Nine-Year-Old Homeschool Problem
Q: Our 9-year-old (only child) is home-schooled. He starts out well for about one hour, but then the wheels start falling off. He has to constantly be told what to do, but if you don't stand over him, it doesn't get done. My wife is tired of trying to teach a child that seems unwilling to be taught. We can take all of his things away from him and it doesn't bother him. Suggestions?
A: I am a home-school proponent, but I'm also a realist. Home-schooling is not a one-size-fits-all educational option. Some children accept the responsibility well; others, like your son, do not..
I've said many times in this column that parents should not home-school a child with whom they are having significant discipline issues. Needless to say, oppositional behavior in the home-school context is highly counterproductive. Behavior problems need to be resolved before home-schooling is undertaken.
The other problem here may be that your wife is using a curriculum that requires too much involvement on her part. Micro-management works no better in a home-school than in any other situation. That quicksand can be avoided by getting plugged into a home-school cooperative where teaching responsibilities are shared among several moms and the children are taught in a small group.
Your local or state home-school coordinator can help you find a suitable home-school group as well as, if need be, a more functional set of educational materials.
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