How can I homeschool when my kids won’t listen to me?

“I would love to homeschool my kids but they don’t obey me very well so it would never work.”

“I tried homeschooling but my kids and I just butted heads all the time so I gave up.”

“My child follows instructions better from his school teacher than he does from me so it’s better he learns from someone else.”

how can I homeschool when my kids won't listen to me

Have you heard these comments before? Perhaps you’ve thought them yourself. I know I have! Tension between you and your child doesn’t mean you have to give up on homeschooling. Here are several things to consider when deciding whether to homeschool when there is tension between you and your child.

Time to Adjust After Being in Public School

If you just pulled your child out of a traditional school setting they may need some time to adjust to homeschooling. This is new for them and for you! They may not understand the routine or lack of one. They may be confused about why they need to write their name on their paper if they are the only student. They might be frustrated with not knowing when snack time and recess are or when school is officially done for the day. Give them (and yourself) some time and grace to get comfortable with this new way of learning.

Mimicking Traditional School

You might be trying to mimic traditional school in your home instead of actually home schooling. It takes time to figure out how to incorporate homeschooling into your life. Remember that desks and white boards are for teaching large groups of children. You and your child have the freedom to learn outside of the constraints of a classroom. Start thinking outside the box and let learning become a part of life not just several hours of your day.

Discipline Issues

Your child may have discipline issues that need to be addressed.  You may be thinking, “My child didn’t have a problem in his former school. His teachers always said he was a great student, respectful and polite. Why isn’t he that way with me? Maybe our personalities just don’t match up and I should put him back in school!” Remember that the Bible says “Children obey your PARENTS” not “your teachers”. While everyone is called to obey the authority over them (even as adults) there is a special command for children to obey and respect their parents. Where does the enemy want to stir up disrespect and disobedience? In your child’s relationship with you or with his teacher? With you, the parent! This does not mean that you ignore your child’s disobedient and disrespectful heart by sending him away to school where you don’t have to see the fruit of his sinful heart as often. Instead, keep him home with you so that you can see exactly where his heart is at and prayerfully work (by God’s grace) to change it! Make teaching God’s Word and correcting disobedience the top priorities in your home.

Heart Change

Sometimes it is a mom’s heart that needs to change. Are you easily angered? Do you lose your patience quickly? Are your expectations too high? Are there more negative, critical words that come from your mouth than positive, encouraging ones? If so, you need to repent before the Lord and your children. Then ask God to teach you how to be slow to anger, more patient and overflowing with encouraging words. If you are doubting your ability to homeschool because you are quick to get angry and lacking in patience then homeschooling is the very thing that God can use to grow you and conform you into His image. It might not be easy but it is worth it!

Seek the Lord

If you are thinking about homeschooling or are currently struggling through the challenges of homeschooling a child that doesn’t listen to you, then go before the Lord and ask Him if there is anything that needs attention in your heart or the heart of your child. Ask God if you need to change your expectation or make adjustments to your homeschool schedule. Perhaps homeschooling is not for your family. But maybe the enemy wants to discourage you from nurturing the relationship with your child that God wants you to have.




  1. I struggle with this constantly in my oldest. But always keep going back to the fact that if my son is going to have behavior issues I want to be the one to walk him through it. I will do battle for my relationship with my son no matter how difficult. Also, an education with self discipline and character is of more value than all the degrees in the world. Thus if I teach how to fold laundry instead of math for a day than so be it! Thanks for the encouragement Janelle, it’s nice to know I’m not alone…

  2. When we first started homeschooling, we attended a seminar where the instructor jokingly said, “God created homeschooling to help the parents to grow up.” I think there’s a lot of truth to that statement. We homeschooled from birth through high school graduation, and boy, did I do some growing up. lol It was the hardest and the best thing I ever did.

    Susan Mueller

  3. “Sometimes it is a mom’s heart that needs to change.” So true isn’t it? Most of us would just love to pack off our children so that we don’t have to deal with their and our sinful hearts. But the longer we put off dealing with ourselves, the more painful it is when it’s time to deal with it.

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