Homeschooling Help with Teachability

by Laura
(MO, USA)

I am not as worried about curriculum or ability to homeschool as I am my child's teachability.

Others tell me it will work itself out in time, but I feel that we are missing so much as my child doesn't really like being taught by me. Fear of failure and perfectionism are present (she is the first of three as well) though we talk at length that I grade her on the fact that she tries and on her behavior more than if the answers are right.

Any thoughts on how to wield a child's thoughts on what it should look like to be taught by mom?


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Hi Laura
Hmm.. this is a hard one. I think it is quite natural for a child to resist 'being taught' - they often want to find things out for themselves. I know I don't like to be taught things much - it interferes with my natural learning process. I am not saying I don't ever accept help in understanding things - but there is a student/teacher balance that for me (and my children) requires more 'student' time than 'teacher' time. I wonder if this is the resistance your daughter is having.

You say that you grade your daughter's work. I wonder if it would help if you stopped doing that for a while. As a student you tend to know when you have struggled with something, and when you have done your best. I am thinking she may respond better to a simple 'well done - you worked hard on that'. Perhaps you could even get her to grade her own work? If you need to grade it for your states requirements, then you could do this without her knowing.

If you can, then I would also let her take a little more responsibility for teaching herself. Set her something to study and then let her research the answers - and maybe even present her research back to you so that she becomes the teacher. If she doesn't do a great job, then you could say you don't understand something - and let her go back and research it more so she can explain it to you better.

Homeschooling really is a collaborative project between the two of you - and I think experimenting with teaching her to be an independent learner may well help her to be more relaxed and prepared to take risks.

best wishes, Julie.

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helping a perfectionist
by: Susan Scott

Boy can I relate. My daughter hated to have me teach her anything. Homeschool was a constant struggle (she graduated our homeschool and is now in college and a fully certified EMT). With perfectionist children, it's helpful to recognize their natural gift is a strong sense of right vs wrong. It really is a gift! They are also usually precise, organized, reliable, and orderly thinkers. You could absolutely take some of the pressure off by not grading her work, but remember, she thrives on knowing exactly what is right and what is wrong. Things are very black and white to these kids. She is motivated by a desire to get things right. If there are no grades to shoot for, no affirmation that she got the answers "right", she'll think: why bother doing the work?
Is there a possibility you could use a video curriculum like Math U see, Abeka or Bob Jones? She would still have the structure she craves and someone else would be the teacher.
Good Luck
Susan Scott

teaching as mum
by: maya lucas

I have a girl of 12 and this is a problem for both of us, as she really dislikes me interfering with her learning.I would say give her a project plus maybe a couple of areas you would like her to look at, and a time scale and leave the rest to her. she may surprise you! best wishes

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