I Want To Homeschool, But…My Kids Won’t Listen To Me

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We’re kicking off a new series here at Vintage Kids | Modern World for those of you just wondering about homeschooling! Maybe you’re wondering if it’s right for you? There are a lot of factors that go into the decision to homeschool, and we want to give you some information to make that decision a little easier!  We have an amazing team of guest bloggers that will be popping in now and then to give you their unique perspectives and to answer some of your most curious and pressing questions about that weird sub-culture that homeschools their children…

I want to homeschool, but…my kids won’t listen to me.

This was a question I received multiple times via email and facebook when we first introduced this series.  I don’t mean to skirt the issue, and for those that have been waiting and wondering if it would be covered – here it is, as promised!

Several weeks ago, we took a look at what to do when your child drives you crazy.  This issue is slightly different…Your child may not drive you bonkers (at least not all the time!), but what do you do if your child simply won’t listen?

I can’t say I have the magic answer to this, but every time I sat down to write this post and address this issue, I realized that it simply boils down to this:

You are not just educating their minds, you are training and shaping their hearts.

More often than not, we get caught in the cultural trap of feeling like we need to educate our child at home in the same manner that they would be educated in a traditional classroom.

In our heads, we assume our homeschool day should look something like this: teacher tells student to do their math lesson.  Student sits upright in desk, sharpened pencil in hand, and completes daily assignment without talking back and only minimal day dreaming.

In reality: teacher (in this case, mom) yells across three rooms at student to do their math lesson while she changes little brother’s diaper, the phone rings, and the dog starts barking at the mailman.  Student conveniently doesn’t hear the instruction, and continues playing with legos.  Fifteen minutes later, mom checks on students’ progress and there is none.  In face, he can’t find his math book.  The math book is located under the couch and when mom sits down to review the lesson and give instruction, student argues that mom doesn’t understand what she’s talking about, he’s confused, he hates math, he hates school and no matter how clearly mom explains the mathematical problems, the student, still in a huff, “just doesn’t get it”.

Here is where reality deviates from the norm.

We faultily assume that the most important part of homschooling is making sure that our child finishes their books before the end of the school year.

Of course, academics are paramount but the truth is, my child WILL learn to do math.  Maybe late, maybe early.  She’ll read Shakepeare, diagram sentences, dissect a frog and learn where Timbuktu really is  (it’s in Mali, on the edge of the Sahara, by the way).


However, I’m not homeschooling her because I’m the world’s finest teacher.  I homeschool because, aside from my husband,  my children are the most important part of my world and I want to be the one instilling and shaping their morals and personal character.  The academic part of things will come, but their hearts are the bigger issue.

There are seasons where we don’t see eye to eye and our learning and communication styles clash.  When this happens, I put all of the curriculum books away, because my child’s inability to understand my explanation of the math lesson is not the issue.

Our relationship is what needs clarification.

This may mean that a few days go by where we don’t crack a text book.  We spend a lot of time getting to know each other again.  We go for walks and talk about anything but school.  We snuggle on the couch and crack open our favorite Laura Ingalls Wilder book.  The learning will come – I’m not worried about that.  It’s my child’s heart and attitude that need training right now.

So if your child doesn’t listen and “just can’t learn” when you teach…don’t just give up.  Find out why.  Is it stress?  Hormones (theirs or yours!?)? A difference in learning styles?  A learning disorder? A…gulp..parenting issue?  Is it a season?    Don’t just assume that it will always be this way, because it doesn’t have to be.

Yes, if you homeschool, you are their teacher.

But more importantly, you’re their mother.

That trumps math every time.


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6 Responses to “I Want To Homeschool, But…My Kids Won’t Listen To Me”
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  1. AJ

    You really helped me with this article. I have been agonizing whether to quit full time homeschooling and place my tweenagers in a 3 days a week charter school program because “They won’t listen to me”. Your article is what the Lord ordered for me to help me. You really spoke to my heart. Thank you – God bless you and KEEP WRITING.

  2. AJ – thanks so much for your comment – I’m so glad it helped bring peace to your heart and I appreciate your kind words!

  3. Ashley mother of 5

    This helps so much with the day 2 day struggles of homeschooling multiple children at multiple grade levels while holding a sick toddler in arm. I’m just thrilled to know that someone understands and I’m not the only one whose children have their off days or in our case week. Lol

  4. J.G.

    My child is 4 and a half. I try to sit down with him and teach him to hold a pencil or crayon and trace letters and numbers. He doesn’t want to focus. He will allow me to hold my hand over his and trace, but when I go to give him his turn, he either changes to a full-fisted grip to scribble and not follow what we’re trying to trace at all, or tell me “I don’t want to, mommy.” Next year is kindergarten. We’re not on an official homeschool program. He does a half-day pre-k program 3 mornings/week, and I’m trying to “practice” homeschool the other 2, because I’d really like to start homeschooling next year. I understand a lot of his lack of interest/impatience is totally age-related, but I also know these are the years I’m supposed to be teaching him to start! I’m worried he’s not going to listen to me as his teacher, and I don’t know how to get him to focus. Any advice for attempting to homeschool a boy this age?

  5. Kelly

    I totally needed this today. I didn’t sleep last night and my son kept saying he didn’t want to do his school work. Unfortunately, I didn’t read this before school. We ended up fighting, yelling, and punishing. I’m exhausted from the confrontation and now mommy is mean. UGH! Sometimes I need reminded to step back and reconnect. Thank you for reminding me. Hopefully I remember for next time.

  6. Don’t worry – I’m preaching to my own heart here!! Here’s to hoping that things are more peaceful in the coming days!