Tag Archives: challenging kids

Mental Matters: Homeschooling kids who hate school

By Erika Rizkallah

I don’t enjoy Mondays. Not for obvious reasons – repetitious drudgery or weekend exhaustion – but because I know five days of life sucking fights are ahead of me.

The old joke about mothers being “blessed” (cursed) by having children just like them was made for me. I hated school too. Each morning I’d think of new ways to avoid going.

My favorite was putting my clothes in the dryer and faking sick. Mom would scowl, tell me I wasn’t really sick and prove it by getting the thermometer. In those days we used the glass thermometers that you’d shake down to zero and wait forever for the silvery mercury to rise.

She was always rushing to get to work so she’d say, “I’ll be back in a few minutes to check it, now get ready for school!”

good old thermometer trick #fakesick

I’d get my clothes from the dryer and use the heat from my jeans to raise the temperature on the thermometer. Then I’d shake it down to 100 or 101 degrees.

Sneaky? Yes. Successful? Always.

Of course now I stand watch over a digital one but it doesn’t keep them from whining about invisible ailments. Headaches, stomaches and nausea are easily faked but I know the truth. My teens simply hate school. They’d rather focus on other interests.

But work must be done so I cajole or encourage and on bad days, threaten.

Most days we’re not one of those smily families working at desks or the kitchen table. They sprawl on the sofa, sit in bed or hang outside on the deck. I suppose that’s what I get for causing my mother so much grief.

I’ve given up fighting about when or where it gets done but I insist that it will. get. done.

Baking with Teta 2
Smile for mommy – hee hee!

Homeschooling kids who hate school is harder than anything I’ve ever done. But the struggle isn’t without costs and benefits. The cost? My energy and patience takes a hit. The benefit? We’ve learned how to fight fair, negotiate and compromise which is useful in the real world.

All days aren’t like this but Mondays …

How about you? What do Mondays in your homeschool look like?

Trusting God with homeschool plans

By Erika Rizkallah

Here’s the follow up to my post about the adversary trying to steal my homeschooling joy.

My husband was convinced that sending our son, Sam, to a private prep school was the best choice for him. But I wasn’t. I’ll be honest, Sam is a challenge. My pregnancy was difficult, his birth grueling and at nine months he weaned himself. I’m not kidding, he took one look at what I offered, pushed my boob aside and sat up. Done!


In kindergarten he had panic attacks at the doorway despite my efforts and those of a gentle and loving teacher. It got better in second grade but increased again after bullying incidents (by kids and a teacher) in fourth grade. By the end of that awful year I was done. I decided to trust what God was asking of me and give homeschool a try.

It was the best decision we ever made.

Sam’s always been one of those kids who hangs out on the fringes of activity. He doesn’t like many people, loud noises or chaos. He’s never been one for sitting down either.

samih at field day
First grade field day
sam with ball
watching from a distance

So I don’t know why my husband thought transitioning back again in 8th grade would be successful. I suspect it’s because he’s like Sam and avoids school activities like the plague (leaving me to deal with the drama). But he was insistent and I agreed that if it was meant to be, God would work it for good. My husband had a connection at the prep school and was assured of an “in.” He was 100% certain.

With a heavy heart and a friend’s assertion that “private schools will take anyone whose check doesn’t bounce,” we went through the application process and entrance exam. We waited for the director to call and prepared to shop for new school clothes and supplies.


But special clothes aren’t needed for homeschool and we won! I mean, God won. The school called saying unfortunately they couldn’t accept him because they didn’t feel they could meet his needs.

What that really means is that he didn’t meet their standards. My thoughts on that could create an entirely different post but I’ll spare you.

Anyway, I’ve never been so happy to have Sam rejected! The takeaway for me was this: God’s plan won’t be thwarted. I yielded to my husband’s decision and was faithful through the process, but in the end, God’s will is what matters.

We can trust him with all things.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

Your Turn: What plans have you trusted God with?