There is a problem that many who choose to homeschool face, and that is struggling to maintain a sense of discipline and personal accountability in their children. The flexibility afforded by a homeschooling curriculum is one of the greatest appeals of the homeschooled approach. Unfortunately, this can also be perceived as a drawback, especially if the child has previously attended a traditional classroom environment.
Days may start and end at different times. There are no uniforms or dress codes. Schedules don’t have to be rigid and the curriculum is often flexible to accommodate the learning style of the individual child. It’s true that attending school with one’s peers can enforce a sense of discipline due to the rigidity of the traditions involved. Still, that doesn’t mean that you have to forego teaching this discipline and focus if you choose to homeschool. It may just require a bit more discipline on the educator’s part as well.
No matter what your child does in their future, punctuality and setting targets or deadlines will be important. Attendance of a traditional school enforces these traits in its very nature, as teachers will assign deadlines for work and insist on arriving to class on time. Even though your homeschooling pursuits may be flexible in nature, try to apply consistency as it relates to time. This will benefit students throughout their lives.
Young children especially benefit from routines. These routines don’t have to be rigid and military-like in execution, but they should be present both inside and outside of active learning hours. During their studies and during their personal time, remind them of the important things that they have to do, and when they need to do it. When they get into the swing of things and can remind themselves of these things, offer a reward of some type when they do.
Have an age-appropriate discussion about priorities with your homeschooled child. Being able to prioritize tasks is an essential part of a person’s overall success academically, professionally, and personally. A great way to illustrate priorities to a child is to create checklists or use a planner.
Timers are great for helping younger and older children to practice time awareness. Very young children might not be capable of reading a clock yet, and even older children can become too engrossed in their tasks to keep track of the time.
Enforcing discipline in a homeschooler’s life means leading by example and applying these principles to your own day-to-day activities. Your student is looking to you for guidance, not just education, so they will likely absorb your mannerisms themselves. Practice punctuality. Prioritize actively. When your student sees you accomplish these tasks, they will feel more inclined to do the same.
To homeschool does not mean having to forego the teaching of discipline. Instead, homeschooling educators should take a note from public educational institutions in regard to time and prioritization. You can take the traditional methods and tweak them to suit your homeschooler’s needs.