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Simple Ways to Overcome Bad Attitudes in Homeschooling


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Bad attitudes – from you or your kids – can derail your homeschool day. Try these simple ways to quickly overcome bad attitudes.

Written by Amy Dingmann of The Hmmm…schooling Mom.

Homeschooling is wonderfully magical. Full of smiles and giggles every day, right? Well…The truth of the matter is that while there are a lot of amazing days along the journey of homeschooling, there are really rotten days, too.

Find yourself dealing with bad attitudes in your homeschool? Let’s chat about why they happen, and what you can do.

Simple Ways to Overcome Bad Attitudes in Homeschooling

Before we start, we need to be honest. When we talk about having a bad attitude, it’s not only our kiddos that can flip the day upside down because of sass, apathy, or crabbiness. Sometimes parents are just as guilty.

I mean, I can’t be the only homeschooling mama whose cruddy attitude has ruined a perfectly magical day, right? So keep in mind that these suggestions not only apply to our sons and daughters but to us as parents, too.

Solving a Bad Attitude

When bad attitudes take over your home, the first thing you need to do is a bit of detective work. Identifying the root of the issue solves half the problem.

Recognizing Simple Fixes

Start with the basics. Is your child tired? Hungry? Sick?

I happen to know that if my sons are hungry, there will be minimal learning going on. This has always been the case for them, even before they were teens.

Heck, it’s the case for me. Hangry is a thing, you know. And hangry people can’t concentrate on anything.

Solve the simple issues you can to remedy bad moods. If you or your kids need sleep, food, or a break to reset attitudes, the solution should be obvious.

(Hint: the answer is not try to teach them a new, super complicated math concept and then wonder why they are so crabby.

Overcoming Homeschool-related Irritations

Are they having a tough time with what you’re doing educationally? Are they not understanding a concept you’re working on right now? Do they not like the period in history you’re studying and want to move on?

Is your son or daughter just bored? Do they need to switch up the schedule? Try a month of unit studies? Join a co-op? Have they outgrown their current co-op?

Is your child craving more freedom? More structure? Does the set-up of your homeschool need to change? Do you need to shake things up—or have things been completely crazy lately and you need to settle into a routine?

Psst. The best way to figure out if any of these things are an issue? Ask your kids. Involve your kids in planning the set-up of your days and the topics of study. Success is more likely when everyone is on the same page.

Dealing with Life-related Struggles

It’s possible the bad attitude in homeschooling stems from something that isn’t even related to homeschooling. Perhaps there is drama within their group of friends. Maybe mom or dad has been working a lot of extra hours, and they’re feeling left out. Perhaps things are tense with a sibling. Maybe they’re stressed out because of something they’re involved in away from home.

I know that as a parent when I’m worried about that extra bill that surprised us or a pet’s health, I’m less likely to be super sweet and sparkly when explaining how to graph equations.

And that right there? That’s true for our kids as well. They may not be worried about how they’re going to pay for a sudden car repair, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own stuff that chews away at their emotions, causes anxiety, or just flat out distracts them from learning about whatever lesson is on the schedule today.

Simple Ways to Overcome Bad Attitudes in Homeschooling

Overcoming Cabin Fever

Cabin fever is real, friends.

If you’re caught in the middle of a polar vortex and haven’t been able to leave your house for a week, it makes sense that tension would run high. I live in Minnesota—the land of subzero temps and a ton of snow. While the struggle of cabin fever isn’t anywhere near as bad with teens as it was when my kids were younger, being cooped up because it’s -60° outside will definitely change the mood in your home.

People get short with each other. They get antsy. And they start to feed off of each other’s anxiety and frustration.

Recognizing Unrealistic Expectations

Sometimes we homeschooling parents get so caught up in trying to make everything fun and awesome for the kids that when they aren’t super jazzed about the lesson or are meh about the project, we see that as a bad attitude.

Mama. I know you worked hard on pulling together that super cool project. And you found just the perfect video on YouTube to explain the thing you’re studying. But sometimes we need to step back and not take ourselves quite so seriously. It can help with bad attitudes—both for our kids and for ourselves.

Honesty About Bad Attitudes in Homeschooling Families

While we shouldn’t be disrespectful to each other, I think it’s worth being real about the fact that some days are hard, sometimes we don’t like what we’re learning (or teaching), and we’re not going to be smiles and glitter about everything.

Be honest, public/private school graduate: you weren’t always a ball of sparkle in school either. And even if you are a homeschool graduate, I bet you can say the same thing.

As a homeschooling family, you get to see all the good moods and all the bad moods—simply because you’re with each other so much more than mainstream families. But one of the advantages we have as homeschooling families is the flexibility to deal with the things that cause our bad attitudes.

Flexibility is not a cure-all for everything and some days are just really, really hard. But sometimes we get stuck and forget we have the option to do and think about things differently.

Sometimes doing things differently is all it takes to change someone’s attitude—both for your kids, and you.

What’s your best tip for turning bad attitudes around in your homeschool?

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One Comment

  1. This may seem silly, but if one person is having a bad day, then I’ll walk up to each child individually and give them a Hershey kiss. They don’t expect it and everyone enjoys them. I don’t do that every day or even every week. But this small thing seems to cause a smile

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