Do you have a homeschool full of class clowns? You know, every time you turn your head or leave the room to throw a load of laundry in, they go out of their way to distract and make each other laugh. Your son walks into any room, and pretends to slip and fall down. The 2 week-old baby wakes from the loud bang caused by him crashing to the floor and the delighted squeal of the three-year-old who is watching his every move to see what he’ll do next.
Come on, it can’t be just me…can it?
Well, if you do have some clowns hanging around that circus you call a homeschool, here are some easy (if you’re consistent) discipline steps you can take to help you get back on track as the new year gets going.
5 Steps for Adding Discipline to Your Homeschool
1. Stay calm.
You didn’t really think the clowning was all about them, did you? I know, though I don’t always remember, that I am the one who sets the tone for our home and our homeschool.
As we just welcomed a new baby into the chaos, and the last few months of the pregnancy were tough, we’re really off track. My temper is short (I’m totally blaming it on the hormones, though), and I yell more readily, throwing everything off further and adding to the noise level.
2. Create a schedule – and stick with it.
Kids do so much better at everything when they know what to expect. I am guilty of not following my own advice on this one.
And, just to be clear, I don’t necessarily mean a set schedule where times and subjects/activities are blocked out minute by minute. Even a simple list will do, as long as your kids have an idea of what to expect and when. Your schedule can be as simple as:
Chores—> Breakfast—> Bible—> Individual Lessons—> Snack—> Lessons Continued—> Lunch—> Group Lessons—>Snack/Free Time—> Dinner—> Chores—> Bath/Read Aloud/Bed
3. Set clear expectations.
Do you expect your kids to do their chores and schoolwork without arguing or complaining? Write it down and post it, along with any other rules you have.
We keep our rules simple, and we post them in the kitchen. There are only three, but all behaviors (and misbehaviors) can fall under those rules. Our kids must obey, be kind, and be willing helpers. Whenever they are behaving in a way that breaks one of those expectations, we simply point to the rules, tell them that they are not being kind – or whatever – and let them know what their consequence is.
4. Keep consequences simple.
When our children choose not to obey, be kind, or help out, we let them know that they have chosen to earn a negative consequence. The consequence is always the same, and very simple. They must stop what they are doing and complete an extra chore.
To help us come up with extra chores on the fly, we all (me, my husband, and the kids) took some time and looked around the house at all of the things that needed to be done, including those things (like scrubbing baseboards) that rarely get done.
We typed them all up, printed, cut, and laminated them as little cards, and stuck them in a mason jar. Sometimes the kids get a chore that they don’t mind doing, and that’s okay. The majority of the time they have to stop doing something they really want to be doing in order to do that chore, so the timing hurts…it cuts into their free choice time.
5. Above all, be consistent.
Honestly, it doesn’t really matter what you do, discipline-wise. Your children will respond as long as you set the tone, expectations, and consequences, and follow through every time. It’s when we try a slew of different things that we get into trouble and our kids run amok.
Take a deep breath, make some plans, hold a family meeting, and discuss the schedule and rule changes. Then stick with it. Once they know you’re serious, you’ll have those clowns reined in and performing acrobatics of the mind, blowing you away with all they’re accomplishing.
And your house will be much quieter.
The following is a post from contributing writer Colleen.
It’s interesting to read these. I don’t homeschool but on days like today when the children stay home from school due to snowdays, it helps when we all know what is expected. The time goes by quickly and there is less bickering. Now I just need to come up with chores for when there is disobedience. I like the idea of having chores in a jar. Thanks for posting. I enjoy your blog
I love this. Simple. Direct. But here’s my question. What do you do with the child who does not do the chore…drags it out, has a tantrum, makes a scene or otherwise has a bad attitude in carrying out the consequence? This is where I tend to have trouble.
100% with what SPKarenO says! We have simple rules and consequences and we follow through, but 99% of the time, she will either complain about the consequence or just draw it out ad infinitum. Then what??