We just don’t know what we don’t know as homeschooling parents. We tend to relate a child’s learning abilities to not “getting it” or to lessons being too difficult–or not difficult enough. We can explain away why our homeschooling isn’t going as expected, without stopping to evaluate the state of our child emotionally. Once realize that learning difficulties may stem from emotional issues, then we can start to do something about it.
My children were, quite literally, the best babies. They were mild tempered, sweet, lovable, and quiet. I really was shocked when they started getting a little older and displaying feelings of depression and anger. I really hoped they wouldn’t be like that—be like me, how I was as a child.
They never disrespected me, but they did express emotions that were seemingly uncontrollable. They got angry, they got super sad and I just didn’t know what to do. These were the times when homeschooling was the hardest for them, and me. “Mom, I don’t get this!” Mom, I am stupid!” Yes, my son said that to me once. My heart broke for him because although I knew it completely wasn’t the case, I myself had felt that very feeling and emotion before.
You can grab the My Feelings and Emotions Tracker for FREE for a limited time only.
There had to be help. There had to be a way for us to help our kids through these times. The Lord himself leaves us with some truths that are clear. Emotions are God-given.
Ecclesiastes 3 says there is a time for everything:
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
The chapter continues with letting us know that God has made everything beautiful for its own time and that we cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Therefore, the parental answer to emotions is not to stop them or act like they shouldn’t have them. What we can learn to do is, help our children through their emotions and feelings. In doing so, we can potentially radically transform our homeschool day by helping them cope. Coping helps them focus on school work despite their feelings.
You may enjoy this post: FREE Printables and Activities on Feelings and Emotions
Here are a few things you can immediately do to help transform your child’s homeschool day:
Validate the emotion – When kids identify their emotions they are better equipped to deal with them. I remember feeling angry as a child. Homeschool days don’t have to be wrecked by an emotional fit. Quite possibly, when children have emotions they don’t even realize what is going on. Emotions have a way of taking over sneakily.
When you see your child’s emotions swiftly change, name the feeling. Acknowledge that you know they are feeling something different; this will help them to realize it as well. They will eventually get in the habit of being self-aware of the changes in their mood. Be intentional about addressing your child’s feelings with the My Feelings & Emotions Tracker – with Response Sheets. You can make this printable a part of your child’s daily routine, helping them see their emotions as a task to tackle rather than a bottleneck in their learning process.
Provide a safe environment – This doesn’t mean to take them and put them in time out. Doing that is easy. What I mean here is create an environment where your kids are allowed to feel. I admittedly was super strict to my oldest child. I never really let her have any negative emotions in front of me. This made her keep feelings bottled up and hide things from me in the future. Let your children be free to feel.
Talk about the emotions – How easy is it for us to tell our kids, “STOP!” Stop crying, stop being angry, stop letting things get to you. Take a moment to help your kids talk about how they feel. My very favorite way to get my kids to talk is with circle pictures. I ask them to make circles on the page and draw how they are feeling. I don’t give any more boundaries than that.
After they are done, I point to the pictures and ask them questions like “What does this mean over here?” or “Why is this circle bigger than that circle?” Make it a point to not really give much feedback, just ask questions and acknowledge their answers. You can say something like, “I understand how that can make you feel _____.” Getting your kids to talk about what they have drawn helps them because they are speaking in the third person. As if disassociating themselves from their emotions, they are making it easier to talk about why they are angry. They leave the emotion on the paper. It really helps.
Model behavior – This may very well be the hardest challenge for a parent. After all, we have emotions too and our children are little sponges watching us whenever we have them. I, for one, come from a long line of depressed and angry women. I know I have expressed some emotions in front of my children that I wish I could take back—but can’t. With God’s grace, I have learned to pray through them, I have learned to seek his face when I only saw black. HE truly lifted my eyes up to the hill where my hope comes from.
Instead of feeling like I totally messed up my children, God completely has used my past emotions to show my children that with God all things are possible. He doesn’t leave us where He found us. My kids got to see mommy go from an angry and crying mom to a humbled mom who turns to Jesus for help.
Our kids can learn to effectively manage their feelings. You will be amazed at what this one thing can do to radically smooth out how your homeschool day flows.
Check out the My Feelings & Emotions Tracker – with Response Sheets to help your child identify and work through emotions to transform their homeschool days into a no-fit, no blow-out homeschool day full of learning.
And don’t miss these Free Scripture Memory Cards on Emotions to help your kids memorize Scripture related to how they are feeling.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!