When I started homeschooling my first son, Mr. Senior 2013, he was the perfect child to school or least I thought so. Along came Mr. Awesome and I was humbled because all of the sudden I had a hotheaded and stubborn child on my hands or least I thought so.
I just knew he was going to be defiant because of the way he wouldn’t sit like I thought he should, quietly as I taught him to read like I did with my oldest son.
Fast forward a few years into homeschooling my middle son and after many days that ended with tears (mine), it was hard to swallow the pill that I was the one creating the havoc.
Growing a Renegade Homeschooler
Today in 3 wrong ways to homeschool a hotheaded child, I want to share what I did wrong.
1. Assume that all children learn the same.
Because Mr. Awesome was very young, there were some questions I had to ponder as to my parenting and homeschooling. I had to figure out if I was the cause or not. Sure, it’s easy to blame it on the kid because self-examination is not easy.
He wasn’t old enough to articulate and even at that some teens who struggle with how you teach a subject can’t articulate it either. They might feel like you are the teacher and are doing things “right” and so the problem must be the kids.
Sad to say, some homeschool moms feel that way too. They don’t analyze their approach, they just assume they have a defiant child. They may, but then again, do they create the child that way because a parent won’t move out of the way they think.
Do you think there is something wrong with your child because he learns differently than you? Do you feel your way is the best way of teaching because it is the way you process information?
See, I figured out that my middle son’s personality was opposite of mine.
Instead of feeding his desire to learn, I was suffocating it. I was given him no choice but to act out because he had no other way of telling me.
2. Expecting my middle son who had a passion to create, learn outside the box and seize the moment to stay in the box because it felt right for me. Ouch.
Inexperienced homeschooling teacher that I was, I was more concerned about proving progress to others instead of learning how my son progressed and learned.
Rebellion was my son’s only way of letting me know that the way I so defiantly moved ahead in what worked for my first son didn’t work for him. Where did my middle son get his stubborn streak from?
I was afraid he was going to be one of those little boys who was always disruptive because he never sat still and didn’t want to learn at a desk because that is where I thought learning took place.
3. Schedule his every learning moment.
Though my oldest son thrived when he could check off things on his list, my middle son felt trapped and confined. From my middle son’s need to have flexibility and my need to not give up a routine, I created what I call zones in our day.
The morning zone is school, the afternoon zone is reading and the evening zone is family or play time. As he grew, I gave him boundaries, but within those hours of the school zone he was free to choose which subjects he wanted to start with first and where to do them at. He just had to get them done.
Now that Mr. Awesome is close to finishing his high school years, I again have tears but for a very different reason.
I am grateful for his gifts and how he taught me to be the kind of homeschooling educator I wanted to be. Not one that insisted on her way or the highway, but one that could embrace many different learning styles.
He is the child that shook me out of my comfort zone and into creating lapbooks. He is my inspiration for every lapbook created as I think about those learners who live life with so much gusto and need to move to make things happen.
As he fell behind in spelling one year with many sleepless nights on my part that year and then moved two grade levels up the next year, I realized to relax and embrace the ebb and flow of his learning.
Continuing to put in front of him what I wanted him to learn, he would come grab it from the learning table and run. My kid who ate on the run learned on the run and all I had to do was to be sure it was on the table when he came back.
Understanding too that I didn’t have to give up everything that I loved about the classical approach or what my goals were for him, I knew that I could alter any of the homeschool approaches and embrace the unit study approach too.
I could expand any approach to include activities that suited the way my son learned best, which is through moving and hands-on.
I bucked the norm or system thinking that if a child was having fun or moving that he wasn’t learning and the way he now attacks his high school curriculum with such care to his grades and what he is learning is way more thanks than I could ever ask for.
As I mentioned he is close to finishing high school years, but I am not sure I will ever be done telling you about the things I learned from my “hotheaded” child.
Are you struggling with teaching a hotheaded child?
What are some things that worked for you?
Hugs and love ya