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Winning the Heart of an Unhappy Student

Does anyone else have the school bus on speed dial? You know what I mean. The solution to that ever-challenging discussion about how your teenager doesn’t like homeschooling and wants the chance to “be normal”.

Winning the Heart of an Unhappy Student

We had that discussion many times in our home. Mostly it had more to do with a public school activity they were missing out on than it did a dislike for learning at home. So how do we, as parent educators, deal with those types of conflict? Let’s get out our dissection kits and break it down a bit.

“I’m not learning anything!”

Is this truly a debate over the difficulty of the curriculum or a lack of focus on the part of your student? Perhaps it’s a little bit of both. Here are a couple of reasons why a student may have trouble learning.

The curriculum may be too difficult. If you’ve moved from year to year without achievement testing, consider taking a grade level placement test to be sure all the basics have been mastered. These are generally free and can be obtained from most full curriculum suppliers.

Concentration and study skills are mastered through hard work and practice. Have you helped your student find the necessary tools to aid him in studying?

If you aren’t certain where to start, begin with something simple like flashcards and highlighting words in their textbook. Basic study skills combined with some of the new, online study apps could be just the answer!

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Increase your hands on teaching. Sometimes students just need us to sit beside them and teach through the curriculum. If you haven’t been as attentive to their lessons as you needed to be, don’t be afraid to say so.

Tell your student that you didn’t realize they were having difficulty and back up to the last lesson they fully understood and start from there.

“Everyone else gets to do fun stuff!”

Isn’t fun one of the benefits of home education? We have the freedom to tailor our children’s learning to meet their needs. That also includes adding activities that are unique and fulfilling.

Based on the laws in your state, you can add these activities as a lab for credit on their transcript or just craft the activity as a fun way to learn outside the box. A few examples include:

Home Economics and Geography Lab – research a particular country or people group and prepare meals together that reflect what they’ve learned. Take it up a notch and incorporate table etiquette and traditions as well.

Personal Finance Lab – Host a garage sale and let them keep the money. Advertising, decluttering, graphic design, presentation, money management, sales, and customer service are all skills needed to host a really good yard or garage sale. If you want to increase the fun, let them team up with a couple of friends and do it together.

Videography lab – Documentaries are fun ways to stretch the creative mind and learn something new at the same time. A simple iPhone can become their cinematography tool. Consider making your next family movie night an opportunity for your students to showcase their work.

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“God is calling me to be a missionary in public school!”

Now this argument is tricky. Of course, we want to encourage our children to listen to God’s calling. Sometimes it’s hard for them to determine their own wishes over what God is encouraging them to do. And we certainly don’t want to discount God’s wishes for our own. So how can this be carefully addressed?

Consider a unit study on stateside missionary work. Help your student find ways to be a servant within your community but outside the walls of a classroom. Volunteer together at a local mission or outreach. If mission work and evangelism is what’s been laid on your child’s heart, this may answer the calling.

Tell your child that you understand they feel God has called them to be a light in the public school. You also know that God called you to home educate. Agree to pray about their feelings and if God confirms their calling in your heart as well, that you will work toward the common goal.

Home schooling is a journey, a lifestyle if you will. Just as everyone has good days and bad days, not everyone will be enthusiastic about homeschooling 100% of the time. Pray, adjust your focus, and most of all have fun!

These years will. go. quickly.


Kay Orr
Kay Orr

Kay Orr is a Jesus follower, wife of over 25 years to Chris, a MomStrong mom to five, and Founder and CEO of Love of Logistics. She believes we are all warriors in a battle to guard our children in a world that demands their every attention.