Rolling with Resistance in Homeschool

In counseling, there’s a technique called “Roll with Resistance.” The technique acknowledges that change is hard and often met with some resistance from Clients. In fact, some days, the Client might not even believe they need to change anything!

If I go in there and try to force them to change, chances are, I’m not gonna have great success. Heck, I might even see an increase in the behavior we’re trying to address in the first place if I tried to tackle it that way!

In rolling with resistance, it’s a bit like a dance and I’m not always the one leading, not exactly, anyways. With this technique, when appropriate, I let the Client lead a bit and I come alongside to “dance” with them. I’m not here to get into all the details of that, but the beauty of this technique is that it often leads to the Client being willing to at least consider that something needs to change. And that is the first step to any kind of lasting change.

Well, who knew such a technique would come in handy in homeschool, too! This week I needed to review adjectives and similies with my son. Writing has not been his favorite subject this year and I’ve been trying to find ways to make it more interesting for him. I’m not looking for him to LOVE it, but I also don’t want him to dread doing it every day.

When trying to review these subjects one day this week, my son wanted to show me a new LEGO creation he had just constructed. Adjectives and similies was the last thing on his mind.

It would have been easy to tell him to put the LEGOs away, sit down, and pay attention. And maybe that’s what you would have done because that’s your parenting or teaching style. If it is and it’s working for you then have at it! I am not here to tell you that you’re doing anything wrong with that and honestly, my philosophy on judging other parents’ parenting is simple: As long as their children are not being abused or neglected, it’s not my business unless they ask me to be involved.

But that method doesn’t have the kind of results I’m looking for in our house. Now I’m not one of these completely “free spirits” who lets my children do whatever they want, so don’t get it confused. There are plenty of rules and expectations here and discipline when those rules are not followed.

But I’m also an advocate of working smarter, not harder and this scenario seemed like a good chance to roll with some resistance.

So instead of making my 7-year old review this stuff the way I had planned it out in my mind, I followed his lead a bit. He is obsessed with LEGOs these days and he could talk to you for hours about that and Star Wars.

So I looked at his new creation that he was proudly displaying and said, “That’s pretty awesome! I like how you did that. What’s some adjectives you could use to describe that thing?”

He spouted off adjective after beautiful adjective describing the size, color, and texture of his LEGO. And then I asked him to describe it to me with similies and I was so impressed with what he came up with.

It’s a simple concept, honestly; using your kids’ interests to teach. Truthfully, it’s probably nothing new to most of you! But my experience was a good reminder for me of how beautifully this works.

I still taught what I needed to teach and we covered everything I needed him to learn, but it was much more interesting to my son when we talked about what he wanted to talk about. And because he found the object of our discussion to be interesting, he was engaged in the learning and obtained what I needed him to understand about “boring” stuff like adjectives and similies. 😉

I’m really trying to incorporate this strategy as much as possible in our class. In our case that has looked like many different things, from a subtraction baseball game between LEGO figures (inspired by this game) to a 6-sentence writing assignment about Darth Vader and Yoda. It’s working wonderfully and this week was our best homeschool week so far, largely, I think, because I’m trying to follow this method as much as possible.

We’re heading off on vacation next week and won’t be doing much school, but I’d love to hear from you guys about how you incorporate your children’s interests into your school days. What has worked for you?

Another Week of Homeschool: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

4 weeks! We’ve homeschooled 4 weeks already! And we’ve survived!! 🙂

This week, like all weeks, had its ups and downs. Let’s start with the not so great moments.

Hard Moment #1: Nostalgia.

The local public schools started back this week and my son had a moment of missing “the old life.” Ha! He talked about missing his friends and his old school, all completely understandable, even for a kid who was excited to leave public school. We had a good heart-to-heart, committed to hanging in there for this school year, and agreed to re-evaluate at the end of the year.

Our local county homeschool association is getting back in gear this month, and I really think that getting out and doing stuff with other homeschool kids is going to make a huge difference. We’re going on our first field trip with the group next week!

Hard Moment #2: Remembering to be flexible.

Remember when I talked about the importance of being flexible? You can read about that here Well, this week I’ve had to remind myself of my own advice.

We are using Sonlight for the majority of our curriculum this year and I LOVE it. I need to do a whole post on that topic alone, but we’ll save that for another day. One of the great things about Sonlight is they provide you with an Instructor’s Guide to show you what to cover every day. But even Sonlight stresses that the Instructor’s Guide should be used as just that: a guide. It shouldn’t have the final say; I should.

This week I have really tried to embrace that. I was noticing that Luke seemed to be feeling a bit overwhelmed with certain things. Part of my challenge has been to figure out what’s going on when he’s strugglinh. Is it that he’s feeling overwhelmed because it’s truly too much work, or is he not understanding it, OR is it actually a healthy amount of work and he’s just wanting to be lazy? Ha! My answers to those questions this week have been, “Yes.”

There were times when I had to have a come to Jesus meeting with him because he wasn’t putting forth effort, times when I skipped certain assignments or tweeked assignments because I felt it was too much busy work, and still other times when the Instructor’s Guide was ready to move on to another topic, but Luke needed a little extra practice.

Once again, that’s one of the best things about homeschool: Being able to really tailor your child’s education to fit their needs!

But despite the hard times, we also had some really great moments! We continued our study on sharks this week and thanks to Pinterest, I was able to combine two ideas into one.

Luke really enjoys when we do art-type things, even though my artistic abilities are practically non-existent. But I realize it’s really important, I think, for me to try and incorporate art things into our week each week.

This week we made sharks out of toilet paper rolls. Thank you, wifemomgeek.com for the cute idea! Luke really wanted to make a hammerhead shark so I left him in charge of that and honestly didn’t have high expectations for his idea to work (I know, I know!l, but boy did he prove me wrong! I was so impressed with what he came up with! We even let Eliana, Luke’s 2-year old sister, join in on the fun. She was perfectly content just painting with us.

Once our sharks were done, we used this neat idea from Kid Minds and did a science experiment to learn about why sharks don’t sink in the ocean. Luke had the best time with this and best of all, he learned while having fun. Always a win in my book!

And speaking of books, we finished up our first read-a-loud book this week. Sonlight is a literature-based curriculum, which means there’s a lot of reading, which we love.

The read-a-loud we’ve been reading this past month has been Charlotte’s Web. I decided that I would like to attempt to celebrate every time we finish a read-a-loud. This time we commemorated the accomplishment with “spider” burgers and Wilbur “pigs” playing in the “mud.”

Even though my spider burgers could probably earn a gold medal in a Pinterest fails competition, the kids loved it, and really, that’s all that I was shooting for. 🙂