Homeschooling the Perfectionist Child

The Perfectionist Child

Do you have a child that melts down over your slightest correction in their schoolwork?  One of my son’s tends to be this way.  Learning comes very easily to him.  He learned to read simply by watching his older brother’s lessons and now he can rocket through books far above the level typical for his age.  He picks up math concepts in a flash.  He has an eye for detail and the memory of an elephant. Even physical skills like riding a bike or sports come easily.  While this probably all sounds fantastic (and it is in many ways) the downside is it is tremendously difficult to challenge him.  As a result he doesn’t have much practice dealing with his emotions or working through mistakes.  When a mistake does present itself he tends to overreact and meltdown.  Pridefulness can set in and he can insist he is correct when in truth he is not.


Helping our children have the right perspective with mistakes they make in their schoolwork or in life, helping them analyze their own weaknesses, can be tremendously challenging for any parent.  These character flaws in our children can even seem magnified when we, as homeschooling parents, work alongside our children day after day.

To read the rest of my article about how to handle the perfectionist child please hop on over to the Homeschooling with Heart Blog.

5 Days of Tips for Homeschoolers: How to Have a Great Homeschool Day

How to have a great homeschool day!
Coffee Break Smooth Day

Every family has a different flow to their homeschool.  These things are driven by our family and educational philosophies, our priorities, and the various stages of life we all live through (do you have teens or littles.. or BOTH for example).  I do think there are some pretty universal strategies to making a homeschool day generally run well… or at least give you the best shot at a well run day.

  1. Make your expectations clear with your children.  It may seem that your children should know exactly what you expect of them.  If you are anything like me you probably feel like you are telling them what you expect 100% a day.  I have found though that in my family we need occassional meetings where I layout what I see happening and what I feel should be happening.  I even write things down and display them some place common.  Then, if need be we’ll review that list daily.  A mantra in our home is… Maximum Effort ALWAYS!  We’ve discussed this idea nearly to death and I’m sure they are rolling their little eyeballs at me when I shout it out as they run off to do whatever task I’ve given them.  It does work though! Just three little words can make all of the difference in our home.
  2. Lay out their work ahead of time.  My kids LOVE to know what they will have to do for the day before they even tackle their sit down school work.  We use Homeschool Planet from Homeschool Buyers Coop for scheduling assignments.  I can enter assignments in days, weeks, or months at a time (and them bump them ahead if we don’t get to something).  Each morning they log on and check things off as they go along.  Having that daily list available seems to be the difference between having children with good and willing attitudes and children with unwilling attitudes.
  3. Let the Wiggle! In our home I allow my children to work in whatever position they deem most comfortable.  Often this includes standing.  They even pace while reading or writing out math facts.  If I see a child having trouble concentrating I ask them if they want to “hit the stairs.”  Sometimes running up and down a flight of stairs a few times gives them the kind of brain and body break they need.  Or I simply toss them outside for a little air.
  4. Be Flexible! There will be days when sit down schoolwork just isn’t worth it.  Maybe someone isn’t feeling well or the weather is extra good or the moon is full.  Who knows.  But know that it can be a very good thing to put the work aside from time to time and snuggle up for a movie on the couch or pile into the van for a trip to the park.
  5. Follow Your Instincts! From time to time you may get the feeling that something about your school plan, curriculum, or routine just isn’t working.  When this happens know that it is okay to make changes.  Trial and error may be necessary!  Just remember, you are uniquely suited to raise and educate your own child.  You are the expert on your child.  Move forward boldly.


The members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew are participating in a 5 day series… Tips for homeschool parents.  I encourage you to visit their blogs and read up on their best tips too!

5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

Coffee Break Why

Day 1: Create your “Why!”

The time has come, you’ve decided homeschool your children.  Right now it feels like one of the biggest decisions of your life.  Perhaps you are having issues with your children’s school and the feather that broke the camel’s back has fallen so you’ve pulled them out.  Maybe you’ve been dreaming of homeschooling since they were tiny but the first days of kindergarten are looming and you are realizing you’ve got to commit to create to this crazy idea.  Maybe you’ve been at this homeschooling thing for years and you are feeling tired and weary and wondering if you should continue on.

No matter your life circumstances of the moment know WHY you are homeschooling will help you make the big and the small decisions about your family’s homeschool.  Let’s talk about some common reasons to homeschool.

  1. You are concerned about the environment of the schools.  Perhaps your child was a victim of a bully.  Maybe they have learned some inappropriate things from friends. Perhaps you are worried about some of the violence we often see displayed on the nightly news.  What ever it is about schools that have you concerned you feel like you can provide a better learning environment at home.
  2. You’d like to provide your children with an education centered on a religious world view. It is no secret that God has been removed from the public school classroom.  Even if you are blessed to live in a community with many Christian teachers these teachers are expressly forbidden from teaching from a place of faith.
  3. Dissatisfaction with academic instruction. In the home setting any parent can structure their child’s education to the individual child’s learning style and interests.  Chances are the outcome will be a better educated child.
  4. Child has special needs.  Whether those needs be academic, medical, behavioral, some combination, or something completely different… parents have the unique ability to structure the child’s environment for greatest success.

There are so many other reasons to homeschool that I have not listed here.  These four comprise just the top 4 that are often listed by many homeschooling researchers.  They are enough to get you thinking about this super important subject.

If your family is like mine then your “WHY” will probably encompass a few of the above or perhaps even all of them.  When I feel the need to revisit our why I will sit down with a paper and pencil and a prayer to God to remind me of His calling.  Then I just start writing a long, often discombobulated, crazy list.

Here are some questions to ask yourself while you are making your list….

  • What are our our family’s spiritual goals?
  • Why does homeschooling provide the better environment or way of life for our family?
  • What life skills do we want our kids to have?
  • What non-academic goals do we have for our family?
  • What are our our family’s educational goals?  What do we want learn? Why?

If you are a veteran homeschooling family you may also want to make a list of the good things that have come about since you started homeschooling.

Now post that list somewhere where you will see it often.  Or… if you are bit more structured you can turn your list into some statement…type it off, print it out, and maybe even frame it.

Here is an example of one great “Why” statement.

Why we homeschool… We homeschool in order to create an environment where we can develop a strong relationship with our Lord God and with each other.  We homeschool in order to learn through a Christian worldview.  We homeschool in order to become life long learners. We homeschool in order to develop positive character traits like diligence and perseverance int he face of academic and life struggles.  We homeschool to help us discover God’s plan for all of our lives.

When creating your ‘Why’ statement be purposeful and prayerful.  Revisit it from time to time as your WHY may grow or change and that is OK.  Use your WHY statement in moments when you need support and encouragement.

The members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew are participating in a 5 day series… Tips for homeschool parents.  I encourage you to visit their blogs and read up on their best tips too!

Annette @ A Net In Time
Brandy @ Kingdom Academy Homeschool
Brenda @ Counting Pinecones
Carol @ Home Sweet Life
Cassandra @ A Glimpse of Normal
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses
Cristi @ Through the Calm and Through the Storm
DaLynn @ Biblical Womanhood
Danielle @ Sensible Whimsy

5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents