Homeschooling an Only Child

Homeschooling an Only Child

Joys, Challenges, Tips, and Stats


He sits next to me wrapped up in his favorite blanket. We laugh as we read our current literature selection, Robin Hood. There is no baby needing a diaper change. No big sister wanting help with her creative writing project. It's just the two of us. The day is ours. My family looks different than most homeschooling families. We have chosen an at-home education for our only child.

It is a unique journey filled with joys and struggles alike. I have the advantage of being an only child myself. I understand what it's like to be the only kid around. Although I went through public school so we're navigating this homeschool journey together. Here is a peek into our journey, stats on only children in the US, and encouragement for other families homeschooling an only.

Homeschooling an Only Child in the United States


Homeschooling is on the rise. The NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) estimates 3.4% of children in the United States are educated at home. This is approximately 770,000 kids. I am actually surprised. I thought it would be higher than this.  

 

The statistic I was floored by is that 20% of United States families are single-child families. In large cities, only-child families are found in 30%-40% of homes. Seattle happens to have the most number of single-child families at 47%! Parents in a large city are generally LESS likely to homeschool, however.  

The NCES found over 60% of homeschool families have three or more children. Data has not been collected on the number of families homeschooling an only. It's definitely not reflective of the 20% of US families that have one child.  

 

Over 60% of homeschool families have 3 or more children.  

 

I know a lot of homeschoolers. Most of my closest friends are homeschool parents. I hardly know any other parents of only children. I have never met another homeschooling parent of an only child in person. I've been able to connect with a few online. I interact with thousands of homeschool families. We are definitely in the minority homeschooling an only.

Unique Joys and Challenges in Homeschooling an Only Child

 


Yes, homeschooling an only is hard. Homeschooling any family size is going to present its own unique difficulties. It's also full of joy! These are a few of the unique things an only child homeschool family faces:

 

  • Loneliness- Not only loneliness for the child, for homeschool parent as well. Yes, the phrase "lonely only" can ring true. However, in a culture that's largely big families- it's easy to feel lonely as a mother too. Kids connect a lot easier to one another regardless of family size. I would love to have another mother in my life who is homeschooling an only to be friends with. I have yet to find anyone in my area homeschooling an only. The other only child homeschool moms I've connected with online say the same thing. Plus, our kids get lonely for other kids to play with. I remember that vividly as a child. We also value our friends and the time we get with them because we know how fleeting it can be to have a playmate.

 

  • Learning becomes a family affair- Homeschooling an only opens up new connection for the entire family. I have the chance to dive in deep to everything I am teaching my son. I get to study everything with him. No getting him started on something while I help a sibling. My entire attention and focus is on whatever he's learning. I am amazed at how much I've already learned and grown. I often tell people that WE are in second grade. My husband loves to come home and hear about what we've been learning together and he loves to help out as he can.  

 

  • Curriculum is much more expensive- One of the benefits of most curriculum is that you can use them with multiple kids. The price of curriculum goes up a whole lot in your mind when you know you'll only be using it once. Yes, you can sell it after you are done. I find it's a bit more of a mind game when I look at the price tags for something knowing it's only going to be used by one kid. One thing I love about ShillerLearning's materials- the kits last a LONG time instead of one school year.  

 

  • Energy wanes- Being the sole playmate and the educator is exhausting sometimes. I get worn out pretty fast. My son does too. Kids feed off each other's energy. Without another kid around sometimes we both get tired and cranky.

 

 

  • Higher demands- There are much higher demands on both of us than on a larger family. We don't have several kids to split the chores between. We don't have older siblings to help teach concepts I am struggling with. There are no other kids to bounce ideas off of or to provide entertainment. Plus, only children have an extremely high likelihood of putting a ton of pressure on themselves. Knowing this first hand, I try to minimize it as much as I can. It still rears its head pretty often.

 

  • Deeper bond- Our bond has gotten so much deeper as a homeschool family. I remember as a kid never wanting to leave to go to school. Homeschooling wasn't something I knew about as a kid but I didn't want to go to school. Only child families usually report being more connected to one another and having a stronger relationship. Having the chance to homeschool and learn together has been a beautiful relationship for us. I truly can't wait to see how it changes and grows throughout the years.

 

  • Not enough time- I joke with people all the time that the only thing I don't like about homeschooling is there's not enough time. The homeschool world is vast. There are great resources out there. Mothers that homeschool large families have the advantage to get to try more materials out. They're able to find what works well for them, and grow in their profession as a home educator. I once read it takes a professional 10-15 years to find their footing in a career. I won't get that long as a homeschool mom. I won't get to read all the books or try all the programs I want. I don't get to go back for a re-do of things from when my son was younger that I loved. I value and cherish each day because of this. It also makes me sad.

 

Tips for homeschooling an only


Want to make the jump to try homeschooling your only child? Already have an at-home education set up for your child and want tips and encouragement? Here are a few tips:


  • Find a nature group, coop, or regular group for play-dates- You both need it. A once-a-week nature school or art class might be one of the best choices you make for your homeschooled only. It gives you a chance to have some space from one another, gives you a break, and gives your child a consistent group of friends.  

 

  • Music and art are your friends- Turning on a little classical music and creating an art piece can help diffuse the most tension-filled day.

 

  • Pick curriculum wisely- Look for materials, such as ShillerLearnings's, that will last several years. For other materials, find a friend with children whose ages are bookends to yours you can borrow from or split the cost with.

 

  • Love your library- It's the best place to save money and meet other homeschoolers!

 

  • Have open communication- This is a must among your spouse/partner and your child. Keep the dialogue open about the struggles and joys of your experience.

 

  • Take a break- Being an only child parent is demanding. Make sure you get a break on a regular basis. Even if it's for an hour alone in your home while your kid goes to a friend's. You've got to take that time or you're going to struggle.

 

  • Learn together- Find subjects you both are interested in and dive in together. My son and I are studying homeopathy together and it has been incredible.


Model lifelong learning- Give your student the chance for some independent study time. While they're at it, pick up a topic you're interested in as well.  

  • Get help- If you need to get help with cooking, chores, or cleaning to focus on education, that's ok! The demands of educating an only are high and it's ok to get help. It is also ok to get help for subjects that are difficult for you to teach.

  • Connect- Find a way to connect with other only child homeschoolers. The Internet is an amazing tool!

  • Let things go- If you try something in your homeschool that isn't working, let it go. You'll both be miserable trying to force something you both hate.  

  • Have fun!- This is the journey of a lifetime for both of you. It's the only chance you're going to get. Have fun, let the memory of bad days roll away, and enjoy the adventure.

 


Do we have any other only child homeschool families in our community? Reach out and let us know your tips, challenges, and how we can support you! You can reach me at amanda.osenga@shillermath.com

Make sure to check out our Free Monthly Activity Packs. We design them to be usable by only children through large multi-age families, my son even helps create some of the materials! You'll find a new one every month and they're an excellent way to get free materials for your child to use.


See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher, now homeschooling her dear son - an only child. Her family resides in an Airstream parked in Washington State and loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When not homeschooling, Amanda blogs, loves reading, and creates hand-lettering pieces.

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5 Learning Goals To Set Your Child Up for a Successful Future



5 Learning Goals to Set Your Child Up for a Successful Future

How can one hit a target that doesn’t even exist? Homeschooling without defined goals is like standing in one's backyard with a bow and arrow spinning in circles trying to decide what to shoot at. Or worse yet, letting those arrows fly randomly and hoping for the best.

 

As fall approaches each year, the panic settles over many homeschool parents and they become glassy eyed from pouring through catalogs and websites of curriculum options. How to choose the best materials for each child can be agonizing.  

 

As a veteran homeschool mom of 27 years who was also homeschooled as a child, let me ease your burden just a wee bit.  

 

Before you even start looking at all the options, may I suggest you step back and decide what your big goals are. What are the most important lessons, skills or qualities you’d like to be sure your child leaves your homeschool with when the time comes for them to launch?

 

The answer to these foundational questions will then guide and narrow the rest of your decision making process. And hopefully significantly reduce your stress levels.

 

No matter what your plans are, it is very important to note that your homeschool goals do not need to mirror those of any other family or school, public or private. (I am going to share our family’s goals with the hope that these will get you started thinking about your own!)



When I was a new homeschool mama, I would sit for hours, researching and writing lists of all the specific skills I hoped to cover each year with each child. This exercise was fine and it did help steer our choices for the year but after a few years I realized that everything boiled down to a few foundational targets I wanted each child to hit before they “graduated” from my homeschool.

 

So each year I still make a general list of subjects and skills we will cover but everything always points back to our family’s “Five Learning Goals.”

 

The Donnelly Family Learning Goals

 

1. That the child would learn to read well.

2. That the child would learn basic mathematics.

3. That the child would learn to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.

4. That the child would learn how to learn.

5. That the child would cultivate a lifelong love of learning.

 

(Number 5 is the one that is the absolute most important to me!)

 

When I sit down one day to write each of them a transcript or a diploma, I will look back at these foundations to our homeschool and judge our mutual success as student and teacher. If these targets were met, I will have confidence that any subject they didn’t completely ace or a skill that wasn’t on our radar can easily be filled in if they find a need for that skill or knowledge in their adult life.  

 

The ability to read well is the key that unlocks any door.  

A deep love of learning will inspire and drive them to seek the knowledge they need.

An understanding of how to go about learning will steer them to be able to follow their dreams.

The ability to communicate what they have learned will insure their usefulness in whatever professions they pursue.

And mathematics, well we all know that math is used all day every day in one way or another.

 

May I encourage you to take some time to evaluate what your family’s most important outcomes are for your homeschool and then let everything else be driven by your foundational goals.

 

Welcome to the beautiful world of homeschooling. It’s hard. It’s wonderful. It’s worth the investment of time and money. You can do this! And here at ShillerLearning we are available to come alongside you in your education journey. Feel welcome to call 888-556-6284 or message/email with your questions. We are passionate not only about helping your kids learn but helping them learn to love learning.

 

Catherine Donnelly

Catherine began her formal education journey in Montessori preschool. Following a short stint in regular school she was homeschooled from 5th grade on. After being her college's first homeschooled graduate, she and her husband decided upon home education for their five children. 27 years, and many adventures later, she is till homeschooling their youngest 3 children. The foundation of Maria Montessori's principles have been a consistent thread throughout their learning journey and Catherine was delighted to discover Shiller Learning and join forces with them in 2020. In her sparse free moments she can be found reading with her children (or hiding in a corner reading by herself); writing articles for her blog, books or various clients; playing with her children; or dressing up in various time period costumes and traveling to historical sites.

See Inside Our Kits

Language Arts Kit A (PreK/K-G1)

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How Much Control Do You Really Have Over How Your Child Turns Out

 

How Much Control Do You Really Have

Over How Your Child Turns Out?



(The answer is both more and less than you might think…..)

As parents, especially homeschool parents, we sometimes link so much of our own views of success or failure to our children. When our child is excelling academically we pat ourselves on the back thinking we are doing such a great job. When they struggle in math or reading we berate ourselves, wondering if we are in fact ruining this child’s future with our inept teaching. (Hint: Don’t take the credit or the blame here. But DO keep searching for the right tools to help your child succeed and be the best that they can be. No one cares as much as you for your child. Keep looking until you find the best educational fit.)

Similarly when our child is kind and polite at a social gathering using their pleases and thank yous generously, we hide our self satisfied smiles of pride in our great parenting and offer a sympathetic smile to the parent whose child took a bite out of a cookie, put it back on the plate, and ran outside with nary a nod of appreciation. Really we are internally shaking our heads, glad that one is not ours. But wait….. Sometimes that child IS ours. Then, we hide our shame by laughing it off, “kids will be kids,” secretly embarrassed, knowing we have failed to teach this child manners.

“You are NOT going to believe what YOUR child did today?” greets the frazzled mother as her tired husband steps in the door at dinner time. Dad, not yet ready to be lambasted for the failings of his genepool on little junior, hesitates, feeling somehow less-than before the conversation even starts.

But wait…. How much of our children’s character IS the result of nature? Did they just come wired a certain way, and we have no control over how they turn out? And how much of who they become IS the result of nurture and really does weigh heavily on the shoulders of parental responsibility?

While not a genetic scientist nor a trained psychiatrist, I do have some experienced observations that will ease both your concerns and turn you into a detective searching out the best in each of the children you’ve been gifted with.

Clearly children are wired with certain propensities right out of the gate (or the womb). Often even observable prior to birth, they arrive with a basic set of personality traits. This observation, while guilt relieving, is not absolution for the parents just yet, because there is clearly a very malleable side to all children. Nurture is inextricably intertwined with nature - the parenting, education, friends, and everything that makes up a child’s environment will have a profound effect on who they are and who they become.

As a young parent, I learned to hold my confidence in myself as a result of my child’s successes very loosely. I recognized that things could quite easily go the opposite way and didn’t want to be left holding that bag entirely either. What I did begin to recognize in my children, in children I worked with, and in humans in general is that each character quality they possessed has two distinct sides.

Let me demonstrate:

- Lying is clearly a negative trait. Could lying have a positive side? YES. Imagination and creativity. This child can write an amazingly creative story and come up with answers to questions on the spot.

- Rude and outspoken = a child that is not easily pushed around and will stick up for what is true.

- Disrespectful = confident in themselves and less likely to be swayed to peer pressure.

- Shy = humble, introspective and thoughtful, able to be comfortable within themselves.

- Lazy = innovative thinker often looking for easier or better ways to do things. (Many inventors claim they are lazy.)

- Tattler = great reporter and recorder of details. Possibly a good story teller.

- Bossy = leader, organizer, someone willing to take responsibility. These humans get things done.

- Aggressive child = assertive personality often justice oriented and willing to stand up for what they believe is right. (The parent’s job is to help them learn what is right and what is worth standing up for.)

- Short Tempered = passionate, powerful emotions.

- Forgetful = engrossed in life.

- Prideful = confident.

- Obstinate = determined, able to stand up for what they believe and persevere when things are difficult.

This list is not exhaustive, but you get the idea.

You’ve also read the memes about the strong willed child and how IF they can survive childhood they will be one amazing adult!. This is a beautiful, though often frustrating truth. The qualities in our children that may seem difficult or unpleasant, ALL have a positive side. Every single one of them. It is our honor bound duty to find them!

As parents it is our job to search for the beauty in our child’s personality and even more importantly to help them discover who they are and celebrate their strengths. Way too often, even within the homeschool community, I have seen kids pegged as “bad kids” when in reality their personalities are wonderful and amazing and they need to be loved and respectfully guided into all that they were born to be.

 

Oprah Winfrey said, What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it.

 

This is nowhere more true than in the life of a child. The child who is punished constantly and always criticized for their “bad behavior” does often grow up to be a bad adult. If you take that same child and place even one adult in their life that believes in them and encourages the good side of their personality, they are exponentially more likely to grow up to be a world-changer or at the least a wonderful human being.

As a parent, I had to learn to make decisions based on what was best for my child, not what was best for my pride. Knowing that even though I was seeking out the good side of my child’s character qualities, not everyone cared to take the time to see that beauty. Sometimes this meant finding more nurturing environments or curricula, and sometimes it meant understanding talks with my child in navigating negativity from less understanding adults or advocating for my child in these situations.

YOU are your child’s best advocate, cheerleader, and champion. Not just to the rest of the world, but to themselves. As you constantly dig deep and find the good side of each of their qualities you are helping to build them into exactly who they came prewired to be.

YOU dear parent, have got this! Keep finding and focusing on the good and just watch it expand before your very eyes!

 

Catherine Donnelly, author and homeschool coach with the Rising Stars Foundation

Catherine Donnelly

Catherine began her formal education journey in Montessori preschool. Following a short stint in regular school she was homeschooled from 5th grade on. After being her college's first homeschooled graduate, she and her husband decided upon home education for their five children. 27 years, and many adventures later, she is till homeschooling their youngest 3 children. The foundation of Maria Montessori's principles have been a consistent thread throughout their learning journey and Catherine was delighted to discover Shiller Learning and join forces with them in 2020. In her sparse free moments she can be found reading with her children (or hiding in a corner reading by herself); writing articles for her blog, books or various clients; playing with her children; or dressing up in various time period costumes and traveling to historical sites.

Want to See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits?

Language Arts Kit A (PreK/K-G1)

Language Arts Kit B (G1-G4)


Practical Ways You Can Help Your Child Manage Emotions



Children will always have emotions. However, some kids find it very hard to manage their feelings. This post will outline nine practical and effective ways that you can help your child manage their emotions without overwhelming them or yourself.

 

Importance of Emotional Management to Children

1. Emotional problems can be very damaging to a child's self-esteem; it can also negatively affect their relationships with peers and their ability to focus on schoolwork. Studies have shown that the more emotional control children have daily, the more successful they are in life.

 

2. Emotional problems can disrupt your child's learning process. Being overly emotional is a problem for students since they often do not know how to cope with their emotions and usually get distracted by them instead of getting work done.

 

3. Emotional problems can trigger other behavioral issues. An emotionally overwhelmed child is most likely to act out and become disobedient or disrespectful to authority figures like parents and teachers.

 

4. Kids with Emotional Management Issues are more likely to have relationship problems in the future. These future problems can be related to both intimate relationships and friendships. It is not just kids that struggle with emotional management; many adults do as well. Read about adults who need help managing their emotions here.

 

5. Children with poor emotional management are more likely to have social problems as teenagers and adults. These social issues can include but are not limited to bullying, drug abuse, and risky sexual behavior.

 

Nine Effective Solutions for Managing Kids Emotions

Here are nine ways that you can help manage your child's emotions. Every child is different. Sometimes the solutions I outline might not work for your child; however, you should find a solution that does work for your kid. These solutions are based on proven research and have worked for many parents.

 

1. Talk to your kid about the emotions they have.
Kids feel better when they talk to someone about their feelings. Whether it is a parent, a teacher, a friend, or even an adult who is not familiar with the child, your child feels better when talking out their feelings with another person. Most people feel better when talking through their issues with someone else.

 

2. Have your child think about what they have done to cause their emotions.
Sometimes, kids feel intense emotions simply because of a particular situation they are facing or how it was dealt with. When you ask your child to think about what has happened, most kids will tell you what event triggered their emotions.

 

3. Help your child find healthy ways of dealing with their feelings like taking a walk, reading a book, doing an activity that makes them happy, etc.
Sometimes kids need to take in their feelings to be able to let them go. Helping your child find a healthy way to deal with their emotions can be very helpful. Try to think of ways that would make your child feel comfortable when they feel overwhelmed.

 

4. Help your child express their feelings in a healthy form.
Kids who are bullied, picked on, or made fun of are more likely to be angry and get hurt emotionally by other kids. If you help your child find healthy ways of expressing their emotions, they will be able to take their anger healthily.

 

5. Make sure your kid has proper health and physical care.
Emotions will affect your child's ability to focus on schoolwork and their physical well-being. If you have concerns that your child's feelings affect their work or health, talk to a doctor about it.

 

6. Enforce logical consequences to your child's hostile actions.
Sometimes kids act out of anger or frustration when they are not given what they want. This behavior is usually caused by why your child did not get their way or feel that they were treated destructively. Enforcing logical consequences to their behavior can help them learn how to deal with these emotions more productively and healthily.

 

7. Help your child learn to accept and accept negative consequences.

Sometimes kids act out of anger or frustration because they feel as if they are not being listened to or valued by someone but instead punished for their actions. Please help your child learn to accept the negative consequences that come with their efforts.

 

8. Help your child learn to take healthy risks.
Kids who learn to take risks and experience positive feelings will be happier and more secure with themselves. Please help your child find healthy ways of taking risks that are beneficial for them.

 

9. Listen to and appreciate your kid's feelings when they express themselves.
Sometimes, kids feel intense emotions simply because of certain situations they are facing or how it was dealt with. When you listen to your child and appreciate their feelings, they will tell you what is bothering them.


Kids who have poor emotional management can be hard to deal with. The children who are in this group may feel as though they are misunderstood because their peers and teachers don't understand how they are feeling. They may lash out at other kids, their parents, or even teachers without understanding why they are doing it. However, with the right help and guidance, these kids can learn to manage their emotions appropriately and will be able to live happier and more fulfilling lives.

Guest Blog Author: Andrea Gibbs, Montessori Academy

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Language Arts Kit A (PreK/K-G1)

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Anchors That Hold Your Homeschool Day Together

Anchors That Hold Your Homeschool Day Together!



Do you sometimes feel that your homeschool day literally runs away from you and before you know it, it’s time to start dinner? The kids are grumpy; you are wondering what exactly you accomplished today and walk into the kitchen hearing those lying voices whispering in your head, “You can’t do this. It’s too hard. You’re not cut out to be a homeschooling parent!”

 

You are not alone. As a second generation homeschooler who has been teaching my kids at home for over 26 years (my youngest is 9) I still have days like this. Let me share with you one of my favorite tactics that keeps us going and silences those awful voices in my head.

 

Anchor points. Rather than feel like I have lost all control of my plans for the day, anchor points hold us to a rhythm and provide natural breaks in our day where we can come back to refocus and maintain the momentum.

 

Here are anchors I have found helpful:

 

▪ Meals eaten together (sometimes with a specific discussion)

 

▪ Family Reading Time: Read an exciting book everyday (we read at 12:30 while the kids eat lunch)


▪ Morning Time: A time where everyone comes together and follows a short routine - I often combine this with breakfast (I like to read a fun history story at this time)


▪ 10-Minute “Everyone Moves”: This activity can be linked to a time or a specific subject


▪ Digital Hour: At my house no screens are allowed prior to 3:30 - this way they don’t ask and there is motivation to finish their checklists by then


▪ Quiet Time: This can be a time for reading or napping depending on the family needs


▪ Snack Times: Having snacks available or prepared helps this to be a stress reliever instead of a stress inducing time - and always a favorite for the family

When used with grace and flexibility, these anchor points can serve as place holders in your day - times or activities that both you and your children look forward to and help keep you on a steady track. If everyone loses it during reading, then stopping for a 10 minute movement break and a snack can serve as a reset and bring everyone back with smiles, ready to tackle math.

 

Keep your anchors steady but flexible and they will serve you. They are meant to help not provide another rigid framework to make you feel like you are failing. Fit the anchors into your day that make the most sense and change them up as the needs of your family change.

 

Catherine Donnelly

Catherine began her formal education journey in Montessori preschool. Following a short stint in regular school she was homeschooled from 5th grade on. After being her college's first homeschooled graduate, she and her husband decided upon home education for their five children. 27 years, and many adventures later, she is till homeschooling their youngest 3 children. The foundation of Maria Montessori's principles have been a consistent thread throughout their learning journey and Catherine was delighted to discover Shiller Learning and join forces with them in 2020. In her sparse free moments she can be found reading with her children (or hiding in a corner reading by herself); writing articles for her blog, books or various clients; playing with her children; or dressing up in various time period costumes and traveling to historical sites.

Want to See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits?

Language Arts Kit A (PreK/K-G1)

Language Arts Kit B (G1-G4)


Give Yourself Grace



Homeschooling looks a little different in every single home.

 

It’s so easy to see a picture-perfect social media post about another family’s schooling experience and feel like a failure when you compare it to your real-life everyday. Let me assure you, that NO ONE is better equipped than you to love and find the best way to teach your children. Whether you are full-time homeschooling, hybrid or virtual learning, some days are just messy. Whether home educating is your way of life or you were thrown into it suddenly by a worldwide pandemic, YOU have what it takes to help your kids learn.

 

Stop for one minute. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Now let go of the idea that your homeschool should look like anyone else's. Let go of the idea that your homeschool should look like a public or private school. Trust yourself. Trust your children. You can figure this out.

 

As your family works together to choose what is important, remember that nobody can do it all. Give yourself grace for the days nothing goes as planned and realize; these days were still about learning, it was just a different lesson than you anticipated.

 

Give your kids grace too. Hug them, read to them, let them read to you. Get out math manipulatives and discover together. Cook something fun and talk about measurement. Go for a walk. Drop sticks in a puddle or a creek.

 

Life is short and you are so fortunate to have these days to grow and learn together. Teach your kids to be gentle with themselves by letting them see you be gentle with yourself.

 

Catherine Donnelly

Catherine began her formal education journey in Montessori preschool. Following a short stint in regular school she was homeschooled from 5th grade on. After being her college's first homeschooled graduate, she and her husband decided upon home education for their five children. 27 years, and many adventures later, she is till homeschooling their youngest 3 children. The foundation of Maria Montessori's principles have been a consistent thread throughout their learning journey and Catherine was delighted to discover Shiller Learning and join forces with them in 2020. In her sparse free moments she can be found reading with her children (or hiding in a corner reading by herself); writing articles for her blog, books or various clients; playing with her children; or dressing up in various time period costumes and traveling to historical sites.


Tips for Helping Your Child Overcome Undesired Behaviors

Tips for Helping Your Child Overcome Undesired Behaviors


At ShillerLearning, I recently answered this parent question:

"My 12-year-old son used to be best friends with another boy in the neighborhood but now that's off and they a scream at each other all the time, what do I do? "


two kids playing in the park

 

What’s your goal?

 

Is it to keep them from screaming at each other? Or something else?

 

Whatever goal you have, ask yourself why you have that goal. When you answer that question, ask yourself why that’s the reason. Keep asking why until you have the real reason: The REAL uncomfortable truth you are dealing with.

 

For example (I’m brainstorming here, I don’t know your situation), maybe you feel responsible in some way and that if you had parented differently there would have been a better outcome.

 

Whatever you come up with, now fill in the blank in the following sentence: The right thing to do in this situation is _______.


 

For example, you can’t go back and re-parent but you can have a transparent and open-minded (non-judgmental) discussion with your son about why he’s engaging in this behavior and helping him to understand his goals and the best way to reach them, just like you did for yourself above.

 

Tips to make this process work:

1. Don’t jump to conclusions: take logical baby steps and don’t assume ANYTHING

2. Don’t judge: deal with facts only

3. When you have a negative emotion, realize you have it but don’t show it: make your behavior support your goal, not your ego

 

What situation have you been in like this? What did you do?

 

Let's help each other: Tell us your story so we can share it anonymously with our readers. You may email blog@shillerlearning.com or comment below.



Larry Shiller

Larry Shiller is President of ShillerLearning, whose mission is to help kids learn and fulfill their potential. Shiller has degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Harvard Business School and is the author of Software Excellence (Prentice-Hall).

A father of three, Shiller is active in non-profits and his hobbies include working with local startups, music (Shiller is an accomplished violinist who - when not helping children learn math and language arts - performs in the NYC tri-state area), tennis (Shiller's team made it to the USTA national finals in his skill bracket), Quoridor (Shiller is a former USA Champion), backgammon (Shiller is the Voice of Backgammon, doing commentary on backgammon tournaments worldwide), table tennis, and flying (Shiller holds a private pilot's license).

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Language Arts Kit A (PreK/K-G1)

Language Arts Kit B (G1-G4)