7 Powerful Tips For Homeschooling a Defiant Child

7 Powerful Tips For Homeschooling A Resistant Child

Ya’ll, homeschooling a resistant child is not for the faint of heart. But you CAN do it, and even thrive. Be warned though, it requires YOU to let go of some of your ideas about how things should look, and you need to be genuinely okay with that. So, be prepared to work on your mindset and perspective. Conscider this a bonus tip. Maybe even the most important one.

The Homeschooling Fantasy

At some point I think we all have this particular fantasy about homeschooling.

Everyone rouses in the morning with a smile, they get ready for the day with out being asked. They all sit around your feet, eagerly litening to the morning read aloud. Afterward, all of the children are sitting around the dining room table, diligently and obedintly doing their work. Then, you all go on a nature walk together, skipping down the trail, maybe even holding hands. Followed by quietly reading in silence.

The Homeschooling Reality

You’ve asked your teen to get up for the 5th time in an hour. The toddler spilled her cereal all over the work books. Your 8 year old son won’t sit still to save his life. Teaching one topic takes 2 hours and you have to heat your coffee up 5 time before having a sip.

To top things off, one of your children want’s nothing to do with school. At least, not what or how you want to teach. Everyday is a fight, and therefore often involves tears. If you say go left, they go right. But if you say go right, they go left.

You my friend have a resistant child.

Acknowledging it is step 1. The most important step really. Let’s talk about what else you can do help you educate the resistant child, therefore, getting you a little closer to that homeschooling fantasy.

The Good News

Firstly, It’s figure-out-able. Second, your child likely isn’t doing this to you on purpose. Even if it REALLY feels that way. To be honest, they might feel like it’s you doing this to them.

5 Important Factors To Conscider When Homeschooling A Resistant Child

Is there a reason for their reluctance?

It’s important to conscider all of the factors that might be playing a role in their defiance. Try to remove yourself from the situation and view it as if you were an outsider.

1-What is their age and gender?

Girls are more likely to sit and do busy work, where as boys tend to need more tactile learning environments. The same goes for young children. Up until the end of grade four – six, most children have a very hard time sitting for too long. Make sure to add lots of breaks in between their formal learning. Also, make sure their curricum lines up to their physical needs. Maybe they need a math program with lots of manipulatives. A science program the involves lots of experiments. Or Spelling by using letter tiles or alphabet blocks. I bet you could come up with all sorts of creative solutions.

2-Are they going through hormonal changes?

I know this is an uncomfortable subject to broach for some, but it’s really important to conscider. I have found that notable emotional changes start in girls at around age 10. Then as “the change” get’s closer, there are things going on under the surface that make learning difficult.

First of all

……….hormones. They’re all over the place, and can cause your child to feel unfocused and emotional. I don’t like to streotype and label children, but you can liken this to the “terrible twos”. What’s happening isn’t so terrible though. They’re just exploring their boundaries and personalities. Sometimes those boundaries are that they don’t want to be told what to do…..incuding when and what to do for school.


………..their brains and bodies are growing at an alarming rate. It requires massive ammounts of energy, leaving children in this phase of life quite tired and therefore unfocused, and lacking desire.

You might notice that kids rarely do this in public school, but if you’re reading this, you’re very likely a HOMEschooler, and kids are notorious for acting out at home and for mom because they feel so comfortable to express themselves and their frustrations. It’s not natural or healthy to expect them to act the same way they do in an institution, at home. You’ll need to find an extra reserve of grace and patience, and learn to create healthy boundaries.

3-Does the curriculum align with your childs learnging style?

If you have a kinesthetic learner, but your asking them to sit down and fill out a workbook or write an essay, it’s likely not going to go well. That same child might not sit still to read a book, but would happily play lego with and audio version on in the background.

Your visual learner might prefer dvd or other video based learning, like Math-U-See, or Teaching Textbooks. There’s no shame in learning on You Tube or from other online resources. Just monitor their time and make sure the content is quality.

The reader/writters are usually the homeschool “golden children” almost all curriculum will work well for them, and they’ll happily read for hours upon hours. They are very unlikely to be your resistant child.

4-Do they need to be de-schooled?

Homeschool, and public school are two entirely different beasts. By necessity, public school is very structured and rigid. That same concept just doesn’t work in the home. Home is, hopefully, a fairly warm a fuzzy place where you feel comfortable to be YOU.

Many children who leave the public system need time to acclimate to this change, sometimes they need as long as 6 months of doing as they please, finding their identity in these new circustance, possibly even doing some healing from bullying etc.. I’ve heard of some that needed a whole year beacuse they were bullied so badly. Then there are other kids who only need a month. You know your child and how much time they might need.

Part of de-schooling is easing them back in. Start with one subject, then add another a week or two later. By the end of a month or more, you’ll have them doing their full course load with much less stress.

Do explain this process to them though. It will be much more effective if they can mentally prepare and properly enjoy their down time.

5-Is there a congnative issue?

Is there a possibility of an undiagnosed cognative issue such as ADD, Autism, Sensory, or Oppositional Defiance Disorder?

Again, not a fan of openly labeling children, but if one of these things might be an issue holding your child back, it’s good to know what tools to pull from which tool belt.

2 Powerful Hacks For Homeschooling a Resistant Child

Hack #1- Get Them Involoved in Curriculum Choices

Lay out the boundaries, “We need to have a plan for learning language arts, math, science and history/social studies” Give them the freedom to research curriculum they might like to use. They just might surprise you!

Ask them what they might like to learn about, and be very open to adding that to the plan.

If they are able to not only choose their curriculum, but some of their topics, there will be an intrisic motivation that no ammount of bribing, pleading and nagging will draw from your child.

You need to make sure your truly open to this, or the defiance and resistance will be unleashed. If they come to you with a list of YouTube episodes and Netflix documentaries they want to watch for history, but your completely against using those platforms for learning, you need to be willing to bend.

Maybe you really want them to learn French, but they’re really interested in Japanese. Again, it’s important to know when to let go of your own personal vision, and make room for your childs vision.

You may need to create boundaries such as, “You may have free time on these platforms IF the learning is done. If you are found doing other things before completing your learning, you will need to come up with a new plan for this subject, or I’ll have to choose one for you.

Hack #2-Let Them Schedule Their Day

This follows all of the considerations mentioned above.

Create boundaries such as, “It’s important that you complete ___ammount of lessons in ___subject each week”

Have a meeting. Get your childs ideas and opinions about how to proceed. When they have a say, they’ll be more likely to hold themselves accountable, and less likesly to resist.

Maybe you’ll determine together how many lessons of each subject need to be done each week. Use this handy printable to help you with that.

Another option, especially if they’re older, is to have them come up with thier plan for either the day, or week, and bring it to you for offical approval. Be careful not to be too critical, or you’ll be back at square one. If it’s not up to snuff conscider if your expectations are reasonable, and make gentle suggestions in the form of questions like, “What would you think about adding……..?”

You’d be correct if your noticing a theme here.

Encouraging INDEPENDENT learning. A defiant or resistant child does NOT like to be told what to do, so the more indepndant their learning, the less likely they are to feel overwhelmed and frustrated, causing them to lash out.

I hope this advice helps you in homeschooling your resistant child. If you have any other tips of advice please share them in the comments.

How to Homeschool a Resistant or Defiant Child
7 powerful tips on how to homeschool a defiant child. pinterest

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