View Full Version : The whining.....yikes!

08-11-2011, 01:09 PM
This is our first week of our first year of homeschooling. My kids were excited about the idea (both of their best friends are homeschooled). Each day one of them is constantly whining....I'm bored, this is too hard, why does he get to do that, can't I watch TV, I don't want to use good penmanship...etc. From those with experience, could this be happening because it is the first week after summer? Lots of the subject matter is review, could that be he problem? They are 6 & 7 and were in a small private school up until now, so I don't think it is the shock of having 20+ kids in a class to now just the three of us. We are doing the same math and grammar that they used in school (which they liked). I guess I am just feeling like a crummy mom and and a hs failure right now...

08-11-2011, 02:00 PM
we started last year when my kids were pulled from PS at the ages of 8 (on his birthday!) and 6. The first weeks were fun because I did not have any structure and we only put in a little bit of time. As I added more structure and pushed an agenda, the more push back I got. I will say I do lean more towards unschooling, but we do have curriculum . . . is HS like political parties, only on this forum we tend to get along . .hmm

anywho. It is a fine line between the mom who loves and nurtures and the teacher who demands a level of accountability. 6&7 are hard ages to have a logical talk with, believe me I've wasted breath on that before.

I'd say, play games instead of pencil to paper. I once put numbers on papers, cut them up and threw them around the room. I put music on and had them collect numbers that added to 12, then 10, then 15. We played this over and over and they loved it! These things bring fun into HS'ing! be creative. HS'ing does not have to be school at home, though that does work for some families.
Good luck! I'm still finding what works for our challenges as well.

08-11-2011, 02:10 PM
Yeah, here too. It, for us, is a total test of boundaries. I stay firm and they fall in. It took a few weeks last year, but this year it took about a week. And I have a ready answer for each one:

This is too easy! = "Good, show me you know so we can move on."
This is too hard! = "That's why it's called learning. We will look at it over and over and before you know it, it will be easy. Yesterday you only got 1 flashcard right and today you got 4, so YAY!!! See what I mean?" Then I move forward with the lesson.
Can't I play videos/watch TV = "YES!!! Just as soon as school is done! Yay!"

Those are just a few examples. Plus, one-on-one is an adjustment for kids coming to hsing from a structured school situation. My hs is pretty "firm" in that we school during certain hours, break at certain times, etc so the kids know what to expect and what is expected of them. Anyway, the whining stopped (thank goodness, I thought my head might explode in the beginning!).


Accidental Homeschooler
08-11-2011, 02:22 PM
My 13yo hated junior high, lobbied hard for hs and still started whining almost immediately when we actually started. It got better! It is a big adjustment for everyone. Easing into things helped with both my kids. Because my older daughter had been in ps for so long it took some time. It was much easier for my 5yo to make the adjustment, but still we have had our difficult days. You are not a crummy mom, maybe you just had some unrealistic expectations. I certainly did. I felt better reading this forum and seeing that I am not the only one. For me, I also needed to think of the switch from ps to hs as a process or journey.

08-11-2011, 02:52 PM
Did you take some time to deschool first?

With my boys, I find if I'm really clear, then that helps them stop whining. If they feel the possibility of TV or sweets or getting out of something, then they may whine. If not, they do things happily. Not always quite that simple, but almost.

08-11-2011, 06:58 PM
I think it's my kids job to whine and cajole to try and get their way, and its my job to pick my battles. School is a battle that I choose to win. Well, not school so much but learning. Bacon said it well. Today I was in a mentor circle and they pointed out that you only have to have one more ounce of stubborness than your child does.

08-11-2011, 09:14 PM
LOL. I like that comment about the ounce of stubborness :D

hang in there. Mine whine constantly...I'm going to spell things out better for them this year. I haven't wanted to be too structured, but I think I'm going to try it this year - written schedule on the wall so everyone knows when they get their individual computer time, when they get "mom's help" time, when they should be just working quietly on stuff on their own, etc. And they will be reminded that there is ZERO tv-time or fun-computer-time until all schoolwork and chores are completed...but I think I also need a time-set on that so that I don't get one rushing through everything and demanding tv at 10am...

08-11-2011, 09:33 PM
we are only in week 2 of our first year, so i feel like i can relate a little! i have two boys at home right now, both age 9. i am getting some whining and push back, but it hasn't been quite as bad as i thought.
one thing that has helped us is i have a 'daily list' that i print out. then i fill in what needs to get done under each subject. then i have a check box for each of them under each subject. they love to be able to cross things off and check off the subject. beyond that, i'm pretty flexible (i learned that was the #1 key to my survival in all this!) i let them choose which subject we will do first. i don't really structure 'breaks' but in between subjects while i'm organizing a little they raid the pantry for a snack or run outside for a quick 5 minute game of baseball or soccer. i also dangle any carrot i can think of (i.e. when we finish this, THEN we'll go play ball for 15 minutes, or we can play a board game, etc.)
throughout the day i remind them that when we get done with school, they are FREE and they know it.
one day, school was done around 11 am. another day, it took us until 4:00. so, i remind them of those "record" days...and if i'm getting a lot of push back, i tell them, "do you want an 11 o'clock day or a 4 'oclock day?!" and the competitive nature in two 9 year old boys kicks in and they for sure want an 11:00 day! ha ha!

good luck. don't give in. when we have insane moments where i think i'm going to deck someone... i remind myself WHY i'm doing this and i go back to my original convictions and i feel peace again because i know i'm doing the right thing for the right kids at the right time.

hang in there!!

08-11-2011, 10:00 PM
And they will be reminded that there is ZERO tv-time or fun-computer-time until all schoolwork and chores are completed...but I think I also need a time-set on that so that I don't get one rushing through everything and demanding tv at 10am...

I am trying to think of a way to make any screentime beyond an occasional educational computer game or educational video a complete impossibility in my kids' minds. I think I'm going to have to enforce an no-TV-until-4pm rule every day no matter what. Mine will also get whiny if there is any wiggle room. I wish I could get our cable company to actually completely block out channels during schooltime. Of course that wouldn't work because they know about netflix and dvds of course. Kids have way too many viewing options these days.

08-12-2011, 09:23 AM
Kids have WAY too many viewing options!! remember when we were kids and beyond the early morning cartoons, there was nothing to watch? now there's tv tv tv geared to them anytime they want it. ugh. and they know it. so hard.

but yeah, I think we'll have a no-tv-till 4ish rule, in addition to requiring all school/chores to be done. of course I get a crimp in this plan when I *need* tv to keep them all immobilized if I'm having a cranky-baby day, etc...hard!

08-12-2011, 11:04 AM
you only have to have one more ounce of stubborness than your child does.

I so had to steal this, but I gave you credit LOL

08-13-2011, 07:42 PM
I found that as I was easing into school over the summer...getting our feet wet and figuring out what would work a little hear and there so come August we could really start...my son would whine a lot some days, especially when we were doing something that challenged him. What helped him a lot was when I began making a list of what we had to do each day. He like the routine I think and it helps him to see what he has to do and feel good about getting it all done. I make a list each day and he checks off each thing as he does it. I am not strict about timing. We take breaks when we need to, though I usually make sure we start first thing in the morning and I usually set time limits on the breaks (I actually set the timer). I also experimented a lot over the summer with how much school he could take in one day (he is 4 so I didn't want to over do it). I figured out that he can generally handle about 3 activities/subjects/whatever you want to call it. I start with the thing I know he will least enjoy because he is the freshest and less likely to complain about it and I end with the "funnest" thing for him (generally art or a science experiement) because even if he is tired of school from the day he will still want to do those things which means we finish my list =)

On a side note, we have not had a tv since a month before he was born, so he doesn't have that as an option. About once a week he gets to watch a 30 minute video, but it is always with mommy and papi on the weekend when sister is napping and we all want a little down time together. Other than that he has no exposure to tv, video games, etc. So, even when he is asking to go do other things it is to read books of his choosing (he would have me read to him 24/7 if it were up to him) or ride his bike or something like that, so not the end of the world. I strongly believe that our choice to have no tv in our house has helped him have a way above average attention span for reading and writting/drawing activites that most kids his age. Dh and I also find that we are much more productive without the temptation of tv.

08-14-2011, 04:16 PM
You've already received a lot of great advice, but that won't stop me from jumping in! I agree with a previous poster about taking some time to "deschool." This was absolutely necessary for both me and my son. For about six months we had no strict routines, no book work, just a period of time so he could relax and we could both figure out the right homeschooling approach. We spent a lot of time at the library and a lot of time sampling different educational materials. There was a lot of trial and error and this year we've settled on about 3/4 book work because he likes the structure and 1/4 open-ended learning.

As far as the whining goes, he knows what he needs to accomplish in a day if he wants to finish early, and he also understands that all electronics are off-limits until 2 p.m., no exceptions. I used to say "no electronics until school work and chores are done" only to find that he would do everything slap-dash and rush through it to get to his computer. If he finishes early, he usually reads or builds something with Legos.

And if the whining gets really bad, I just threaten to send him back to a traditional school. :)

08-14-2011, 04:40 PM
That is a fantastic reply! HS'ing DOES NOT have to be school at home is the BEST advice anyone ever gave me. My girls are 10 and 11 and were in school all of their young lives. This is our first year and we will follow more of a less structured program while they get used to the idea. I have read time and time again that parents and children burn out quickly if you try to push school from home. Follow their lead and see what they are interested in. I promise you that kids WILL LEARN. They are going to get bored in front of the tv or the video games after awhile as well. My girls learn a lot playing school with their Webkinz. They teach them (using whiteboards) how to do math and spelling, then they make little movies and record them with our cheapie camcorder. They help cook, do chores, food shop, etc. In all of this, THERE IS LEARNING going on. Just because its not around the table with a book, doesn't mean its not happening. Please be patient and observe. Good luck!

08-14-2011, 04:42 PM
We're about to start our 6th year of homeschooling and I know there will be some whinning...but my kids know it won't change anything. They've learned that they can complain, but the work still needs to get done. I am all for doing it in a fun way, but it still needs to get done. A whille ago, the whinning coming from my son was getting out of hand so I wrote a reminder for him: whinning = extra school work. He stopped ;)

I agree completely with the other comments. Your kids are young, so try to keep it fun and light for the beginning especially. Don't forget to deschool if they have been in the public school system!

It will get better :)

08-14-2011, 07:35 PM
If this was your first week ever of homeschooling, then I would recommend a nice mix of the following....

Child-led projects and activities
Quiet time to follow interests (and an assortment of craft, science, reading, etc. supplies to help)
Family fun projects (trip to the zoo, fun art project, zany craft, family game, etc.)
Alternative learning activities (math with LEGOs, homemade phonics manipulatives, mad libs for grammar, etc.)

Homeschooling does not have to remotely look like schooling, and the sooner the kids get the idea that they get to have FUN doing this and get some personal ownership over it all, the sooner they'll enjoy the process.

This is also the time to set the stage for how they view homeschooling, and I'd suggest making it seem like a pretty fun thing! :)

I agree with those posters who have recommended deschooling too. That's absolutely vital. Here's a little bit about what that generally means... http://www.examiner.com/homeschooling-in-mankato/homeschool-101-what-is-deschooling

Give it time and make it fun (for you and the kids) and it'll all get better!

Good luck!

08-15-2011, 07:56 AM
It must be a bit different for those whose children have gone to PS previously, My son is 8 and all he knows is HS, and yes he has his days when he wants a freeday, but for the most part he wants to have school, we even sometimes do school on the weekend when he wants, especially if its a rainy day. The first 3 yrs we did the Aug-May school yr and during that time we gradually started back in, focusing on only LA, Reading and Math, for the first week or so, but this year we went to year round schooling, we took May off and started in June, we have shorter days, more time for the rock hunts, dinosaur digs, space missions, etc... We can plan the fun stuff around the holidays!! This has been the best yr so far, and the previous ones were not bad, just stressful on mom trying to make sure we got everything done that I planned, trying to micromanage our days, now I have no worry in the world, if for some reason we do not get a subject in today, there is always tomorrow!! Remember that they need to be enjoying, if they put up a wall, its our job to find away around it, to make it fun!!!

08-18-2011, 10:29 PM
Lots of great ideas here.

The things that have worked best for me are knowing when my kids really can't focus. Sometimes when I push to "just finish this one line" when they dont' want to they "whine" in their work by not writing neatly, hurrying, or alternatively dallying, missing stuff, etc. So, go I say. Forget about it. It isn't as if there is a deadline somewhere that says they have to know how to write a cursive t before they reach age 8. >>>Presence of mind

The second thing that worked for me was to absolutely ignore whining or bratty talk every single time. If I hear a tone that isn't productive for me... I say, gosh, I am so sorry, I have no idea what you're saying, I don't speak whine, or snotty brat depending on which language they happen to be using. It oddly has worked like a charm. I don't even ask for them to repeat it, but typically they repeat with a normal sounding voice and often a May I thrown in for good measure. >>>> Selective ignoring

The last thing, I believe was mentioned in another post and it has to do with ownership. If the kids get some choices in what, when, how they are doing school they seem to respond better. This of course doesn't always work out with best laid plans, but... flexibility is a skill that I can model I suppose >>> Child ownership.

Good luck.

08-19-2011, 08:17 PM
We have an established weekday/ schoolday rule of no screens until after 3 pm- same as if they were in school. I chant constantly: " boredom is a gift" . Of course, all schoolwork/chores, etc. also need to be completed, and it doesn't mean they go on and stay on- they each get one hour of "fluff" time.. video games, computer games, whatever- one hour!
I have a kid who starts begging for computer time the second he wakes...so it doesn't help with the whining, just my easy answer..lol

08-22-2011, 10:10 AM
hello, i am new to this group and this is also our first year homeschooling our 3 girls: 1st, 3rd and 4th grade, who were all in public school and we also have a 15 month old son. what exactly is deschooling? we've had an extremely rough time, i cannot get my girls to cooperate with much. i expected a rough transition but this i did not expect. the constant whining and arguing of everything. except from my oldest, she's ok about things, most of the time and to top it all homeschooling was requested by them. they begged me to start homeschooling. which I've always wanted to do, i also wanted them to have the "school" experience away from mommy... now that they all have i had planned on homeschooling before they asked me. and I've read a bit about unschooling, but deschooling I've not, any info or suggestions would be great. and it seems no matter what i do, even the most fun craft will generate an argument from at least one of them.its like they go one after another with the fits and whining which sucks up most of our day... again any advise and some info on deschooling would be great thanks so much...

Did you take some time to deschool first?

With my boys, I find if I'm really clear, then that helps them stop whining. If they feel the possibility of TV or sweets or getting out of something, then they may whine. If not, they do things happily. Not always quite that simple, but almost.

08-22-2011, 03:25 PM
Hi Tracey. There are no rules for deschooling. It's just a transition period between formal schooling and homeschooling. Your first-grader may not need as much deschooling time as your older girls but all of your kids will need time to get out of the "up early, out the door, line up, sit down, be quiet, take out your books, time for a test" routines of formal schooling. Time needed will vary.

I can tell you that when we starting homeschooling, we took three months to deschool first. Deschooling for Zack meant allowing him to sleep in as late as he wanted, flopping in front of the TV/computer/video games when he wanted, some fun trips that he suggested, reading/crafts/Legos when he wanted and nothing structured. I vacillated between feeling guilty and feeling sweet, sweet relief because I needed the break, too. Despite the guilty feelings, that deschooling period has made the rest of our homeschooling experience much smoother. Zack now puts in a five to six hour day of lessons, plus extra time reading/studying on his own with very little whining (usually none!) When he starts dragging his feet or putting up resistance, then I know it's time to give him a few days off.

Best of luck!

08-23-2011, 08:23 PM
I'm completely new but I must say the curriculum for me has made it seem easy. Today he had to make a 3D map of a community complete with a scale and a legend. He took 5 hours to do it!!! And it was awesome. He cut and built and measured his community and he was learning and hadn't a clue it was happening. tomorrow he gets to add the people to the map (firemen, police, etc.) and then write a little fiction paragraph about each and what they do each day. He's so engaged he doesn't care that it's writing which he hates. It's gone so well I'm a little worried that I've missed something because he's enjoying it! so I guess my advice would be if it is too much of a struggle maybe you need to shake up how/what is being taught.