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Homeschooling the Strong-Willed Child

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I Once tucked an idea for an article into my drafts folder: Homeschooling the Difficult Child

At the time, I was going through such a struggle homeschooling our Go To Daughter that I didn’t really feel I  had anything worth while to say on the subject. 

I just knew that someday I wanted to write about it.  

By the grace of God, my girl and I have come a long way.  In fact, I changed the title to Homeschooling the Strong-Willed Child because”difficult child” no longer seemed to fit. 

Are strong-willed children difficult? 

Undoubtedly they can be.  But changing my perspective was half the battle.  (You can read about that here.)

Homeschooling the Strong Willed Child | Kristy's Cottage blog

I am still on this journey of learning and growing as a mother. 

Some days (many days!) I feel like I am simply not cut out for this job of being a home educator!

If you are struggling, realize that “pain” is a part of growth; you are growing and becoming what God wants you to be.  You don’t have an easy job, dear Mama, but you are equipped!

For further encouragement, I have included helpful articles (either from this blog or other resources) with each of the following ten points.  Simply click the links for more reading.

10 ideas to help you navigate the waters of homeschooling a “strong-willed” child.

1. Embrace your child’s personality.  A strong will is not necessarily a bad thing; learn to appreciate it!

2. Determine who has a bad attitude… and make sure it isn’t you, Mama!

3. Turn off the distractions.  Half-hearted homeschooling will never result in whole-hearted learning or obedience from your child.

 4. Don’t be rigid, but do develop a workable schedule or routine for your homeschooling days and weeks.  A strong-willed child will perceive a hit-and-miss homeschooling style as a prime opportunity to push boundaries.

5. Consistency is a very vital part of homeschooling any child.  If you are prone to inconsistency (like I am), focus on developing this trait in your life on a daily basis.

6. Don’t just focus on discipline and reproof (when your child does wrong); train and shape your child by encouragement, discipleship, and building a loving relationship.

7. Embrace creativity and flexibility.  Homeschooling is not just about academics.  Don’t forget to give your child room to grow, explore, and make messes.  🙂   Lower your expectations, if need be, and give yourself a horizon higher than merely completing a school book by the end of the year.

8. What is your child’s learning style How can you enhance your child’s homeschooling experience by honing in on his or her strengths?  My Go To girl balked at school work this year until I tweaked her lessons to better suite her learning style… that in itself eliminated most of our daily struggle.

9. What is your child’s love language Are you keeping his or her “love tank” full by meaningful expressions of love and acceptance?

10. Is your child fussy and unhappy?  Are you fussy and unhappy?  Make joy “normal” in your home.

If something you read here encourages you, please feel free to share with others moms via social media and I’m always delighted when friends subscribe via email

I’d love to connect with you over at our private homeschooling moms group on Facebook, too.

What would you add to this list?

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  1. A wise woman once told me ( when my son was just over a year) that a strong will is a good thing. That strong willed children become great leaders if channeled in the right direction. I have remembered this for almost 10 years.

    1. So true, Kathy. I have been reminding myself of that a lot lately! 🙂

      As always, perspective is everything.

  2. Great reminders!
    I have a few strong-willed children in this home. I am also strong-willed myself so we are growing together in this homeschooling journey 😉
    Thanks for sharing & just found you on a blog hop today from Raising Arrows.

  3. I’m loving this series. A friend sent me the link the other day. I would love to read more on the topic, particularly *how* to discipline and do the things that have to be done without losing her heart. There are so many days that I feel I’ve lost her heart already 🙁

  4. I’m a different Natalia! I found these so very insightful and timely for me! My 10 year old I would not classify as THAT strong willed (compared to some) but VERY active and takes advantage of my distraction time after time, after time after time after time after time! I’m the one not learning here! Thanks for putting these things you’ve learned into words for us. 🙂

    1. Natalie, thank you so much for the feedback! It’s humbling to realize that we mamas have a lot to learn. I’m SO thankful that the Lord is patient with me!

  5. I love these. While I don’t home school, I do teach 9th and 11th grade history, and these tips apply in most classrooms, not just the home classroom. Thanks for sharing <3

  6. These are very wise tips, Kristy! Thanks!

  7. SO good! I have a very strong-willed 3 1/2 year old. The LORD gently reminds me that I need to keep my own attitude in check and practise consistency in my own life. It is wrong for me to expect more from my 3 1/2 year old than I expect from myself.Thanks for these great tips. Love the quote by Elisabeth Elliot, too! 🙂

  8. Oh boy, this is very timely for me. I have an almost 9 year old, strong willed boy. He is energetic, creative beyond words and adamant that he wants nothing to do with “school work”. I started off on the wrong foot when he was young and pushed and pushed until it was almost destroying our relationship. 🙁 I would love to have a do over.

    We took the past couple of years off completely, we unschooled, and it’s amazing the things he’s learned.

    I’m not at all comfortable with unschooling, in my brain I’m going back and forth and just not at all sure what to do. I do however remind myself that this journey isn’t about me and what/how I want to teach, it’s about HOW he learns best. I still haven’t figured it out.

    Thanks for all your links and suggestions. I intend to look at them all, as I’m sure I’ll find some helpful information! 🙂

    1. Natalia, I have wished SO many times that I could have a “do over” with our strong-willed 9-yr old as well. Since I can’t, I try to make every day count in heading in the right direction and establishing good habits for us both. 🙂
      I am transitioning into a less formal style of homeschooling, as well. So far I’m finding the Charlotte Mason Method suites us well!