This week’s Blog Cruise question is, ‘How can I homeschool if my child won’t obey me?’
I don’t think you can do so effectively. Of course, no child has perfect obedience—just as no adult does—but in our homeschool many of the difficulties are either due to trying to learn things too early or to a disobedient, self-willed attitude.
Since obedience is fundamental to a Christian, it’s worth the effort to insist on it, both in the children and in ourselves. This is part of our obedience to God. Of course, it takes a lot of patience, encouragement, humility, and perseverance…as well as prayer. Shepherding a Child’s Heart is probably one of the best books written on the topic.
In the meantime, careful curriculum choices can make learning easier for a child who really struggles with obedience.
It is also wise to set up your homeschooling so that it is not torture for your child. For example, wiggly children who are required to sit very still for a long time are, perhaps, being asked to do more than is possible for them.
For example, we had one child who climbed furniture. Not out of curiosity, or rebellion, or even on purpose. It just sort of happened instinctively. Our other children would be able to listen to the command, ‘Do not climb onto the table,’ and obey. This child would hear, remember for a few moments, and then to her great surprise, find herself on top of the table again.
A homeschooling mother needs to discern between rebellion, laziness, and some overpowering instinct or gift that the child has. The former two simply require discipline of whatever form suits your family. The latter requires patience, creativity, consistent rules, gentle firmness, and lots of time. While the actions resulting from a special inborn tendency may be related to disobedience, they may require parents to make adjustments until the child matures enough to be able to obey the rules. This is, of course, very tricky ground!
May God give us all the love, wisdom, patience, and obedience we need to train and to teach our children well. And may He forgive us our many failures.