How do you deal with discipline while homeschooling?
Manage Expectations: I want to remind you that this is new for both of you. Just like you are figuring out what it means to homeschool (while working), your child is not used to being the only student in his class or his home being his learning space. This a hard transition, especially at such a social time for children. If your child previously attended school, their entire world as it related to school, friends, home is going through a major shift and this transition will take a few months.
Deschool: Have a conversation with your child and yourself about how public school is different than homeschool. You want to emphasize that learning at home means that you have the opportunity to learn everywhere, not from textbooks.
Check-in frequently: At this point, it’s a mismatched expectation that your child would be able to work independently on school work for long chunks of time without your support or intervention. This is because they are not used to it and because at 9 you don’t have the discipline to just keep doing things you don’t want to do. Heck at 40 it’s hard to muster up that discipline. So, you might start with 20-minutes of work that your child can do on their own and then check-in. I know you might be thinking, “I can’t check in on this child every 20-minutes!” which is totally understandable. Check-in every 45-minutes/hour and allow them to have free time until you two check in again.
Checking in is important because when kids get stuck on just one problem or one concept they often feel incapable of moving forward. So when they come to something that is new, different, difficult, or he just can’t remember, their brain goes, “I don’t know how to do this and I need help. No help is around and I don’t even want to do this anyway, so onto something else!” Your presence helps break this loop but helping him to refocus and teaching them how to think things through when he has a problem.
Know that your child needs you: Learning is relational and children are not meant to simply learn, read, and do on their own. Even if he/she loved everything about school and doing his work, they’d want you there to share in their excitement. So, I’d encourage you to think about how you can go to school when you can be involved (like before and after work). They really need about 2-3 hours of academic time. If it works better for you all, teach an hour in the morning and then two hours when you get off so you can be present with him during his learning time. While you are working, your child can have independent time, student-driven projects, and electronics as you see fit. We can also brainstorm some other ideas.
Lastly, I want to encourage you: it won’t be like this always, sis. As your child gets older, and you both fall into the groove of homeschooling, you will see there are areas in which they need less support and be able to pull away in those.