|Guess who turned 5?|
Wonderful, wonderful post! So glad I read this tonight - right when I needed it. :)
I do have a question. Have any of your girls given you "attitude" day after day with doing their school work? We are homeschooling our oldest daughter. She is in second grade now and despite getting amazing grades, she constantly has a rough attitude about actually doing her work. I mean daily... with the grumpy attitude. I feel like I am at the end of my rope and really don't even know how to tackle this with her? I've tried and tried to talk to her about getting her work done - hoping she will open up and talk to me. We've tried to talk it out, we've tried to get strict, we've tried to be encouraging and supportive, we've tried everything we can think of to open her up to doing school work during the week...yet, nothing seems to help her attitude.
Overall she is a wonderful, happy, helpful little girl! Really the only thing she gives us attitude about is having to do her school work.
To me, it seems as though she wants me to sit down next to her, during our entire 'school day' to help her with every single question. Keep in mind, she is getting such good grades, I can clearly see that she KNOWS what she is doing and doesn't exactly need me helping her with every single question.
We also have 3 and 4 year old daughters at home, as well as another baby girl who is due in July. So in many ways, I feel like I am being pulled in every direction. (Don't all mothers!?! lol) I'm fretting about starting kindergarten in the fall with our soon to be 5 year old because she too is showing "attitude" about school work. For example; I have been trying to teach her how to hold her pencil or crayon the correct way for MONTHS on end and no matter how I try to help her, she ends up with a grumpy attitude towards me and about school in general. :( So I am nervous about really starting school with her when something as *simple* as trying to hold the pencil the right way turns into such an issue.
We love our girls and we desperately want homeschooling to be an enjoyable experience for all of us, unfortunately it hasn't been too enjoyable this year! Have you experienced this with any of your girls? If so, how did you and your husband correct the situation to make it more enjoyable for everyone involved? I don't even know what to do at this point....
I look forward to hearing back from you!
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Hang in there, Kelly!!!
I think ALL kiddos struggle with poor attitudes in from time to time. Mine do. And truthfully- so do I!
Coincidentally I recently met several moms who, when realizing that I am a homeshooler, confided that had also been homeschoolers, but gave up homeschooling their "difficult one(s)" thinking that somehow sending them to school would make their lives easier. They testified that the exact opposite was the case and shared their deep regret in giving up.
What made them throw in the towel?
I think, just like us, they wanted a quick resolve to behavioral issues in their homes.
But if we could step back and see the forest for the trees, I think we would see that what we really want is our children to be aware of their need for Christ; to see them mature in their faith and to see a greater display of the fruits of the Spirit in our own lives.
How can all that happen? It happens best when we need Christ to help us to deal with the sin that is right here- in us and in our children.
And homeschooling is the perfect environment to see it all. :)
This is where I would begin:
1. PRAYER. I know that we are not supposed to grow weary in well doing (Galatians 6:9) but I also know that we all can struggle with that from time to time. Truly, Our Most Powerful Tool in Parenting is prayer. First, we need to ask the Lord to give us patience and encouragement. Some things we wish would resolve in a day or two simply don't. We need the help of the Holy Spirit not only to navigate and reveal any attitudes/methods that might be causing this little one to be struggling, but also to help us to have a proper perspective as we train our children.
2. VISION. Often our children can be won over by our understanding and by giving them a vision for what we are asking them to do.
"Where there is no vision, the people perish."
Why should she learn? How can her knowledge be used to serve the Lord? Why should she work hard and with a good attitude? Seek to cast a vision for a higher goal you are aiming her toward.
God made us to work and everyone has a job to do. Daddy serves God and his family by going to work and earning money. Mommy stays home and serves God as a wife, a mommy and a homemaker. And her job is to serve God by obeying her parents and by learning for His glory. He has plans to use all she is learning in the future! Show her how.
Providing reinforcement to under gird this concept is wise. For example, reading books where children cheerfully work and do their school work; using devotionals that esteem hard work and even videos that model this idea will help drive home what you are trying to get across.
As parents we also need vision-
we need the vision to see that our
homeschooling is a discipling process.
So often we become discouraged when
we have to stop and deal with negative
attitudes rather than realizing we get
to stop and deal with negative attitudes.
We are tempted to fear that we are failing when we are struggling through character issues, but dear soldier you are right where you are supposed to be. If we can temper our correction with sympathy and patience, God seems to use these difficulties in their lives to show them their need for Christ. Our children must see that it is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick (Matthew 9:12). And as they struggle, often they realize how much they need the Lord's help to overcome their sin.
The truth is that we all grow more in adversity than in times of pleasure (Eccl. 7:2-4). These "house of mourning" times, when we feel at the end of our rope, are when we depend more on Him and grow in wisdom.
3. SELF CONTROL. Worldly Psychologists may instruct parents to let children vent their feelings when frustrated (punch a punching bag etc.). But what does the Word of God say?
"A fool vents all his feelings,
But a wise man holds them back."
The Lord says that learning to hold back our negative feelings is wise. I think we all know that the sooner we learn that, the less repenting we find ourselves needing to do. We all have various things that bug us or that we really don't want to do. Does that mean that we should vent all those feelings? In this case, that is up to you, the parent.
You can make this an obedience/self-control training issue and tell her that she needs to learn to hold back her negative feelings both to help her to be a happier girl and to help her younger siblings to be happier. Remind her of that goal when she begins to vent things she shouldn't. Proverbs 13:15 says that "the way of the transgressor is hard." It is our goal as parents to consistently and kindly dole out hard consequences in a sympathetic and patient manner. If my children need a consequence, you will often hear me sympathetically say, "I am sorry you chose that" and reminding them what Proverbs 13:15 says.
4. ON THE SAME TEAM. It is important to acknowledge and communicate that you are on the same team with your little one. Make sure you both know that while you do have an enemy, it is not one another. :)
There are times you may want to alter the curriculum or take a break from one learning style to try another one. Let her know your goal is to help things go well for her.
Sometimes homeschooling is no party. But, it is a fantastic means of discipling our children and growing in maturity ourselves.
Let's believe God's Truth together-
we can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us!
P.S. Congratulations on the new baby on the way! It sounds like the Lord is filling your home with girls, just like ours!