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Mom’s Homeschool Guide For Reluctant Learners

Do you have a reluctant learner who just doesn’t like homeschool?

Everything seems like a chore when it comes to learning, they don’t want to do math, reading is boring to them, getting them to sit and concentrate is a nearly an impossible task…. If this is your child, you may have a reluctant learner.

Most kids are reluctant learners in school at some point in their education career, but reluctant learners are different. They really don’t seem to like school. AT ALL! 

A child wearing a yellow rain jacket running away from the camera on a dirt road

Tips for Homeschooling a Reluctant Learner

Be flexible when homeschooling reluctant learners

When you are flexible, you can capitalize on alternative ways to reach the same goals. Think of the ways math can be taught apart from textbooks and worksheets, they can use:

  • Sort socks to find matching pairs.
  • Play board games, card games, and dice games frequently.
  • Put puzzles together.
  • Use a hundreds chart.
  • Solve tangram puzzles.
  • Use real coins and bills to teach about money—Have your child count out the money to pay for an item at the store. Let them practice making change for you.

Be creative

Remember that creativity can simply mean taking an idea and applying it in a new way. Take a break. The more you push the harder the resistance. It is frustrating, trust me I know! Just forget the curriculum and the schedules for the day and get out and enjoy life. Go on a hike, get creative in the kitchen, or work out in the community. 

Sometimes all that is needed is a chance to reset the brain. When children are relaxed and don’t feel like they are under any pressure to perform they are usually much more willing to open up to their parents. Remember you are their parent first and their teacher second. 

Slow down

Don’t push the child into doing what he can’t do. If the child is finding it very hard to read, slow down, and pick it up at a later date. Forcing a child to learn something they are not ready for can cause emotional stress on the child. Let them work at their own pace. That is the beauty of homeschooling.

Involve your reluctant learner in the homeschooling process 

Most times children like to have control over something, so I would advise you to let them have a say in what they are learning. Also allow them to pick out a few library books, help plan their schedules and also choose field trips.

Giving them ownership of their education can change attitudes and outcomes toward learning.

Set goals in your homeschool

This doesn’t need to happen just at the start of the school year. It can be done every day if need be. Perhaps just sitting down at the start of the day and setting manageable and measurable goals will help the day go smoother.  The key to setting goals is to get them to want to finish their work, in order to move on to the next thing.

You can set bigger goals for the week’s accomplishments. If you finish all your assignments this week, we will get ice cream on the weekend. Find out what excites them and use it to your advantage.

Find their interest

If your child is interested in animals try and invest in that field.  In addition, try visiting the library and bring home a stack of books on the animals that they want to learn about.

During a period in my home we were only reading easy readers and he ‘believed’ that he couldn’t read. However, after he would find the creature in the field guide, on his own, and would sit with this book, he was able to retell me about the habitat, their diet and where they lived. I was shocked!

His lessons became all about animals! Our geography was based on animals. He learned about people who study animals and more! 

Get some exercise

The is so crucial, especially for boys. Children and teenagers need to move from one place to another, whether they think they do or not! Physical activity increases their ability for the brain to function well and increases attention spans and concentration. 

Visit the library

Look for picture books, comic books, and magazines on the topics you’re studying, regardless of your child’s academic level. Sure, book-books are ok too, but if your child isn’t into reading breaking it up with short, high-interest bursts of reading could make all the difference.

Try a project

Get your child involved in the learning by completing a project. Whether it’s simple or complicated, involving your child’s hands will engage their heads and hearts.

Work on mindset

Is it a confidence thing? How is their self-esteem looking these days? This is especially crucial if you are homeschooling due to emotional or bullying issues. Taking the time to build a child up and increasing their self-belief can do wonders for their desire to learn.

Get out of the house

Educational opportunities are everywhere, don’t get so wrapped up in books that you forget to look outside. You don’t have to go on a field trip for everything, simply talking to someone who knows about your area of study can be helpful. If nothing else the act of going outside will help to reset your day.

Be intentional

Be intentional about finding opportunities to teach your kids without ever calling it school. Plan, but be flexible, so you can capitalize on the little moments and the big ones too. Always remember, a little creativity produces some great results.

Your reluctant learners will never know what hit them.

Are you a busy mom currently struggling with teaching reluctant learners in your homeschool? What tips have you found to work best for you?




  • Baby advisor

    Great guide! These are perfect for kids in order to be creative and explore their imagination. I will highly recommend it to my sister’s son.