I recently had a reader ask if my kids always have great attitudes and participate in everything I try. And in an attempt to keep it real and hopefully encourage other mom’s out there, I have to answer with a resounding “NO!”


(Yes they were posing for this picture, but really, it does happen!)

There are definitely days when no one wants to participate, when they think my ideas are lame, and when they have a bad attitude in general and getting through even their first workbox is a trial in and of itself.

I know I post pics of everyone working with a smile and things may *appear* to be rosey all the time, but let’s face it, who wants to see ideas that don’t go well? So most of those don’t make it in the blog, but instead end up in what I like to refer to as “idea heaven”, on bad days it’s “3 hours of wasted time heaven”.

Now, I’m about to suggest some things that I may be ridiculed for here, but please understand that I DO realize that these solutions don’t address the “heart” of the matter, and I’ll get to that in a different post, but for daily, short term fixes to bad attitudes this is what we’ve done.

1. To aid in the motivation of completing our math, they each have a pack of gum in their drawer. Once their math is completed {uhem} correctly, they may have a piece of gum. (My son is a procrastinator but does good work when motivated, my daughter rushes through and make silly mistakes, so I stressed to them that their math needs to be completed in a timely fashion, and yes done correctly!)

2. About half way down in their boxes I usually place a small snack, nothing fancy, but if your kid’s are like mine, snacks are coveted! I find this motivates them to get through boxes, again the work has to be completed correctly, no rushing, no short cuts.

3. In the bottom drawer, I typically put something fun, maybe a little $1 craft from Michael’s or a fun game, puzzle or whatever I know they’ll like. This is like a nice little reward for getting through all of their work.

4. My Attitude: I’ve discovered over the course of the last 4 years, that my attitude is the primary influence over what kind of day we’ll be having. I know it’s hard especially when we’re up all night with a baby, or say 4 kids all at different times, but really I’ve found that if I’m excited then typically they will follow suit!

5. His mercy is a new each morning! If all else fails, give everyone a break and either come back to it later in the day, or just start over fresh the next day. Everyone has bad days even kiddos! Pray for direction, attitude, hearts, and patience!

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

6.Consistency: I know it’s been said before, but really being consistent with your school schedule is key. This is particularly important when you’re just starting out. Letting your kiddos know that school isn’t optional, that you expect them to work, and if they choose not to work during normal school hours, they’ll have a consequence. In our house, their consequence is homework with Daddy. If they don’t finish work because they’re messing around, they have to do it while everyone else is out playing and having fun. (Note: If they don’t finish because it was just too much but they were actually working diligently, they do not receive this consequence)

While all of those things are quick fixes, really we need to address the actual “heart” of the matter. I am getting ready to post some “Character” studies I’ve been working on, but they aren’t complete so in the meantime here are some posts I’ve written on the topic and hopefully they will help out until the Character studies are complete!


  1. Oh thank you for your response to my mutiny question. What wisdom and compassion the Lord has given you. The gum tip is definitely going to be implemented in our house. I'm also going to chill out on a few things that I've taken a hard stance on. I'm such an over achieving newbie. Having talked with a seasoned hs mom, and a friend who teaches kindergarten, I can see that I'm pushing to hard to soon and to much. Time to back up the teacher bus! Thanks for all your tips and experiences that you share.

  2. A lovely post and you encouraged us all with our less-than-perfect children! 🙂 Bribery and external motivation really works! I dream about intrinsic motivation and pray that it will come … (sigh)My high schooler only needs 'motivational help' for her maths now and the rest she's doing well on her own, so I know that it will happen for the others too.

  3. I have been thinking a LOT about homeschooling lately. I am trying to decide if it is the right road for my family, but one thing that scares me is high school, even though it is about 10 years away. I wonder, can I teach hich school classes? Do you think about those days (even though they are YEARS down the line)? Do you have any suggetestions for dealing with worries like that?I love your blog and find lots of ideas for my preschooler, thank you for sharing!

  4. MINDY: Yes I do think about high school and it scares me too! But I also know lots of mom’s who have done it, and they also have a lot of options. You can take advantage of public school sports, options classes, co-ops an video classes. I figure we’ll cross that bridge when we get there, or more like I’ll start planning more seriously when we hit middle or Jr high.At this point you can’t really spend too much time worrying about the future though because who knows what it will bring!Matthew 6:34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

  5. Brand new Homeschool Mom here. I pulled my kids out this year (5th and 2nd Grader.) Thank you for your honesty in this post!!!!! I have been looking at some Homeschool blogs for guidance and ideas and in this post I found empathy and compassion. I look forward to reading more and hope you will follow my blog too as I will prob need some advice :)http://extrememakeover-homeschooledition.blogspot.com/

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