When Your Homeschooled Child Doesn’t Want To Do School

I’m often asked about how I manage days when Emily really doesn’t want to do school. Are there days when she just doesn’t want to do school? Yes, of course!

So what do I do about it? First, I will try to discover the reason why. If she’s not feeling well or is too tired after a long weekend, we just call it a day. But what about the days when she’s just not in the mood? How do we manage?

Keep reading to discover what I do when Emily doesn’t want to do school. I’ll share all my favorite tips and tricks for continuing to learn in our homeschool when Emily isn’t feeling it.

Resistance Is Natural, Even In Homeschooling

Resistance is natural in kids, even when it comes to homeschooling. It does not mean you are doing anything wrong so don’t take it personally. When Emily starts resisting homeschool for the day I stop and try to evaluate the situation.

First, I think about why Emily isn’t feeling up for homeschool lessons. Sometimes there’s a good reason we need to put school on hold for the day. If it’s been a long weekend, we might both be too tired to have a very productive day at homeschool. 

When Emily is tired, pushing her through table work and challenging lessons isn’t going to result in much learning. In fact, it’s usually a great way to put both of us in a bad mood. If I’m going to have to repeat it all when she’s got more energy, it’s just not worth it. 

These are the days when we tend to curl up on the couch with a great documentary instead. Documentaries and educational films mean we can keep learning together as a family without any added stress. There have been a few rainy Mondays where we learned a lot more by cuddling on the couch with a great film.

Helpful Tips For When Your Child Doesn’t Want to Do School

Yes, there are definitely days where my daughter (and sometimes her parents!) just don’t feel up for a whole day of lessons. How do we manage when we just don’t feel like homeschooling? There are a few tricks I use to change it up and get us through the day.

Switching it up can help when homeschooling feels too hard and it’s great for keeping boredom at bay when the routine is just too predictable. Here are some of my favorite ways to change up our homeschool day:

Tip #1 – Change Locations

Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery. I’m a big fan of taking our homeschool lessons outside or on the road when we need a change. During warmer months, homeschool lessons can happen outdoors on a picnic blanket, at the park, or even in the pool!

Check out our Summer Homeschool Day in the Life video to see how we do school in the pool during warmer months. There are tons of fun resources you can use to practice literacy, math skills, and more while you float around in the pool.

You can stay indoors and change locations too. Sometimes the best lessons happen sprawled on the living room floor under a pillow fort. If your homeschooler is just tired of coming to the table, try letting them complete assignments on their bed or the sofa.

Tip # 2 – Compromise

Jane Wells, a crusader for human rights and social justice, famously said “Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than to break.” Sometimes, as parents, all that is needed is for us to be willing to compromise a little.

When we are having a difficult time homeschooling and Emily is ready to throw in the towel, a little compromise can save the day for both of us. There are a few ways to achieve compromise in our homeschool. It can start by letting our kids pick the order of things.

Oftentimes, it doesn’t matter whether we do math first and reading second. Letting kids choose the order helps them to feel they have a bit of control over how the day goes. Plus, it’s kind of like eating dessert first if you get to start with your favorite subject.

Another way to compromise with our homeschooling day is to determine that we won’t do everything. Instead, I choose my top priorities for the day and Emily chooses the other activities or lessons we will cover. We might not get as many things done as we normally would, but it’s better than losing the whole day.

Tip # 3 – Make It Fun

The best way to keep learning happening when homeschooling feels difficult is to make it fun. There are so many simple changes we can make to our homeschool lesson plans to make them more fun for our kids. 

For example, gameschooling is a great way to help homeschoolers learn with real-world problems in a fun way. Check out my Guide to Gameschooling for lots of great ideas on how to get started with gameschooling in your homeschool. 

Project based learning activities are another fun way to bring lessons to life and incorporate lots of extra learning in a way that’s engaging for kids. Check out my Project Based Homeschool Math Activity for a fun way to add extra math to your holiday celebrations with homeschoolers this year.

You can use interest-led unit studies to help kids dive deep into the subjects they’re curious about and all the things they love too. By focusing on things they already enjoy, you’ll be more likely to keep them engaged in the homeschool day from start to finish. 

Do you have a tip for keeping the homeschool day on track when your kids just don’t want to do school? Share your secret to a successful homeschool day in the comments. I can’t wait to read your ideas and maybe even try a few on our next hard day.


One Comment

  1. Stephanie Bryan says:

    Just yesterday, my 9 year old wasn’t really feeling schoolwork. So I said, “What if we do a ‘Yes Day’ for schoolwork? Whatever you want to do, we will do it.”
    She chose a botany/flower Go Fish style card game, multiplication flash cards, a little craft, we read our mail subscription letter & we were supposed to go on a nature walk. The nature walk didn’t happen because we ended up volunteering at our local pumpkin patch for a few hours & didn’t have time before it got dark. We did go on a walk today so close enough. But it was a great day & we both enjoyed ourselves & she loved that she got to choose exactly what she learned about for the day. This will definitely be a repeat.

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