“But I hate this!”
“This is so boring!”
“This book is too hard.”
“What a dry book. I don’t want to read this anymore.”
You hear complaints from your kids like that? I am sure some moms do. For me, I have heard these complaints from homeschool moms so many times lately.
“We hate such and such assigned book. It is boring, not interesting, and we didn’t want to read it, so we moved on to something we liked better.”
In theory, that sounds good. We should enjoy reading, find enjoyment in our schoolwork and all that. But when you dig a little deeper, it gets a root of a severe problem in the homeschool community.
School is still school. If we use living books to teach it, there will be books we do not like or enjoy. If you are reading a book for pleasure, and hate it, set it aside. There are plenty of other great books out there. But when it comes to school, it is different.
In displaying the attitudes that I list in the comments above, we pass those on to our children, our students. We teach them that if the textbook is too dry, too hard, too boring, it is okay to not do it. While there can be reasons to set aside a book that is a struggle to learn from, the other lesson we are teaching is a very bad one.
When someone is difficult or hard, it is okay to not persevere.
The biggest lesson I have had to learn as a homeschool parent is perseverance. I don’t always feel like teaching school. I don’t feel like reading a book that I don’t like as well as the next one.
I have had to get creative. I use Audible a lot. It really helps me and I find the boys do not complain about a book when they get to listen to the book while doing something else they enjoy. It ends up giving the feelings of enjoyment, and they are learning at the same time.
I would love to encourage mothers or fathers that are teaching, don’t teach your children to not challenge themselves. I have seen those students as they grow up, that were not challenged to read books that they did not enjoy. It is not a pretty picture. It is the generation of homeschool mothers and fathers that are encouraging stimulation at every turn.
When we seek to make everything “fun”, “Hands on” and “exciting” which are all good things, we can end up taking away valuable lessons for them as well. Patience, perseverance, endurance and most importantly, the lesson of pushing through when life is hard.
I have met people that when life is hard, they give up. Physically, mentally or emotionally. There are times when our bodies cannot handle the stress that is placed on it, but I am more talking about small stressors.
I learned something about our bodies, that if our mothers were stressed while we are pregnant, our placenta gives them the hormones and levels they need to function in a higher stress lifestyle once they are born as well. If we never push our children or ourselves outside our comfort zone, our bodies never will be pushed to give us the supplies we need to deal with real stress when it comes. Everyone will have stress at one time.
An important lesson in school, that we can teach our children is pushing through when we don’t want to. This might mean reading that Dicken’s novel you hate, (Great Expectations was my nemesis). Or it might mean that you approach it with a lateral decision.
“Kids, this is not my favorite book. What do you think? Should we push through and see what we can get out of it or should we find another one that teaches the same thing?”
I remember a book assigned for the year that I totally disliked. I felt it was poorly written and just a dud. I pushed through and read it all and wouldn’t you know, that was their favorite book we read all year.
Your attitude about a book rubs off on your children. If you complain about reading a book, they will likely not enjoy it. If you get into it and make the boring book interesting, they will enjoy it.
Just to close, as an example, I had a young woman that taught us a couple days a week growing up. Schoolbooks were scarce and she had to use what we had. She had one of the worst science textbooks I have ever seen. It was the top level of boring. Wouldn’t you know, that somehow, through her enthusiasm and joy about the topics, made that science year the most fascinating of my elementary years. Your attitude will make a difference.