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.
Age appropriate chores for kids aren't always easy to find around the house until you have an idea what different ages can do. What is really important to understand is that kids can do far more than we realize. In fact, the youngest of children know that they can do things and ask to help all the time. It is the parents that stand in the way of them helping and becoming helpers around the house because of how we underestimate their abilities.
Age Appropriate Chores for Kids
I remember when my older two children were just 5 and 3 years old, and I was starting to homeschool. I felt overwhelmed by how I was going to get everything done and stay on top of the responsibilities of the home. It was during this time that I felt impressed with the insights to ‘give to my children what they can do and only keep on my plate what was required of me to do‘.
This has since been my guide when I have set up routines in our home and given out responsibilities to different ones in my family.
I knew right away the things that I needed to do because certain things required me completely. Things like planning homeschooling, meals, grocery shopping, and the like. However, there were so many things that I was doing on a daily basis that I didn't need to be doing but still was and wearing myself out at the same time.
Once I figured out a few things for our children to do, I started the 4-step formula to teaching them how to do the chores. What I found was that with my attention to training them and their excitement to be doing what I was doing created an atmosphere in our home that was amazing.
Within a few short weeks, each of our children has a handful of responsibilities that they knew how to do on their own without my further instruction or a watchful eye. Of course, I still evaluated that they did their chores diligently and thoroughly.
One of my favorite things, when I hand over a chore to my children, is letting them take complete ownership over it. They helped me pick out the cleaners, the new vacuum, and dusters. They were thrilled to be part of the process of making choices and took pride in their daily chore times in our routine.
Little by little, I was seeing that I was feeling less overwhelmed and more accomplished with each passing week. My children were happier because routines were formed in our home and they were helping by being an active part of our family unit.
Our home is nearly always cleaned because of this system of each person doing their own part of keeping our home neat. This doesn't mean we don't create messes because we do.
We live in our home!
However, what it does mean is that we all make the messes and we all help to clean it up. We have chore times in our daily routine where we each do what is expected of us. I find that this allows us to be more hospitable and enjoy impromptu visits from neighbors and friends.
As our children grew, their responsibilities grew with them.
As we added to our family, we passed down responsibilities as we did clothes. The older sibling taught the younger sibling how to do the job well. The joy of the younger c that he could do what the older sibling always did.
To us, house responsibilities are like a rite of passage to adulthood with one responsibility learned at a time.
Our system for chores really works and the more children we have had, the more I realize that motivation starts younger and younger in our family because of the work ethic that we teach.
At the age of 7 1/2, our youngest child has learned how to mow our lawn with our riding lawn mower! I was shocked when my 15-year-old and my husband agreed to let him learn the actual mowing part, but he has been driving the mower since he was 5. My 15-year-old has been mowing for neighbors and our property and theirs are actually pretty big, so he wanted a little help keeping up with it all. Our youngest was only too motivated to offer to help.
I wanted to help you identify some great age appropriate chores for kids, and help you start delegating around your home.
How are you raising Christians kids like your kids? I hear this question often. Isn’t it every parent’s heart to have their children share their Christian faith as adults? Yet, so many parents are having the heartache of their adult children walking away from their childhood faith shortly after leaving the nest.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Yet, when I’m looking back on our parenting over nearly 23 years, there are a few key things that stood out to me that seemed different from my own experience growing up and from those raising children around us.
It often amazes me that amidst all of my parenting mistakes, and personal issues that I display in front of my children that they have such a solid faith in their early twenties.
I know their faith isn’t a reflection of my own faith, but their personal relationship with their Savior.
I can only give a few key things that I’m certain makes the difference in passing on our faith to our children, and seeing them walk in their own faith in a mature way that neither myself or my husband experienced in our early twenties.
6 Keys to Raising Christians
When my older two children were young, I had taken them to a park to play. An older lady was there with her grandchildren, and before long, we were talking. I don’t remember everything we talked about, but one thing she said stood out to me, and has become a motto in my parenting.
“If only more people would realize that they aren’t raising children, but they are raising adults.”
In a nutshell, the older lady was saying that parenting needs to have the end goal in mind. That is how we parents should reflect on what we want to see in our children and then work hard in developing it in them.
I remember pondering this saying for years, and keeping it as my guide in raising our children on a daily basis. Over the years, I began to picture a garden in my mind, with each child being their own garden.
With this mental picture, I began to think about a gardener and how when they plant their seeds they label them as what they will be, not what they are at the time. For example, cucumber seeds will have ‘cucumbers’ labeled over them. Tomato seeds will have ’tomatoes’ labeled over them, and so on.
The gardener doesn’t say this is where the ‘cucumber seeds are’ or ‘baby cucumbers’, but labels the garden based on the end goal in mind. Then the gardener cares for the garden based on the needs of what he is growing, taking great care to ensure that nothing of harm will come its way to becoming what he expects them to be.
Raising Christians is just like raising a garden of any kind.
Our parenting has been one where Scripture has been our tool for planting seeds of our faith. We used key verses from the time our children were babies through preschool to get the basis of why we required certain behavior at home and out of the house.
We didn’t require our children to memorize them as Scripture, but we used these as pillars in our parenting.
If a child was disobedient, I would tell them “The Bible says ‘Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.'” (Ephesians 6:1). If I needed to remind them often, I would say “Children obey your parents” as a quick reference to the verse.
After many times of using the same key phrases in these verses, our children were memorizing what ‘the Bible says about their action’.
As they grew, I would literally just ask them, “What does the Bible say about how you are acting?” Nearly every time, our children were able to come up with the right scripture to match what we wanted them to consider when they were going against what we wanted for them in the end goal.
This helped them to better understand how to judge their own actions based on their own knowledge of Scripture from a very early age.
As they grew, we added additional Scripture as pillars to our parenting, and required Bible memory work throughout their schooling years.
These seeds that we planted were molding our children into Christians because they were self-evaluating their actions, and lining it up with Scripture from a very early age.
In addition to these Scripture practices, we also read Proverbs daily until our children got into middle school, where our focus went into the New Testament strongly.
This one aspect of raising Christians is so very vital, and where many have lost their children.
When a good gardener places seeds in the soil, he does so with the utmost care to ensure that the soil is healthy for the seed to grow to the end goal. The Bible explains just how important soil is in the parable of the Sower.
As parents, we carefully protected the environment that our children were placed.
We choose friends that shared our Christian faith, when Sunday School influences resulted in our oldest learning to use a swear word perfectly in a sentence, we made the decision to keep our children with us during church services.
Although I know that homeschooling isn’t an option for everyone, it was for our family, so we took the opportunity to teach from a Bible world view on subjects that are void in the school systems today.
We live in the world, so it is important to do our part to ensure the world is not your children’s teacher. Trust me, the world wants to be your children’s teacher, so you will need to be intentional about getting to their heart before the world does with their agenda.
NOTE: If your children are part of the public school system, I would encourage you to add Creation studies as a family, and even some American History of our founding fathers, to help with the things that are pulling Christian children away from their faith. In addition, I would also recommend talking to your children about what the Bible says about sex, before the school system and students educate your children in things that tempt them away from your faith.
We were often laughed at, and shunned because of our choices with our children, but our intentional plan of being our children’s main influence in their formative years has proven time and time again to be what they needed to reach the end goal.
Plenty of Water
Plants need water, and a lot of water, to grow healthy and strong.
Children need praise and encouragement just as much as plants need water.
What we have found in our parenting is that our children try harder when we praise them before, through and after the task in front of them.
We are building their confidence before they attempt something. Then we are building their perseverance to complete the task. Lastly, we are building a sense of accomplishment when they have completed a task.
This is so important for a child learning to obey, or a teen making his way through peer pressure.
“The earlier we start being our child’s cheerleader, the easier it will be for them to look at us as their coach in the game of life, and trusting our decisions on faith.” Dollie Freeman
Along with praising and encouraging our children, we need to also learn how to be attentive to them from their first moments on, so they trust us when they are teens.
Having eye-contact with our children when they are sharing what is pressing on their heart as a two or three year old will build their confidence that you really care about the small things and trust you with the big things.
The distractions of life, the electronics that we own and our busy schedules could easily unravel the best attempts to building that bridge for a child.
Be diligent in giving your child plenty of water, and as often as you can.
Direct “Son” Light
With the pillar of parenting in place, we had set the precedent that our children should live to honor God through their actions, and that when they fail they disappoint Him, not just us, as their parent.
We literally took the weight of raising Christians off from our shoulders, and put it on theirs. The daily decision to choose Christ at an early age built the habits that are much needed when reaching adulthood.
We utilized Joshua 24:15b – “…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”, as our family verse to ensure that our children knew that while they lived in our home, our family would serve the Lord.
Over a period of time, through daily practice and pointing our children to Jesus for their weakness, and forgiveness, they saw that there is peace in knowing Him.
The only time we used Scripture to correct our children’s action toward us as a parent is with the 5th commandment, “Honor thy Father and Mother”.
When a child dishonors their parents and gets away with it, it is when the pillars of all other structure you have done crumbles.
It is in this one Scripture that allows us, as parents, to still be humans, walking along the same Christian journey as our children. It gives us the ability to fail as parents, and allow our children to witness the failure, but still pay honor to our position as their parents. By admitting our failures in front of our children, we are showing them just how much we still need Christ in our own lives.
Tend to the Weeds
You can’t have a garden without weeds. Any gardener will tell you that the best gardens are ones that are faithfully weeded, so the roots don’t grow deeply, and take over the healthy plants.
The weeds of the heart are no different.
Remember, it is the little foxes that spoil the vine, and it is the weeds of life that harm the heart of a Christian.
In parenting, there is always something that we need to deal with. Sometimes, it can be when your child started to tell lies, has a hard time forgiving a sibling, or maybe just struggles with asking forgiveness.
These are all weeds, and the sooner you deal with them, the easier they are to pull and the less damage is done to the healthy plants in their heart.
There has been times in our parenting that we have had to make some hard choices for a season. Times where we needed to remove our children from relationships that creating more weeds than we could keep up with.
Hopefully you don’t have any of those experiences. If you do and you aren’t sure what to do with the situation, I highly recommend removing the weeds, for your children’s sake. Keep the end goal in your mind, and it will help you to make the best decisions for your family’s faith than anything else.
Re-Pot for Growth
If you have ever grown a house plant, you may have some experience with re-potting plants for growth. It is so important to the roots of a plant to have room to spread out and grow.
If you don’t re-pot a growing plant, you can actually be stunting its growth, or causing root decay and kill it all together.
A child’s faith is very much like a growing plant.
It needs the opportunity to stretch their faith to grow strong roots.
I want to be sure you understand that I’m not encouraging you to send your young child into the mission field at 6 years old. I known a family who actually thought that doing that with their child at a young age in their neighborhood was wise, allowing play time at the unsaved neighbors home time and time again.
Sadly, that resulted in the opposite way. The unsaved family converted their Christian son, who is still not walking in faith today.
What I am encouraging is allowing your children the opportunity to act out their Christian faith, in your care, to those they can minister to in your circle of trust.
They can recite Scripture, sing songs they are learning in church, make cards for the sick, visit neighbors, do kind acts for their neighbors and most of all share their faith with anyone that will listen.
We have allowed our children to openly talk about their faith wherever they go, and praise them for doing it.
The more they practice, the easier it will be when it matters the most. One day, they could be witnessing to a future Christian and that my friend, is the end goal, isn’t it?
Raising Christians isn’t easy, but with these keys you can become intentional in the areas that we have seen reap the harvest with our children. These were the things that we were doing differently than others around us, and our results were also different than those around us.
There are times when my older children talk about their faith and standards, and I stand in awe because many of their standards aren’t ones that we expected of them, or even mentioned to them.
They are walking in their own intimate relationship with their Savior, and as their parents, we are blessed to know that the fruits of our labors were blessed in such amazing ways.
Keep up the good work, mama!
Parents everywhere want to know how to tire out a toddler. If you have a toddler in your home, you can attest to their boundless energy, and endless excitement for life. Some of the ideas that I share in my popular post 10 Indoor Activities That Tire Kids Out may be beneficial to you as well, but when it comes to toddlers, I have a few more things that work wonderfully.
How to Tire Out a Toddler
The toddler stage is one of my favorite stages because it seems like their brains are on fire and learning so much every day. It is also because of this stage that I think toddlers can really wear out their parents, or care givers.
Getting Fresh Air
Getting out in the fresh air always induces sleep for myself and my children. Spending at least an hour outside a day, especially before nap time or bed time will help to encourage your toddler to get their energy out and breathe fresh airs.
There is something about fresh air that can really make a person feel relaxed and still energized. I don’t have any scientific reasons why, but a trip to the park or on the swing in the back yard has always been a wonderful way to tire out a toddler in our house.
Some of the other fun activities I have done with my toddlers outside have been:
- bouncing or kicking a ball
- blowing bubbles
- riding a toy bike
- going for a walk
- learning to hop or skip
- playing tag
- chasing the dog
- hop scotch
Most kids get plenty of exercise, especially if they are doing any of the things outside that I just listed. However, I have found that my toddlers love to do exercise videos with me. They only make it through about 5 minutes, but to their little bodies that is a lot.
Other forms of exercise that will tire out a toddler is jumping jacks, head and shoulders, wind mills, running in circles around the house, and climbing the stairs.
We have always allowed activities in our house that some parents don’t allow, but as our children get older we tend lessen the activities or send them outside to get their energy out.
When our oldest was a toddler, she hated to do naps and bedtime. I don’t think we would have survived her toddler years without the aid of music.
Depending on the music, it can aid your child to relax, and begin to settle down in order for sleep to come to them. They may sing for a while before falling asleep, but I would allow it for a time because it does help them relax.
This has been our experience with our daughter and on of our sons. In fact, my daughter still uses music in her adulthood to go to sleep if she isn’t able to fall asleep on her own.
Reading to Them
I read to my younger two before nap time, while I was weaning them and it was such a precious time for them and me. It often allowed my cuddles to relax them, while listening to my rhythmic voice reading softly to them.
Our favorite book is the Big Book for Babies, and is perfect for the toddler age. The pictures are adorable, and the poetry is short. It is obvious it has been a favorite book during that age, because it is falling apart on us.
It was hard for me to believe just how relaxing bath time could be for a toddler, until I tried it myself. Once I got our children out of the tub, and dressed for bed, you could always see a change in their behavior and a shift in their attitude.
Moms know the power of a relaxing bath, but don’t forget it works on toddlers, too!
I have been known to have music playing in a tub to aid in relaxing, so don’t forget to try this if you toddler needs to use several of these ideas.
I love lavender oil so much to help me fall asleep. I need it myself, as a sleeping aid, but it is powerful on toddlers, too. My favorite lavender oil is Counting Sheep roll on oil for kids. It is easy to apply, and really helps a restless toddler to fall asleep easier.
This is an oil that I don’t like to run out of… EVER!
As difficult as the toddler stage is on parents, I can’t stress enough how fast this time goes. I really encourage these steps to how to tire out a toddler because it engages the parents with the child, and promotes a calming environment for them to thrive in while learning healthy habits of sleep.
You may also enjoy my post, 10 Indoor Activities that Keep Kids Quiet…