school.

Hang in there. Homeschooling your children is not always going to be easy, but in the long run it’s so worth it. Try a different way of learning & maybe it will help. I have had to change our curriculum choices several times over 6 years because sometimes it just didn’t work.
Praying God will show you a way to help your son. I think you said it best “Maybe we’re to stand still & let him (God) do his thing”. Pray, wait & listen. We all need to be reminded of that. :wink:


Thank you for this encouragement♡

I’m going through this with my 2nd grader. …any suggestions at his age? Do I just take things back a knotch and beore relaxed than last year?

You’re catching the signs early so that’s a plus!! Find his learning style ASAP and start looking into curriculums that focus on that style! Reading comprehension!!! Is he on level or would one say he’s a year or two behind? I think these kids would have more confidence in themselves & more interest in their work if they have understanding of what they’re reading…including the directions part! My husband just recently suggested that I take 5-10mins a day to review lower grade level stuff…might just have to do that :wink: Your his project manager!! You’re building his academic foundation…don’t let it go to the next stage if there’s gaps :slight_smile: I learned that the hard way! :slight_smile:

Is this all subjects, or just certain ones?

Have you considered having him tested for learning disabilities?

It’s all subjects…but I believe it’s two factors. Reading comprehension isn’t good AND it’s not catching his interest. He can play drums amazingly!! He likes this math program they just started him on…Thinking Through Math I believe it’s called. With every right answer/lesson you earn money/points and can buy things. He LOOOVES it!!! They made it fun! Rewarding!! So I know he can learn…when he chooses to! When it’s fun, competing, rewarding right away! He’s trying to pass up the other kids!! He’s determined! Wish they could make all subjects like that! I don’t see the need to test him for any disabilities…I know the ability to learn is in him…it’s just having that part of him come out when needed is the tricky part! :wink:

I asked about learning disabilities because you mentioned academic struggles since K and that he’s giving up. You also mentioned that even when you help him for up to 2 hours, he still gets d’s or f’s, and that doesn’t sound typical. Most kids who have learning disabilities are bright and have the ability to learn when taught in the way that meets their needs. Many are even gifted. Many go undetected because kids are smart enough to compensate for their struggles, but will reach a point where it’s all too exhausting and give up. They have to work 5 times harder than the average student to achieve less desirable results and it looks like not trying on the outside because it’s all brain work that’s wearing them out. Reading comprehension struggles would signal to me that something could be going on, so I would look into why he struggles with comprehension. Things like gaps in phonogram knowledge or vocabulary, word-guessing issues and other factors can play a part, as can things like dyslexia, vision processing struggles, or other issues. Some kids learn to read with whole-language methods and then bottom out in upper elementary.

If it’s mainly tests, it may be that some test-taking strategies would help him. Many kids don’t understand things like key words and how they help you understand what a test is asking for.

You mentioned homeschooling but also how a program structures things–maybe it’s an online school? Are you able to see the tests and review them with him? Is he missing things that you helped him study for? His point is understandable–if a lot of effort yields a d or an f, why put in that effort–what’s the payoff? So, in some way you need to get to the bottom of why even extra study doesn’t help him understand and retain the material despite his being bright. If it goes back to reading issues, then pursue that avenue.

Hang in there!


Thank you for this information! Could also just be a mama in denial of a learning disability :-/ I do need to sit down & take more time to figure it out. I guess at this point it can’t hurt to get tested. I will ask his online teacher about this.

I was that mom for awhile! I think I was afraid to know, and I didn’t understand what learning disabilities really were (stigma’s from my youth and lack of info!). But, please know I’m not saying your son has one–just that something is at the bottom of his struggles and that affects motivation. It’s possible that competition could be the magic ticket in other subjects as well…I guess I just recognized enough signs from our journey that I thought it warranted mentioning.

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Look into unschooling instead of the traditional sit down and do work way. I am currently researching unschooling because my 8 year old is getting tired of workbooks, siting at her desk etc. Everyday is a struggle. This isn’t to say we won’t be doing some workbook time. Some things you just have to do like math. But I am looking for more living life, meaningful learning based on their interests.