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Why Your Kids Are Driving You Nuts.

You’re now a few weeks into homeschooling and hopefully by now you’ve started to find a groove. Or you’ve learned 82 ways that DON’T work and you’re still searching for a peaceful rhythm. Let me ask you this: Are your kids driving you crazy? Are you wondering how on earth the veteran homeschool moms handle this gig? How do they stand being with their kids so much? I mean, you love those kiddos to pieces and you would literally jump in front of a bus for them, but they’re like, literally always here, am I right?  You’re probably wondering, when do you get a break? When do you get time to yourself? Your kids seem to need a question answered or a snack approved or a fight resolved every 5 minutes!  So, here’s the veteran homeschool mom secret: Homeschooled kids are actually more independent.  I’m sorry to say it, I hope you don’t feel offended, and I know there will be people who disagree. It just doesn’t fit the stereotype that homeschooled kids can’t “cut the apron strings” or “have no real-world experience.” (Trust me, if there was a fake world I had access to, I’d be seriously considering moving in as 2020 carries on, but no matter where I go, here I am in the “real world”.) People ask me all the time about when I get “time to myself” as a homeschool mom. And at first, I wasn’t sure how to answer. I mean, when I think about it, you’re right, they ARE always here aren’t they? I hadn’t really noticed… I mean, I know they are here.  What I truly mean is, I have LOADS of time alone. Half the time I’m really not sure WHERE my kids are. They are home, that I know. But are they in their rooms reading, in the basement playing a boardgame, outside in the backyard? I don’t know. It’s possible I haven’t heard a peep from them in an hour or more. I write for a living and my desk is in the living room. The living room! Does that blow your mind? I can work in the living room with my kids also in the living room and no one bugs me for long stretches of time. Did your head just explode? My kids aren’t special. They are totally regular kids. Homeschooled kids. The problem could just be that the school system actually teaches kids to do all these behaviors you are finding obnoxious. And the only way to really fix it is to wait. This is a matter of time, and patience, while your children unlearnsome of the non-academic things school has taught them. I’ve written a list of things the school system has taught your kids that may be driving you bonkers in your early days of homeschooling, and how to help minimize this type of behavior: 1. Asking permission. Kids in school learn that they have to ask permission for ev.er.y.thing. Need to get a tissue? Sharpen your pencil? Use the washroom? Get a drink of water? Ask. Permission.  I understand why they do this in school: classroom management. You absolutely cannot manage 30+ children with one adult without a lot of rules and asking permission to do anything that’s different than what the rest of the group is doing. It’s a necessity of the school system. But remember now that your kids are at home, they are used to an environment where they can’t make their own decisions and get up and do something on their own. So when you’re trying to get some work done and hoping your kid can do one simple math page independently, but two minutes after you sit down he’s standing beside your desk chair, saying something like, “Ummm, I need my pencil sharpened…”looking lost and confused and you’re thinking to yourself, “SO SHARPEN IT!!! Why does this need to involve me?!?!!?” Don’t pull your hair out just yet. Take a deep breath, and remind your child that he can sharpen his pencil on his own, he can figure out where and what to do, and in the future he can just do it, without your permission first. Be careful not to simply give the permission they’ve asked you for, or this will just continue. Simply empower them to make their own decisions by gently reminding them every time that they don’t need permission, and they can do what they need to when they need to do it, because you trust them to make those decisions.  2. Being constantly scheduled. Odds are, if your kids have spent time in the school system, they’ve gotten pretty used to having every moment scheduled for them. Classes are scheduled, breaks are scheduled, which subject is delivered when, for how long, and the content of that lesson, is all planned out by adults, and your child had zero say in any of it. And if you’re anything like us when our kids were in the system, school takes up so much of your life that your evenings and weekends are usually pretty planned out too with extra-curriculars, obligations, errands, scheduled playdates, and family outings. Your kids are just not used to making decisions for themselves or deciding for themselves how to use their own time.  This is why you get the “I’m bored”. And you look around at the dozens of toys, games, books, and technology that litter your house and think, “HOW?!? HOW are you not entertained?” But it’s not a matter of not having anything to do, it’s a matter of not knowing what to, because they aren’t used to that kind of choice. If you think the solution is to micromanage their time, it’s not. I mean, you certainly can, if that brings you joy, and it’ll get rid of the “I’m bored” dilemma, but it won’t teach them anything. Instead, help them brainstorm a mega list of all the things there are to do in your house, and pin it up somewhere. Forbid the words “I’m bored” under threat of chores if you want to, and encourage them to figure

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