“If you don’t tighten up you are going to school!” “Keep that up and we are registering you for school tomorrow.” “If you think this is hard why don’t you let me register you for school and you can see what it’s really like?” “I could put you in school and see if you still think they have it easy.” If you have ever said anything like this you are probably like most homeschool moms. I know I have said some variation of these in the past. However, I am starting to see the dangers of threatening with school.
While it can be easy to use school as the big bad wolf to motivate your children it’s not a good idea.
What if you stop homeschooling?
I know that you probably haven’t considered this option but it is very important. If you ever stop homeschooling and need to send your child to traditional schooling what perceptions will this talk cause? Will your child be afraid of school?
It’s important to give children a realistic understanding of what school is.
Why do you say it?
For me, these phrases typically come on a day when I am worn down. For some reason my child is either struggling with school work or refusing to do it at all. In a moment of frustration I threatened with school. At first it just seemed like such an easy way to motivate focus. Then it became the answer to my homeschool insecurities. I started to think I needed to put them in school because their behavior implied my failure. What I didn’t see was that I wasn’t doing away with my insecurity. Instead I was transferring it to my children.
As homeschool moms it can be incredibly easy to get overwhelmed with the day to day. There are days when that yellow school bus sounds so good. However, it should never be an empty threat we use to control our children or our insecurities.
So what do I do instead?
If the urge to say this comes from a situation of disobedience from the children I like to look at what the underlying cause is.
Are they over tired? – One of the quickest ways to have a bad day in this house is a tired child. If they are overtired emotions run high and tempers flare.
Are they struggling to understand a concept? Sometimes I move ahead too quickly. My children struggle with a certain concept and I miss it. By stopping to ask if they are struggling I am able to back track where needed.
Am I overwhelming them? If I decide to put too much on their plate tensions will run high quickly. Sometimes we have to look at the schedule and decide what needs to go to bring back peace.
Is this an opportunity for discipline and correction? – Sometimes children are just disobedient. As homeschool parents we get a front row seat to every character flaw and weakness. Some situations are a great opportunity for discipline and correction. Your children will mess up and do wrong. Your job is to discipline and correct in those moments.
Is it my insecurity? It can be so easy to transfer insecurities about homeschooling on to your kids. If you are genuinely doing your best then trust in that. Sometimes we have to step back and remember that our children are their own people and sometimes they will make choices we don’t like. Instead of making it your fault, remember that your child makes choices because of what they want or don’t, not because of who you are or are not.
Do you threaten with school? If not, what have you done instead to avoid using this threat?