Are you trying to eliminate behavior issues in your child's homeschool? If so, I have some ideas that will help you be able to do that without the constant struggle.
Taking the time to decide if your child's reactions to learning is due to learning gaps or behavior issues is worth the time. If you have expect it to be learning gaps, you can help eliminate them with the tips that I shared in the last post.
How to Eliminate Behavior Issues in Your Child's Education
You have determined that the issues that your child is exhibiting during lessons are actually just due to behavior outbreaks, but you aren't sure how to eliminate them. Each family has their own way of dealing with behavior issues, however I would like to offer you some suggestions that have helped me in homeschooling our children when behavior issues come up. I do believe that this steps have resulted in little behavior issues in our homeschooling journey.
- Be a United Front as a Couple – There is nothing better in working on a child's behavior issues than starting the battle with a united front as a couple. As the main homeschooling teacher, I'm also the main enforcer to correction, which can be very tiring and stressful depending on the kinds of behavior issues that are arising. If I have the same issue arise with the same child, I get my husband involved in the discussion with the child. Often times, I just tell my husband the situation and remove myself, allowing him to support me in the correcting of the behavior on his own. When the child sees that both parents are involved in ensuring that homeschooling time is met with the right attitude, the chances of these arising are diminished.
- Create a Consequence Chart – If you are really struggling with behavior issues, I would highly recommend sitting down as a couple and going over the details of the kinds of behavior issues and in what subject they are arising. Once you understand where they are arising, you can decide on an appropriate consequence chart based on your own family's believe for correcting a child. This will add to the awareness that the parents are a united front and this will quickly help to solve the behavior issues quickly. In addition to that, you spouse may have some insights on solutions that could be eliminating the issues as well. This happened with one of my children and my husband's insights were spot on.
- Take Away Privileges – If the consequence chart that you put into place isn't seeming to give enough weight to the situation of behavior issues happening, I would suggest taking away privileges for a determined length of time. If you aren't willing to be consistent in enforcing this aspect, don't make the mistake in mentioning it because a child that already demonstrates behavior issues will only use this to their advantage and show that they can manipulate the situation. Electronics, television, friends and outings are great things to consider if the consequence chart needs some backing up in more difficult cases.
- Add More Assignments or Chores – There is nothing as powerful as adding additional assignments and chores to a child that demonstrates behavior issues over the lessons that are already given. I have been known to have a child do extra assignments until my husband came home. I have also been known to assign my own chores to a child that doesn't respect the assignments that were given and were having attitudes with me, taking more of my limited time for things around the house.
Having a plan to eliminate the behavior issues in your child's education is the first step toward correcting what is wrong. As the parents, you need to have resolve to be consistent and diligent to the manipulation your child is demonstrating in their behavior. You can do this and you will be so glad you did!
When our son was struggling to learn to read, I needed to be purposeful in getting him over his hurtle. I have six things that I did to eliminate learning gaps for our son. I worked on these six things for a full homeschool year. They worked beautifully!
Before you start working on this list, you will want to be sure if you are dealing with learning gaps or behavior issues. Once you have been able to identify if your child is experiencing learning gaps or behavior issues in their studies, it is important to make a plan for how to eliminate them. If the issues are due to learning gaps, these tips will help you eliminate them.
How to Eliminate Learning Gaps
You now believe that your child has learning gaps, but you aren't sure how to actually eliminate them, without putting pressure on the child. Here are ways that I have used that work and give good results quickly.
- Focused Attention to the Gap – If you identified a gap in learning, the best way to overcome it is to give full attention to helping your child over the humps in front of them. Many choose to use tutoring to get them through the gaps, but all tutoring really is, is someone that gives full attention to where a student is struggling. As a homeschooler, you can do this yourself, however a parent of a child who goes to school can also do this in the evening.
- Implement Additional Time in Your Schedule for this Gap – If your child is struggling in reading, spelling or math, add another session or two into the day that will allow for more practice in this gap. You can even add games, as long as there are results in short periods of a few weeks.
- Focus on Speed Verses Quality – Often times, gaps can really ruin a child's self-confidence. Focusing on building the speed of reading, spelling or math before adding higher level work could really be a great activity to eliminating the hardest obstaclse to gaps. Rushing the basics of the foundations of learning can result in a wider gap with a lot of busy and frustrating work.
- Evaluate Often – If a child is focusing on better reading, time a child with a selection of reading and then retime them a few weeks later with the same selection. If your child struggles with spelling, do an evaluation of how many correct words can be spelled from a list, and in the amount of time it takes. Do this same test a few weeks later, focusing on correct spelling and speed to see if there is marked improvement. Practice math facts with time drills to know how their timing improves over a few weeks. Even the smallest of improvements will build a child's self-confidence and give them more excitement for lessons ahead.
- Eliminate Extra Curricular Activity – Gaps in a child's education is very serious when it involves the basics of learning: reading, writing and math. It would be very difficult to fill these gaps without pressure and stress to a child, which can result in more issues than you can imagine, if you don't remove the extras from their schedule. Giving one full year to fill the gaps without extra things to fill your schedule will prove to be one of the best decisions you can make to help your struggling child gain confidence, skills and learning.
- Start NOW – The longer you wait to help fill the gaps the more bad habits are being formed and will be harder to overcome. You need to give full attention to the areas that your child is struggling in to get the best results, but waiting for a better season in your life is not fair to the child or to your own stress level.
When I have a child that exhibits gaps in their learning, these are the steps that I take to help them in their education. I know that these will be just what you need to help your own child.
Homeschool tantrums are something that many experience, often times daily. These episodes can last for minutes or even hours. It is so important for homeschooling parents to work together to find out if the homeschool tantrums are from learning gaps or behavior issues. These devastating events can be avoided with the proper attention and action, once you understand what is causing them.
Homeschool Tantrums: Identifying Gaps or Behavior Issues
Often times, learning gaps can also cause behavior issues. When walking through these steps be sure to see how your child reacts to the learning gap steps. If they grow upset through them, work on the behavior issues steps.
I'm going to share with you a few steps that you can use to learn how to identify if the issues you are experiencing with your child are gaps or behavior related.
The key to identifying gaps is to eliminate the stress your child may be feeling if they do not know something that is expected of them or already covered that they didn't retain. This process is best done if the child is unaware that you are trying to find the cause of their tantrums or your concern that they are missing something in their education.
- Evaluate Your Child – In a relaxed environment, evaluate your child's skill level in the subjects where they have tantrums. Drill math facts, have them do some copywork, writing or reading, or whatever it is that seems to be when the child starts demonstrating their tantrum.
- Pop Quizzes in Disguise – Begin using driving time, standing in lines or waiting for appointments as ways to do oral math or ask questions that will help you distinguish the comprehension of subjects you are questioning if there are gaps.
- Play Games that Uses the Skills in Question – Staying a little below the level you expect your child to be at, begin to play games on the Kindle Fire, computer, board games or other options to see how quickly they can do the skills in questioned.
- Implement a Teacher Day – Switch places with your child once a week and allow them the opportunity to be the teachers. If they are able to ‘teach' you a past lesson without difficulty, they have learned the necessary things. However, if they are not able to cover the basic information necessary to play teacher in the subject you can easily identify the gaps.
The key to identifying behavior issues is to take a step back and become very observant of your child's behavior at different times and in different situations. Often times, with children who are having homeschool tantrums, they have already learned that they can manipulate the situations that they don't prefer and control the outcome by their behavior.
To identify behavior issues, you are really going to need to be objective and honest with yourself. If you identify some issues that are arising outside of lessons but are similar to the actions during the homeschool tantrums, it is best to work on the issues in other places before addressing them in the schooling.
- Evaluate Your Child's Obedience – How quickly or willing is your child when asked to do something around the house that he or she doesn't prefer? What actions do they exhibit if they are trying to get out of the chore being asked of them? How similar are these actions when they have a tantrum during their homeschool?
- Evaluate Your Child's Ability to Work Through a Challenge – How does your child react when they have challenges to work through when learning a new skill or interest? Are they easily upset when they don't get it the first time or are they happy to keep trying to learn?
- Evaluate Your Child's Ability with Someone Else Teaching – This is difficult for a homeschooling mom, but necessary if you expect behavior issues as the reason behind the homeschool tantrums. These types of behavior issues are a way of manipulating the situation and to really determine it, you should consider having someone else teach the lessons that are seeing the tantrums the most. In just one or two lessons, you should be able to clearly know if it is a learning gap or a behavior issue.
It is often asked of me, “How do you schedule your homeschool day?” So if you have asked me this question or are curious about the answer, this post is just for you!
A word of caution, before I go into the details…
Our home is not your home. What works for us, may not work for you. Prayer and discussion with my husband have helped me find the priorities and keep them. If you don't like something we do, ignore it. If you love something we do, feel free to give it a try!
How I Schedule Our Homeschool Day
My days can start early, but I prefer not to start it with an alarm. I seem to have my mom in me these days, but that hasn't always been the case. I have experience with waking early with an alarm and allowing my inner alarm (what my mom calls the thing that wakes her up around 4:30 AM or so) to tell me that it is time to get up.
With that said, I have my days when early rising is just not what my body needs. I'm so thankful for homeschooling to allow me to go with my body's needs and take the day as it comes. Please don't read that to mean that I don't have a schedule because if you spent one week with me, you would quickly see that we may not start the day at the same time, but our days flow the same regardless of the clock.
This is the best tip I can give anyone who desires to find a rhythm for their homeschool day… create a natural flow for your own home!
I cherish my morning hours for some quiet time and getting some blogging work accomplished, but often times I have it interrupted with early risers. When this happens, I have my little guy curl up with me for ‘morning love‘ but when he has had enough, I keep him close to me in a quiet way but turning on one of his learning shows. This time is always precious, as he loves to narrate to me what he already knows when he is watching a show he has already viewed a few times.
Now that my little guy knows his numbers, his digital clock next to his bed is helping him to learn to stay in bed until it says 8:00 AM. He isn't faithful in my request for this, but in time that will all change.
Time to Rise and Shine is at 8:30 AM in Our Home
This has exceptions, like if we are dealing with sickness or have been out of the house really late the night before. I'm a strong believer in the body needing a lot of rest at a young age and I always desire my younger children to get 12 hours of sleep in a 24 hour of time. This is so important during growing spurts!
My husband works from home a lot, so I have the joy of being flexible often when it comes to making a wholesome breakfast. On days that he leaves the home earlier than the children get up, I will reach for the cereal boxes and make it an easier morning for me, unless there are leftover waffles.
If I'm still working on breakfast and my children are awake, they start on their household chores.
Independent Work Comes Right After Breakfast
I have raised my children in independent work and in the early stages of this training, I would require them to be at the kitchen table, so I can make the most of my morning energy and my crockpot or rice cooker with what is on the menu for dinner and cleaning up the kitchen.
When my children became more independent in their homeschooling, I would do more of my own responsibilities during this time or work with the younger children who need more dependent help at this time. Depending on their age, this could be 5 minutes or up to 2 hours for high school.
Dependent Work Together
After independent work is finished and evaluated, I then work with my children. We always do read aloud together, nature and history regardless of their age. The younger ones will get what they get and you will repeat it when they are older, most likely.
By this time, we are usually arriving at lunch time. For my children in elementary and middle school, this concludes their homeschool lessons unless they had a difficult day and need additional work because of attitudes. (This is our detention version)
For our high school children, they would take a break for about 30-45 minutes and then head back to the lessons until their daily work is finished. This is mostly done by 2 PM.
Our family has always put responsibilities above free time. If their chores were not finished in the morning, this is their time to complete them. My children have about 30 minutes a day of responsibilities and more when they are older. We always desire to have a clean house and be able to be hospitable at a moments notice, so this is something we all share in our home.
Following the teaching of Charlotte Mason, I have always held free time in the afternoon as important as I hold rest for my children. It is during these hours that two-thirds of their curriculum are covered: something to love and something to do. Sibling relationships are key in our home and we have always put these before outside relationships, even though this too is important.
Another big focus during this time was their focus on hobbies, not lead by me, but themselves. Of course, some hobbies needed my help to first learn but the joy my children had during these hours were priceless. Nothing helped formed them as much as these hours, with the exception of the Bible.
My husband has always appreciated that I have been faithful to have dinner time around the same hours of the day, with very few exceptions. It has been easy when I used independent learning time to start dinner and let my kitchen tools do my work for me.
My husband used the 30 minutes after dinner to relax and turn off work and get ready for the family. This worked perfectly because it was during this time that the children and I would clean the kitchen. As they got older and could do this by themselves, I was able to have those 30 minutes with my hubby, talking about our day. This is such a good thing!
This time was always different in the seasons, but my husband tries to spend doing something with the children outside, or taking nature walks with the family, watching something we all enjoyed together or just talking together.
This hasn't changed in all of our parenting years that I can remember. My husband will help get the children ready for bed, mostly because I have a hard time seeing them get all crazy right before bed, so I'm happier to remove myself and let them make memories. Once all the routines are done, I join my husband and children in one bedroom and we pray together as a family, usually lead by my husband and our youngest child who loves to pray. Sometimes, my husband isn't home and then the next son in line will lead us in prayer.
During school time, bedtime is at 8 PM (remember, I aim for 12 hours of sleep for my children) and 9-10 PM for my high schoolers. I can't quite explain how my second high school made it to 11 PM in his junior year, but it happened and by the time I realized it, it was too late.
I miss the times my husband and I had hours at night to ourselves but I'm often reminded that one day we will have all the time in the day to spend together and I will miss my blessings around the house.
I hope it helps seeing how it works in our homeschooling day.
At one time, I had organized a local homeschool support group, and attended a different one as well. It was during this time that I realized that in many cases, starting to homeschool created issues within marriages and families. It surprised me because it was so different for our family. With as many years that I have been homeschooling, I have heard so many different stories about conflicts to homeschool between a husband and wife, and even extended family.
With so many years of homeschooling under my belt, and the different examples of the dynamics of families, I decided to share key things that are important for couples to talk about when trying to decide if homeschool or not to homeschool is right for their family.
To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool: 5 Things Couples Should Talk About
Regardless of the current thoughts of homeschooling from either spouse, I highly recommend making time to talk about the following 5 things that will help your decision to homeschool or not to homeschool so much easier.
Why would you want to homeschool?
If you are contemplating homeschooling, you may not understand a lot about it but you are drawn to it for a reason, and this reason is pivotal to your decision for your family.
In my own experience, identifying why I want to do something helps me understand my passion and be able to articulate it to others.
I would highly recommend creating a list of pros that homeschooling would provide, and discussing this list with each other, to be sure you both agree that each thing is a pro for your family.
What are your concerns about homeschooling?
With everything in life, I would consider writing down the things that concern you, and label them as cons.
Things like, one income for your family, having to solely responsible for the education of your children, and so on.
The same thing applies for cons. Identify what cons there are to homeschooling, and write a list that contains them all. I would caution you to not consider that the longest list wins, without discussing the next step first.
What obstacles would you need to overcome?
Often times, I look at cons as obstacles that need to be considered and then a plan of overcoming these obstacles need to be put into place.
For instance, if a one income situation is a concern for you, perhaps working on a budget together or identifying ways to cut your spending dramatically to make it work.
Perhaps it is a work schedule for your family. Many families still make this work for them, by homeschooling in the evening and on weekends.
What is important to realize is ‘Where there is a will, there is a way!”
Where are you qualified to teach?
Depending on your state’s requirements, this may not even be an issue to what a parent is qualified to teach. Starting there would be my recommendation.
To learn what your state’s homeschool guidelines are search your state’s name with homeschool laws and you should find a great resource to help you. Often times that comes through a state’s homeschool organization or even HSLDA website.
Some families divide the work load to allow the parent with the most strengths in a subject to teach those, and the other subjects are taught by the other parent.
What I love most about homeschooling is that there are so many curriculum choices that often times the teacher’s manual is enough to qualify a parent to effectively teach their children, and fill in any gaps they may have themselves along the way.
Where do you feel inadequate to teach?
Let’s face it, every person starting something new feels inadequate at first. Yes, even teachers of a brick and mortar school.
Feeling inadequate can be a plus, at least in my perspective. What I have found to be true is that when a personal feels inadequate, they seek options that will help solidify their ability.
This is a perfect place for a homeschooling family to be, because they look for creditable sources for their curriculum, which could include a tried and true method that feels natural and easy to implement, a full curriculum in a box, online courses, co-op settings, or personal tudors.
Those that seek solutions to their feels help their children far more than just putting in a class room that has only one or two options.
I hope that helps you decide if homeschooling is the right fit for your family, or not.
I have never really cared about geography growing up, but when I became a Charlotte Mason educator that all changed. I fell in LOVE with maps and geography. If a book had a map in the pages, I was drawn to it. When I was reading and a location was mentioned, I instantly attempted to locate it in my mind. When meeting people with accents, I would ask where they were from and see if I could use my mind's map to pin point where they lived.
Yes, I guess you can say that I enjoy geography!
How to Study Geography
- Talk about Directions Often – From the time my younger children were two or three, I started reciting the first four lines of the poem by William Blake called Night. In the poem it says ‘the sun descending in the west', as we sit and watch the sun set together. In the mornings, I point and say that the sun is rising in the east. It is just part of my talking with them. Around four and five, I start introducing the north and south and see if they can recall the west and east on their own. They usually do!
- Teach Right and Left Early – My children have learned the right and left early on and I would always tell them which direction to go while walking on our nature walks, in the grocery store or while driving. I love when I quiz them for our directions from their memory and they tell me which direction to turn. Often times, I allow them to navigate with maps from parks or places that give you maps to find where you are going. Early map reading is really important for learning geography!
- Puzzles – Geography puzzles are a fun and easy way for your children to learn parts of geography, without a map. We have had so much fun seeing who can put a puzzle together fastest or even blind folded.
- Map Quizzes – During a few years of our homeschooling, I had place a large world map on the table and put a clear plastic over it. During our meal times, we would take turn calling out a location on the map and the rest of the family raced to see who could find it first. The person who found it was the next one to call out the location.
- Map Drawing – My children have always done map drawing and map work in their homeschooling. What treasures they have made, even in high school, when studying a location, a continent or even a person's geography.
- As it is Mentioned – We use living books in almost all of our lessons. When we read of a location in a reading, we will be sure to find it on a map, so we know what part of the world the story is taking place. Some of our favorite books based on geography is the missionary series from YWAM.