It’s the start of the school year, and you may be surrounded by excited, eager energy. But, chances are you will come up against some resistance to learning throughout the year. While you may be blessed with learners who are internally motivated, there will be a time (maybe already this year!) when you hear “I don’t want to do this!” And you need to be prepared. There’s nothing that can stop an excited homeschool parent in their tracks more than a homeschooler with an unwilling, negative attitude.
So, how do you change “I don’t want to!” into “Let’s do this?” Follow these strategies to light a fire under your reluctant homeschooler and get the school year off to a roaring start.

Handling your Reluctant Homeschooler

One main reason kids are reluctant to get started or are negative about school is fear. Anxiety over performance, scheduling and change can make our students shrink back when we want them to push forward. Fight school fears and take the pressure off of your children by easing them into the year. Don’t make the schedule too strict or packed too early in the year. Consider allowing your student to choose which assignments, tests and projects they want to complete first so that they feel confident and in control of their performance. And, above all else, be encouraging! You should praise five times more than you correct. Remind yourself to encourage by placing a note on your school table/desk, verse on the wall, or even a rubber band around your wrist.

Another reason is that reluctant homeschoolers are often bored homeschoolers. Are you providing enough challenge, fun and interaction within your child’s school day and schedule? Maybe it’s time to rethink a specific type of curriculum or subject that is particularly hard for your homeschooler. Perhaps you need to consider online classes or project-based learning. Sit down and talk about what aspects of homeschooling could be jazzed up, and make a plan to fight boredom with exciting lessons, projects, field trips, and virtual field trips. Get your reluctant homeschoolers excited about the year by allowing them to choose a few fun trips or activities that they will enjoy.

Sometimes reluctant homeschoolers feel overwhelmed. Being pushed is one of the main causes for reluctance and school refusal. If your reluctant homeschoolers are digging in their heels and absolutely refusing to do a specific subject, let it go for a while and focus on rewarding good choices and a positive attitude! The wonderful thing about homeschooling is that you are in the driver’s seat and can choose the journey you take. Take frequent breaks and focus on positive incentives, not negative consequences. Reward your children with encouragement, small prizes, or a special meal at the end of each day, or when a milestone is reached. One of my favorite ways to encourage my kids was to print out a pizza and cut it into slices, then rewarding them with a slice every time they completed a hard subject. Once the entire pizza has been earned, that paper pizza turned into a pizza lunch party!

Chances are you’re going to come toe-to-toe with a reluctant homeschooler at some point this year. The key to overcoming reluctance is to keep your cool, breathe, and consider the “why” that’s underneath the words. Once you connect with why your learner is struggling, you will be more equipped to use one of the strategies above and resolve the issue.

How do you motivate your reluctant homeschooler? Or, maybe you’re a reluctant homeschool parent? Tell us in a comment below!