Homeschooling 101: Discipline
I’m back today with another Homeschooling 101 post for you! These posts are for people who are thinking about homeschooling but don’t know where to start. They’re all about sharing information on getting started, choosing curriculum, organizing your home, and staying the course!
Today we’re going to talk about homeschooling and discipline. Discipline can be a touchy subject, and so I’ll share how we do it, but please feel free to use whatever works best in your home and with your family. The key to discipline in your homeschool is to be consistent. Reward good behavior, and have consequences for poor choices.
Homeschooling is a very exciting and scary venture for most parents. And once we get over the scary part, we move into the excited phase! We pick our curriculum, organize school areas, get new supplies, and have an overall sense of thrill for our first day of school. Our children are often just as excited as we are about a fun new year!
However, as the excitement of starting school wears off, and it will, you may begin to notice a little whining and even some disobedience starting to creep in.
I would love to say that our children are perfectly content all the time, but that just isn’t true. That said, we did have to put some basic discipline tactics in place in our homeschool and our home. My main goal is to keep everyone focused on their work rather than disturbing those around them. Since we do most subjects together it can be a problem if someone isn’t working diligently or distracting others.
In our home, if kids aren’t paying attention, or choosing to mess around when they should be working, they are required to put their unfinished work in a ‘homework’ pile to be completed at the end of the day. That way their poor choices aren’t affecting the rest of us. Then we can all move on to our next subject and stay on schedule. My children have learned quickly that it pays to get your work done without dawdling! Honestly, they don’t do that too many times before they realize it’s no fun to be doing school work when the other siblings are off playing.
In a homeschool setting it can be difficult for some students to stay focused. Most students will naturally learn to tune out their younger siblings while working, however some might need some assistance in this area. It was very difficult for Turbo to start off, so I used to give him a pair of my husband’s shooting ear muffs to block out the noise. I wrote about it in a post called Ear Protection for Peace. You may also consider putting up folding cardboard pieces around their area, or allowing them to do school in a quieter part of your home, if age appropriate.
I also make sure that I’m doing my job by being present in our homeschool area, available for questions, or keeping people on task. If needed, I gently remind them to be respectful of those working around them.
Whatever rules you choose to implement I encourage you to keep them simple, and be consistent. Your kiddos will soon learn that breaking the rules isn’t allowed even though they’re at home with you, and good behavior will follow.
The best way to help curb whining is to reward positive attitudes and those who are working hard. Putting up a sticker chart and rewarding students with a sticker for each day that they chose to work diligently is a great way to motivate students to do their best. Once their sticker chart is filled up, allow them to pick some sort of reward.
Some ideas include a gift from a small prize box, a special treat for dinner, maybe a trip to get ice cream, or whatever makes sense for your family. Keep your rewards appropriate for the ages of your students. A highschool student might not be motivated by stickers anymore, however a younger student will.
Most whining and complaining fades as students get more used to homeschooling and what is required of them. When we started out, there was quite a bit of whining…
“How much more work is there?”
“Can I be done now?”
“Why do I have to work while my sibling is playing?”
“I don’t feel like doing that!”
The workbox system has really helped us out in the area of whining and complaining. When students can visually “see” their work for the day, there’s no question of how much work there is, how much is left, or when they can be done. Organizing your students work can go a long way in reducing the amount of complaining you’ll receive.
For more information on curbing whining and complaining in your homeschool check out my Homeschooling 101: A guide to getting started!
If you’ve missed my previous posts make sure to check them out!