I have four kids, the only one who has been in public school was Matthew. He went to Kindergarten, First and Second grade before I pulled him home. Sarah went to a public school pre-school which included speech therapy, but we then pulled her home for Kindergarten. Ben and Rebekah were both born after we began homeschooling, so they have never known anything different.
I want to address an issue that I feel homeschooling mothers can really get down on themselves. Kids who complain they do not like school. I began thinking about this when I was talking to a friend who is homeschooling her 9 and 6 year olds. She asked me if my kids complained about having to do their school work. I said, “Of course, everyday”. She was relieved that it was not only her children. She thought maybe she was doing something wrong.
I don’t think she is doing anything wrong with her kids. They are nice, polite, happy kids. But, I sure can remember having the same feelings myself during the early years. I used to wonder what I was doing wrong and would my kids not complain if they were in public school. I came to the conclusion that kids are going to complain no matter where they are. There are always going to be “fun” things that my kids will think they are missing, and then my kids will tell their PS friends things that they wish they could do. It is our sinful nature to want what we don’t have.
When we began homeschooling, I was under the impression that my kids would be happy and joyful and love learning. I am way past that delusion now. It used to really bother me that my kids would not jump out of bed and just love school. I wondered if it was me, did I just not make it “fun” enough. I don’t worry about that anymore though. When my kids whine “Do we have to do school?” I don’t try to talk to them to find out what they are unhappy with or how can I make it better (like I did at the beginning). I look at them now and say something along the lines of “Tough, this is life. Let’s get to work”.
I have noticed that my kids don’t whine as much about school work if I have a matter of fact attitude. I make the assignments, kids do the assignments. Some things are fun, others are work. Learning to get your work done with a good attitude, even when you may not want to, is a skill that will serve them well their entire lives. So, no, I do not go out of my way to make every assignment fun and games. I also take my kids complaining with a grain of salt.
Matthew, who was my first student 11 years ago is now graduated. Yes, from homeschool. He is attending college. He came home one day last semester, put his arms around me and said, “Don’t worry, Mom, I am doing just fine in college. You taught me what I need to know, and I can learn what I don’t know.” High praise from a kid who used to cry over his math saying how much he hated it.
If you are in the beginning or middle of those tough school years, where kids just want to play and Mom comes along to put a damper on their fun with school, take heart. You are not alone.