How to Homeschool Reluctant Learners Without Losing Your Head


I often get asked by my readers how to get started with homeschooling. One issue that comes up a lot is how to homeschool reluctant learners. Many new homeschool parents are frustrated by how difficult it is to get their kids to be enthusiastic and excited about learning at home.

Even though we’re more than 4 years into homeschooling, I very clearly remember how I felt trying to homeschool my reluctant learners in the beginning. I felt like a failure and also like I’d made a huge mistake by taking them out of school.

How to Homeschool Reluctant Learners

It took us a long time to really get into the swing of homeschooling. I think it’s because I bashed my head against a brick wall for months. I was so adamant to recreate school at home and to have it look exactly like I imagined it in my head. I eventually realized that this was not the way.

If you’re feeling defeated and disappointed by how your homeschooling is going, then I really hope this post will help you in some way. Firstly, it will show you that you are not alone. And secondly, the tips below should help you and your kids to have a more harmonious homeschool.

No More Pressure

The turning point came for me when I stopped putting so much pressure on myself and my kids. Our homeschool was not going to look like the homeschools I was seeing on Pinterest and Instagram. And that was okay. As Mark Twain said: “Comparison is the death of joy”. Once we started creating our own unique homeschool experience, joy flowed back into our lives.

My homeschool was not going to be like school. And that was okay too. We’d left school, so why would we want to imitate that environment anyway? My kids did not thrive at school so our homeschool would be different.

I also stopped worrying about grades and subjects. The kids were going to get the wonderful opportunity to learn what they wanted, at their own pace. They were going to be able to follow their passions and take breaks when they needed them.

I’m happy to report that letting go, was the best thing I ever did.

Give Deschooling a Go

Deschooling is probably what saved our homeschool. In a nutshell, deschooling is a period of time before starting homeschool where parents and kids adjust to the new reality of home education. It’s really important for so many reasons:

  • It gives your kids an opportunity to adjust to something that might be very new and foreign to them. This is especially true if you’ve taken them out of the public school system.
  • If you’re the product of the ‘normal’ schooling system, then it’s going to be doubly hard to get used to homeschooling for you. I know that I needed a long time to accept that learning looked different for my kids. Deschooling also gives you the time to adjust.
  • Parents also need the chance to get used to having kids at home all the time. It can be hard to figure out a routine that works for everyone. Apart from learning, you also need to get used to the messiness and the constant snacking. So deschooling is the prefect time to find out what works.

Find the Learning Secret Sauce

My final tip for trying to homeschool reluctant learners is to find what kind of learning works for your kids. This extends to all parts of homeschooling. It means deciding:

  • what your kids will learn,
  • how they will learn,
  • when they will learn,
  • and for how long they will learn.

You could decide that your kids will concentrate on art, writing, or science. Then you might find out that they prefer more hands-on activities or do well with online curricula. Your kids might be night-owls and be more open to learning in the afternoons. Another thing to consider is perhaps homeschooling year-round or having a 4-day homeschool week.

At the same time, you also have to find what works for you. There are many factors to take into consideration such as time and cost. But by communicating openly with your kids, and by involving them in all learning decisions, you will stand a better chance of finding that secret sauce.

It takes time to craft the perfect homeschool, but it is so worth it to put in the time. You will find that your kids are much more receptive and the headache of homeschooling your reluctant learners, will disappear.

Charlotte Jones

About the author

Charlotte Jones is a multi-tasking homeschooling and WAHM blogger, who loves her family, red lipstick, and strong coffee. Through her blog she aims to encourage and support homeschool newbies and special needs parents. She offers resources and advice drawn from her own personal experiences, so that you can relax, enjoy and thrive.

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