The most popular question I get when I encourage parents to consider homeschooling is this one. Parents who have difficulty getting a child to do homework wonder how on earth they can teach him anything!
If you were to ask me, a psychologist and experienced homeschooler this question, here is how I would answer you:
- If your child won’t listen to you, isn’t that a problem no matter where she goes to school? Even though your child may cooperate with her teachers, is it really working for you to battle over homework every night? What hope do you have that your child will listen to you when it comes to even more serious issues like use of the car, curfews, and alcohol use? Usually this answer gets parents thinking.
- Obedience is a core subject. You may spend more time teaching it than any other, especially at the beginning of homeschooling. You will also learn more about your child and yourself as a parent than you thought possible. Improvement in obedience may be a bigger blessing than academic achievement.
- You don’t have to homeschool to start working on obedience now. To get help, consult the greatest parenting expert I know and His book, free of charge. See Him first, and if you need some more examples of how to handle strong-willed kids, I like any of the Love & Logic books. Of course, there are other excellent resources out there, but this would be a great start. Once you see progress, reconsider homeschooling.
- Fear is a very poor reason to miss a great opportunity. If parents told me they had no interest in homeschooling AND their kids don’t listen to them, I wouldn’t be as sad for them as I am for parents who truly desire to home educate, but don’t for the sake of fear. I understand fear because I had a lot of it as I considered homeschooling. Turns out I should have had even more fears because I was completely clueless about the challenges that lay ahead! But God has been faithful to accompany me on this journey. I once feared what I would miss out on by homeschooling and now homeschooling is an opportunity I wouldn’t miss for the world.
- If you aren’t willing to teach discipline, you may want to keep your child in school. Without discipline, nothing can be learned. As homeschoolers unwilling to require obedience, we become like the inept substitute teachers I had in school. Chaos will reign and education will cease.
I encourage you to pray about this important decision. Homeschooling won’t solve all your family problems, but it can provide you with more time to work on them, if you’re willing.