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Sometimes our kids just don’t want to do their school work. Has that ever happened in your homeschool?
Man, there are so many situations and reasons why this can happen, and then there are also many possible solutions.
Then by the time they get to be teenagers, you’d kind of expect that they’d just do their work because they know they have a purpose in life to prepare for and they are learning to commit to the work they need to do to prepare.
But sometimes, stuff just happens to thwart that and they hit a wall or a roadblock of some sort. Then a mom is left scratching her head wondering how to help her teenager overcome the roadblock and continue on.
I had such an experience with my oldest son when he was about 13. He was seriously resisting doing his math. Like, he would not do it. Every time he sat to work on it he felt a huge drudgery and couldn’t bring himself to do it.
We had a great relationship and he was a good kid who didn’t give me any trouble, so it wasn’t any behavioral problem or anything like that. He was always good at math and caught on to things really quickly. So I was puzzled at this drudgery.
I tried to help in just about any way I could think of and was feeling quite frustrated about it. I remember telling him that Algebra 1 was definitely a subject he would need to know if he had plans to go to college, that if he didn’t learn it he would likely regret it someday, etc. He still just didn’t want to do it. I knew that if I pushed or required that it would be futile and be a source of frustration for both of us.
One day I shared my situation and concerns with another homeschool mom. What she said to me that day rang in my ears and I couldn’t put it down, but I also didn’t want to consider it. She said, “Then fine, let him not do it. It’s his education.”
Man, that sat like a heavy rock in my stomach. Not have him do it? But what if…? And what about…? But something in me finally began to consider that that just might be the exact answer I needed to hear.
After giving it much thought and prayer, I felt that it indeed was the answer. So one day I put on my courageous and trusting pants, and I went to him in an attitude of respect and faith, and basically said,
“So, it seems you’re not too interested in doing Algebra. That’s ok. It’s your decision. We’ve discussed what colleges will require and what kinds of things you may be interested in doing when you’re older. And I trust that you will get yourself where you need to go. You will be guided to what you need to do and what you need to learn, and when and how to do that. So you think and pray about it, and I’ll support you in whatever you decide.”
Well, that Algebra 1 book never opened again.
The next year he felt a serious desire to go to public school. (Ugh! That’s another story!) He just really wanted to learn some things there, and take some classes they had to offer. So off he went. And would you know it, the only math class he could sign up for was Algebra 2. Yes, you read that right, Algebra 2! The Algebra 1 class was full.
I thought to myself, “How is he going to learn Algebra 2 when he hasn’t even done Algebra 1 yet?!” Then my friend’s words came back into my ears, “It’s his education.” So I quieted my concerns and just supported and trusted.
Well, I never heard any complaints, never saw him struggle, all I know is that he took that class, realized he needed to understand some things from Algebra 1 to be able to understand Algebra 2, so he studied it and taught himself. Done deal.
Well, this kid just graduated from BYU with a masters degree in cybersecurity, a heavily loaded, math-centered type field of study. And he’s a genius at it. He is notorious for teaching himself anything he needs to learn, and he does it his way, which is much faster and better than any way I could have done it.
I’m grateful for my friend’s advice, to trust and know that my kids can be guided and trusted to make their own way, that I certainly need to do all that I can, but that I also need to allow their freedom of decision and trust their power to chart their own course. It definitely worked out well in this case.
So, that’s one instance of helping your kids overcome educational roadblocks… Every kid is unique and so is every situation.
The biggest lesson I learned from this experience is to seek for and trust the inspiration that comes. If you are finding yourself in a tricky situation, I believe you can find the inspiration you need to find the solution. So hang in there, Mom, you’re doing great!!
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