Why are My Homeschooling Days So Out of Control!

by sharon cannavo homeschooling parenting tips

With 20 years experience as the administrator of Cornerstone Community School, a hybrid homeschool founded by Mario and I, along with two other couples back in 1994, I have definitely heard and experienced my share of homeschooling questions.  This issue seemed to create conflict in many homes.  The solution seems so simple, but for some reason in the midst of the chaos, it's difficult for the parent to see it.  We are emotionally invested in our students, and I think there are times that gets in our way. Our children struggle during their homeschooling day. We want the atmosphere to be relaxed, but when we lean too far in that direction, we end up lost in the forest of confusion.  It's hard to get the helicopter view.  I hope this simple blog can help some.

We need to take inventory of our day, and though we want things to be comfortable and somewhat casual, we need to maintain a few classroom guidelines so we can at least get through the day with profit, and not so much damage. Lol!  We start by creating a schedule. Don't sign off!  Understand that the schedule is what allows us to be creative, academic and productive! Three very important ingredients to a successful homeschooling day. Here's an example of what a homeschool schedule might look like:

By setting up blocks of time per subject, we have a map to lead us through our day.  Keep your subject blocks between 20-45 minutes, depending on the difficulty.  

  • Do not lecture, but quickly, clearly teach the concept. 

By keeping your teaching short (5-15 minutes only), your child remains engaged.  Don't feel like you aren't doing your job if you're not lecturing. Prepare well and know your concept. Teach it clearly in allotted time. Children do much better when taking in short explanations and visual instructions, followed by practical application. Spend time helping them work through a few (2-4) practice questions, and move on.

  • Next have your child begin seat-work/workbook pages to practice the concept. 

You will discover through the seatwork whether your child understands the concept. If she mastered the concept, don't make her do more problems then necessary. Just enough for practice and to ensure a good understanding of the concept.  Let her move on to the next subject. If she does not understand the concept, walk her through the questions/problems, showing her how the steps work, until she feels confident. Don't do the work for her. Be sure to introduce the concept regularly from day to day to make sure it is mastered and not forgotten. 

  •  End the Subject on time and move to the next Scheduled block.

Parents can loose control of their day when they see their child struggle with understanding a concept. We feel we can't move on until our child has mastered it.  This often stumbles both the teacher and the student, leading into a frustrating and often contentious situation.  If we hammer the concept we will only cause frustration for everyone. Often the parent and/or the student are offended, and the learning stalls out when we are in this state of mind.   Help your child patiently, knowing this will end at a relegated time.  When the scheduled subject ends, STOP that lesson and move to the next subject. Do not keep going.  The final scheduled block will allow for any work that was not accomplished. This gives you and your child time to go back to that concept and peacefully try again. If the child still does not understand, no problem!  Don't panic!  Return to the concept the next day for a brief time. A concept is like a foreign language. It must be spoken often over time to allow the brain to catch on. 

  • Consider homework and tutoring might be a part of your homeschooling

If you and your child have come to the end of the schedule and the work is not complete, evaluate.  Was it due to a lack of understanding or a lack of self discipline. 

  • If it was due to a lack of understanding, ask another adult to help teach the concept. We all think differently, and learn differently. Keep the focus on your child who may benefit from a different perspective.
  • If it was due to a lack of discipline, rather than enjoying family time, have your child complete their work in the evening.  Help him to understand that when he is self controlled during the day, he is able to share in family fun in the evening.  

As you follow your schedule, your children will relax in their day, trusting you to be in control.  They won't dread subjects that are difficult for them because they know the subject won't last all day. With the parent in control of when subjects begin and end, and the child understands their parent won't grow frustrated or determined, they enjoy the process more, and everyone has a more cooperative and peaceful day.  

So then let us pursue what makes for peace 

and for mutual upbuilding. 

Romans 14:19.


By Sharon Cannavo