Mom-to-Mom Support/My 7-year-old refuses to do any work except reading

My 7-year-old refuses to do any work except reading


This is my first year homeschooling. Actually, my first month and I feel like a failure at it. My seven-year-old refuses to do any work except reading. When math time comes or he has to write anything he either just flat out refuses or has a nuclear meltdown. I wonder if he would be any different in public school. Is it just me or am I asking too much from him? I have tried patience, modifying his workload, and discipline and nothing seems to work for more than one day. Could it be that homeschooling just isn’t right for us? I am so frustrated and saddened by the whole thing. Thanks and God bless.

Dear Mom,

Let’s begin with a prayer.

Lord, we ask that You surround our dear sister in Christ with Your loving arms. Embrace her tired and weary spirit. Give her the courage to seek Your help and to follow the path that You alone have designed for her. Lord, give her Your peace that she may think through the challenges that are presented in her life at this time. Lord, we know that no challenge happens without Your permission. Lord, we ask that You give her the clear knowledge that Your grace will be sufficient to see her through this present challenge. Amen.

When we are faced with challenges in the homeschool, the first response that we generally will have is one that takes us from the present work at hand. This is the Tempter’s design. The Tempter loves to derail our plans using our own human frailty. We feel frustrated and anxious thinking that perhaps we are not within the Lord’s will. Perhaps, we reason, this is the cause of our challenges. Many times we are too quick to change a course of action in order to, in some small way, gain control of a situation that we are unable to understand.

No matter where your little boy goes to school—homeschool, public school, or private Catholic school—he is going to have to behave himself and work with an effort that will afford him the great pleasure of accomplishment. These are lessons that are best learned from parents. These lessons are the foundation of discipline.

Sometimes we mistakenly think that we have accomplished such a goal by sending them to conventional school because the teachers in the classroom setting are able to have the children behave. In actuality, many times the child only behaves in that setting. The behavioral challenges remain and create more discord in the home.

I would think that your first lesson in the homeschool would be to determine a course of action that would allow you to effect positive changes in your son’s behavior. Speak with your husband, and between the two of you, determine the best way to approach the negative behavior that your son is exhibiting. This is well worth your time and effort. In the long run this lesson will serve you very well and will have a much greater effect down the road, whether you homeschool or not.

As far as homeschooling… pray, pray, pray to know if homeschooling is truly within the Lord’s will for you and for your family. Remember that homeschooling is not the watermark of worthy parenting. In fact, the true test of worthy parenting is our overall zeal to do what we believe to be the will of the Lord. Jesus longs to direct and guide our efforts to follow His will. However, the first ingredient is to have a heart for the Lord. We must have a docile and teachable spirit that will allow the Lord to enter into our lives. I believe that you are a woman of prayer who is working to do what you believe the Lord is calling you to do. Trust in the power of the Lord’s desire to be with you in each endeavor. You are an inspiration; keep up the holy work. Remember to pray for the graces and the Lord’s own wisdom in all that you do.

Sending out a prayer,
Rita Munn

About Rita Munn

Rita Munn is a veteran homeschool mother of ten. For many years she was a popular speaker at Catholic homeschooling conferences. Writing has been a passion of hers for as long as she can remember, and she loves to use her writing skills to share her homeschooling experience with other parents. Her “family journal” reflections are featured in CHC’s Educating for Eternity e-newsletter.