Our kids are sneaky! Just as those of us who went to public school knew how to distract the English teacher from diagramming sentences with questions about her visit to London, our homeschooled children know exactly how to stall and avoid their schoolwork at home. Here are some of the most clever techniques they use to get out of homeschool lessons. Be on the lookout for them!
1. The Bookworm Delay
When kids love to read, it’s a delight to a homeschool momma’s heart! It seems wrong to pull your little bookworm away from what is such a noble and educational pastime! But the “Just one more chapter, please!” ploy can turn into a full morning of no math lessons accomplished! It feels like waking a sleeping baby to tell your child to put the book down, but sometimes it has to be done when reading is a way to avoid other schoolwork.
2. Dr. Doolittle Distractions
Pets are a great way for kids to learn empathy and responsibility. But pets can also serve as a wonderful distraction from homeschooling:
- The dog’s water bowl is empty! Let me fill it.
- Look, the cat is on my book. She wants me to pet her.
- The hamster’s cage needs to be changed.
- The fish need to be fed.
- I’m going to brush Spot now!
And checking on outdoor animals like the chickens or goats can make for an even longer interlude from schoolwork.
3. Lost in the Loo
Why is it that schoolwork acts as a laxative? As soon as you turn your head after assigning that math worksheet, she’s off to the bathroom. Again. And it takes 10-15 minutes of sitting on the toilet, washing hands, brushing hair, fiddling with bath toys, etc. before you even realize your child has been AWOL.
4. Rumbly in my Tumbly
Seriously, how would our children survive in a regular classroom where they can’t eat and drink all the time? The needs of the stomach are hard to ignore! But they are often a delay tactic. The upside is that you can use food as a bribe or reward when faced with an especially unpleasant homeschool subject.
5. I Don’t Feel So Good
Doing homeschool in your pajamas may make heading back to bed or lying on the couch a bit too natural! The claims of a stomach ache or feeling too tired for school are common homeschool ploys to avoid schoolwork. On the bright side, kids can still do a lot of their work lying down, so they learn that this particular stalling strategy backfires.
6. She Did It!
As mom to an only child, this one is foreign to me. But I hear that moms of many hate to interrupt their children for homeschool lessons when they are playing nicely together or cooperating on a project. But the opposite is probably more likely — sibling arguments become a distraction from their schoolwork:
- She’s sitting too close to me!
- He took my favorite pencil.
- They are hogging all the crayons!
- He’s breathing too loudly!
- She’s tapping her foot/pencil.
- He’s shaking the table!
It’s enough to make you understand why school teachers line them up in individual desks!
7. Let’s Get Philosophical
Ah, one of the best parts of parenting and homeschooling — deep discussion about life, theology, and philosophy. It’s in these moments of serious discussion that we feel we are truly connecting with our kids and making a difference in their lives.
Actually, we may have just been hoodwinked with the oldest trick in the book to distract the teacher from the lesson.
8. The Case of the Missing School Supplies
Where do all the pencils go? And why are all the ones you can find broken or dull? Of course, the sharpener isn’t where it’s supposed to be either. Books go missing, notebooks are lost, crayons are scattered in back bedrooms. All of these organizational challenges are clever stalling techniques your kids use to derail your neat grids of homeschool lesson plans.
9. I Saw That on YouTube!
Just when the homeschool lesson is getting really interesting, you hear, “Wait! I saw a video about that!” Or you may hear its alternate versions: “I checked out a library book about that!” Or “I saw that on a Netflix documentary!”
Excited that your child is making connections, you let him trot off to play the video or find the book. An hour later you realize you got lost on a real tangent and still haven’t finished the science lesson for the day.
10. Checking it Twice
Another common stalling technique is displayed by the child who is constantly checking the schedule to see how much more school is left, how many pages he still has to read, and when he will be finished. It’s hard to get upset with this strategy as it appears conscientious on the surface. Don’t be fooled!
Of course, this list is tongue in cheek. Although our kids do get distracted from their homeschool lessons and we do have to draw them back to the task at hand, aren’t you glad we have the option as homeschoolers to explore tangents, take bathroom and snack breaks, and have meaningful discussions? We may feel we are behind sometimes because these distractions keep us from our carefully laid plans, but the truth is that all of these stops along the path are learning opportunities.