What If She Doesn’t Want to Learn? The One Where I Share My Homeschooling Fears

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It has been crazy around here lately. My toddler is into everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) and is apparently about to drop his morning nap.  I seem to live every day in damage control mode. Amid all of this I’m trying to provide my four year old with learning opportunities. I read wonderful articles about how self-motivated homeschool children can be, but I harbor a secret fear–what if my daughter doesn’t want to learn?

IMG_2269We don’t employ a lot of TV in our house, mostly because I don’t think it’s healthy and also because the more TV my daughter watches the worse her behavior gets. Sometimes it’s just easier to say no. And I do. Pretty much every day. Each morning begins with two questions: What’s for dinner? and Can I watch something on TV? (The answer usually being, I don’t know and no, we don’t watch TV in the morning.) I read a great article about the homeschooling the other day that made me feel so inspired. But the problem is, that isn’t my daughter. She used to be like that. After her brother was born I let her watch too much TV in an effort to maintain my sanity during the exhaustion and feeding issues that went on for months after his birth. But now she seems to have forgotten how to be creative and entertain herself and spends most the day nagging me about what should she do next.

IMG_2302She makes crafts, though we don’t have the most exciting supplies in the world. Occasionally she uses her duplo to build creative towers or buildings. But it’s hard to do complicated crafts and make creative structures with a toddler barreling around. Maybe it’s just an age thing and she will become more self-directed as she gets older, but for now I’m exhausted most days. If I leave the room to use the bathroom I get interrupted by screaming. I worry that somehow by letting her watch TV so much during the first year of her brother’s life, I’ve somehow ruined her.

I watched two little girls for a friend the other day. In the afternoon when my daughter would normally have her quiet time while my son was napping I suggested they watch a Veggie Tales DVD.  These little girls had almost no interest. Let’s just say it wasn’t a quiet time. My daughter spent most of the time asking them to be a little quieter so she could hear the show. I kept asking myself, what was wrong with my kid that she would rather watch TV than play with friends? (Though they had been playing all day.)

IMG_2081You see, my daughter and I argue about almost everything. She is a classic strong willed child. Nothing is done without debate and negotiation. I try not to give in to her demands, but sometimes I just don’t have the strength to keep up.  I am strongly committed to homeschooling for many reasons, including her strong willed personality. I worry that if we only have a few hours a day together that all we will do is argue. At least now we have the time for the sweet moments as well as the difficult. But I also see the potential for school to become a battle ground.

I don’t have any answers in this post. This is just me being real and sharing my fears. I think we all parent with just a little bit of trepidation and a lot of self-doubt.  Anyone with experience in homeschooling strong willed children, I’ll happily take your advice.

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2 thoughts on “What If She Doesn’t Want to Learn? The One Where I Share My Homeschooling Fears

  1. I don’t see that anyone has left a comment here…or maybe I just can’t see them? (I’m logged into my husbands WP acct.) I found your blog via fit2b and was reading a few posts when I came across this one. I homeschool 5 …well, not the baby. 😉 My oldest is 11. I’m no expert by any means, but I thought I’d share a few experiences in case they help. Every child is different (boy, do I know that!) so it may or may not work the same for yours. Some of my kids have been more prone to TV addiction than others. For those, I have found that if TV was any sort of option in their pretty little head, then they could summon up no other idea of occupation. They just laid around on the furniture in the livingroom like they were just waiting for the TV to magically come on. It’s as if all they could think is, “I want TV.” The most recent ’bout I had with this was when I had some very hard baby months with #5 and used the TV to help me, too. I understand!! So, when I had gotten back on my feet and started saying “no” to TV some days, the above boredom hit. I finally decided to cut out any TV during the day and save it only for an evening family movie or such. I communicated this to my 6 yr old the night before. No TV all day. None. My 6 yr old knew I meant business and would stick to my guns (with a gentle mama smile, of course). It honestly didn’t take too long for the creative juices to start flowing. Granted, he has a 4 yr old sister to play with, but cutting the “possibility” of TV out of his head really freed his brain up. Also, I have done times where the kids could have x amount of TV at a certain time of the day. Sometimes this worked fine. But most of the time, it didn’t…not for my more addictive kiddos, anyway. They would just mull around playing half heartedly until it was TV time. TV filled their brain. (I’ve found this applies to some other addictions as well…I have one child who LOVES to read novels. Yep, I actually has to limit his novel reading time so that he would have a balanced, healthy life!). This has been my experience a few times over with a few of my kids. And it’s pretty cool when their creative juices start flowing again! Also, just another note….I try to have my kids work alongside me much of the day. After challenging baby or pregnancy days/months I have to purposely get back in the rhythm of them working with me (and so do they). I try really hard to make it a game for my young ones, to make it easier on them, and me, too. (Like having a “store” that delivers when doing laundry. You can get some creative customers ordering!) And once they have some work/play time with mom, they go off for some play on their on naturally. And the cycle continues through the day. Play is no fun if there is no work to be done. Working enables my children to play better. Anyone who plays all day for days on days will eventually become bored and/or spoiled….at least I do!! Just some ideas. ~Laura

    1. Thanks for the suggestions and for stopping by! I need to get stricter about their TV time. Whenever I do though, I end up feeling like I’m the one being punished. We’re discussing a family TV fast coming up in the next month or so. We could all use some unplugged time.

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