The biggest thing I have learned so far in the 2 months since we pulled our son out of public school and started homeschooling (it feels like so much longer), is that it is not for the faint of heart. Sure, we have had some great days, where everything runs super smoothly and those days I cherish. But then there are the days like last week that make me question everything.
My son has a very strong will, like me, and wants what he wants when he wants it, there is no compromise. That usually ends in a blowout fight and me wanting to hide in a closet crying. I wish I was exaggerating.
You see, Gavin wants our homeschool to be like a public school because that is what he is familiar with. I have been trying to be accommodating, but I do not have the education and experience, I am just me.
But I still try. We started out with a schedule, of his choosing, where we had a class from x time to x time, then break, then the next class, and so on. That really didn’t work at all. That timeframe works in a school setting when the kids all have to work at the same pace. It works because the students are moving on without fully understanding the concepts at times.
We aren’t doing that, if Gavin doesn’t understand something, we don’t move on, we work on it longer. However, he himself expects to finish each assignment per day, instead of saving it for the next. That means that each class period ends up longer.
Since that wasn’t working, we are doing a no schedule system, specifically a checklist system. I grabbed one of the MANY spiral notebooks that I had and am using 1 page per day.
I list out what he needs to do for each subject for that day. It doesn’t matter how long it takes him to get it done and in what order, that is on him. Last week was our first week doing it this way. It wasn’t a HUGE success by any means, but that was more on Gavin than it was the system.
Gavin has always had issues where if he doesn’t understand a problem at first glance, he gets super frustrated, starts ranting about whatever, saying that it doesn’t make sense or that he is stupid (far from it) and it’s really hard to get him to calm down and focus. When I try and help, the teen attitude comes flying at me and ends up 1: wasting a TON of time and 2: causing mom to get super stressed out. Hence hiding in a closet and crying.
Because of the frequent meltdowns last week (and some goofing off), it took him 6-8 hours to complete his work. The amount of work he had would normally only take him 2-3 hours. I think this system will work for us, eventually.
I think that Gavin having the mindset of public school plays a huge part in the frustrations he feels every day. He is used to doing the work, if he doesn’t understand something, he moves on and accepts the grades he gets, and that’s it. So moving away from that mindset and not just accepting all of that is hard for him. I have to constantly remind him that it’s ok that he doesn’t understand it, that we will work on it until he does. He just needs to slow down, take a breath, and ask for help if he is struggling. I am hoping that this week goes much more smoothly because I do not want to be doing school all day again and I don’t want there to be tension between us either.
How do you handle meltdowns while homeschooling your kids? Specifically teens?