In our workshops we hear the statement often “but the little dear doesn’t want to homeschool”. Okay, maybe not quite like that, but you get the idea. And it’s not from just parents of preteens and teens, but from parents who have very young children, as young as 5 years old.
The Alarming Truth Behind Who Makes the Decision to Homeschool
I work very hard at not trying to change the expression on my face to total disbelief as I can’t possibly understand why a 5 year old is empowered with such authority to make a decision like that.
Soon afterwards what I find out is that usually the parent feels some kind of guilt and asks their young child if they feel they are missing out on something by not going to public school.
Most young kids I know that age enjoy buying a back pack and lunch boxes and that is their idea of fun and “school’.
If it’s not guilt, then discipline seems to be the issue and not a homeschooling issue. Ouch. It’s not easy to talk about it because we all bring our own childhood experiences from our parent’s experience or lack of experience in parenting.
Maybe we as parents now feel we should empower a child of any age with the power of choice and perhaps it stems from the parent having a controlling parent and not being allowed to make any decisions when growing up.
What may seem like a brick wall in homeschooling with our child may actually be something we as the parent may be wresting with. We may have set up our own obstacles to homeschooling.
It is not easy by any stretch of the imagination to be a parent, much less a homeschooling parent.
I am not saying to be a dictator in your home. Quite the contrary because most of us are homeschooling because we want to raise independent, confident and well-rounded children who have the ability to make sound decisions.
But we need to allow children privileges to make decisions that are within their ability and to scope to make.
Allow them a bully-free environment to learn in, nurture them, provide them with love, and friends and plenty of time with you. But give them clear cut boundaries as to what decisions they can make.
Knowing what is best for our children and deciding what is best for their future even during the teen years is our God given responsibility.
Even with good motives we may be unintentionally abdicating that precious privilege when we empower our teen or 5 year old with the ability to make a decision like homeschooling.
If the heart of the matter is a discipline problem, then put your homeschool on “auto pilot” right now and deal with the discipline issue.
Behavior doesn’t get any better as the child grows older because a child may feel empowered or equal in decision making ability with you as the parent.
On the flip side, if we threaten our children by telling them we’ll send them back to public school, you can see where that would not endear a child to love this new way of learning.
If your 16 year old doesn’t want to homeschool tell him you value his input, BUT it will be so. Again, though provide him plenty of opportunities to see the advantages of homeschooling. Now that Mr. Senior 2013 has finished school and is making his own decisions, I look back and understand that I had to be his mom first then friend.
A few things that can kindle a teen’s love for homeschooling is being allowed to work part time, perhaps driving sooner, finishing school earlier, getting started on college earlier, taken more subjects like art, music study, feeling more rested, and less bullied. Perhaps you may win over your best advocate for homeschooling.
Too, if your 5 year old thinks he is missing out because of not having a lunch box and back pack, buy him one. But never barter about your precious privilege as parent and home educator. It is a cherished privilege.
Hugs and love ya,
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