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The Old Schoolhouse Magazine


Homeschooling the Difficult Child  -              March 2, 2011

Greetings!Nancy Carter Picture

When it comes to homeschooling, we all have our difficult moments, but what if you have one child who is particularly difficult? What if the two of you just clash like crazy and trying to get that child to do her work makes your home feel more like a battle zone than a haven? 

At our very first Schoolhouse Expo, Malia Russell did a wonderful presentation on homeschooling the difficult child. You can see the handout for that workshop
here. It was such an encouragement. In fact, you can download the MP3 from Malia's website for free by using the coupon code TOSFREE1, and read her blog series on the topic.

Malia will be speaking again at the spring
Schoolhouse Expo, but her focus is going to be a little different this time; we have some other speakers who will be sharing different ways to cope with and motivate those more difficult students. I think Carol Barnier's topic, "What are you THINKING? - Learning Styles and Beyond," will help you figure out more than just what the problem is. She'll also help you figure out what to DO. And Dianne Craft's workshop, "My Child Doesn't Learn Like My Others: Right Brain Strategies," will be a real encouragement for parents whose children learn differently. We have only about 300 tickets left for our LIVE Schoolhouse Expo, so if you want to join us for an opportunity to hear these speakers and ask questions, you'll want to buy your ticket quickly.

I really hope that these ladies and our other writers will be an encouragement to you today. The tasks that God calls us to aren't always easy, but God will be faithful to grow you, as well as your children, along the homeschool journey.

~Nancy Carter 

Nancy Carter
THM Editor



Deborah WuehlerMercy Every Minute
Deborah Wuehler, TOS Senior Editor

Hey this is Hannah, and I'm doing the Minute today for my writing and because Mom is paying me $10 to do it! Money is a big motivator for non-motivated children!


You know sometimes, it's not the child who is difficult, but the curriculum and the environment that are making it so difficult for the child. I happen to be one of those "difficult" children, and I have a hard time doing school with certain curriculum. For instance, I don't do well when books ask me questions I will never use. I like practical word problems that make sense and that I could apply to everyday life and any kind of learning that is based on my interests.


My interests are in animals, so in preparing me for the California High School Proficiency Exam, I'm currently writing an essay on whether dogs should or should not be vaccinated. Writing comes so much easier when I have to write about something that I like or that I have read about.


One thing I have a hard time with is handwriting, so my mom lets me brainstorm on paper and type my essay on the computer, so we can then print it and correct it on paper.  


Another thing I have a hard time with is our crazy, distraction-filled home. I cannot tune out the noise in the background the kids are making! Sometimes the only thing that will help me is to put up a cardboard cubicle around me and ask Mom to tell the kids to be absolutely silent, or I can listen to some non-distracting music with ear buds.


So sometimes it's not the child willfully being difficult, although that may be the case for some children, but maybe God wired their brains to work differently than others.


Deborah here: Do you wonder if your difficult child just might have a brain that works differently than others? Dianne Craft's website and her fall Expo webinar helped me tremendously: (She will be speaking at our upcoming spring Expo as well!) What also was eye-opening for us was researching information on Asperger's syndrome and sensory integration issues.  


When life gets difficult for me with my difficult children, I run to my Helper. When I feel like I fail and need extra strength, I find it in Him alone. God's presence and God's Word have been a lifeline for me:


"Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever." Psalm 73:25-26





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The Suarez Family

Hey from Gena

Gena Suarez, Publisher of TOS 


Hey there, everyone,


This week's theme, as you've noticed, is about homeschooling the difficult child. Hmmmm. Well, I can say that none of my kids is perfect, and all of them at one time or another have been, let's just say, a challenge. One in particular was a downright stinker-an "I want to pull ALL my hair out NOW" kinda stinker. But that child grew into a pretty great individual. Surprises me at times when I see the music this kid composes, and the tender heart. Wasn't always that way, though. 

I remember wringing my hands, wondering how I was going to continue homeschooling such a little rebel. But I guess when you insist on maintaining a household that will follow after the Lord, through the good and the bad, eventually God starts to prune and straighten the crookedness and twists & turns right out of us. He begins sculpting, whittling down and chiseling away at the rough spots, the nubs of the heart, so to speak. Keep God's Word ever before them. Train them up in the way they should go--this is God's way. No matter the tears, the anger, the frustration, keep at it. Just walk. You made it through today, and friend, you'll make it through tomorrow, too, by God's good grace. So take courage; you're only being asked to do what God's Word already says. Stand firm, be the Mama.

  • No, quit asking if you can go to public school and stop staring out the window at the yellow bus.
  • Sorry, put the video game down and jump on your math.
  • Forget it, you can't go over to so-and-so's house instead of tackling that chemistry like we agreed you'd do.
  • I'm the Mama and I love you. Period. (And yes, you may eat a doughnut while you lounge on the porch doing your spelling.)

Take heart-as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (My husband made that clear from Day 1.) And then do it-wash them in God's Word. Teach them and train them up in Him. And then watch that little stinker turn into a man or woman of God. Be in awe of His power. Because if He can take this kid and turn him/her into a mighty warrior for Christ, wow, THAT is power for sure.

Love you guys,



Catherine Jaime ("Mom of 12") is a 30-year homeschool veteran who has been writing books and developing games on a variety of topics (Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, the U.S. Constitution, Lewis & Clark, and many others) for more than twenty years. You can see more about her books/games at:


2011- 2012 Planner Presale on March 3rd -- watch for the email! 


Todd Wilson The Familyman
Todd Wilson, Familyman Ministries


If you have more than one child, then you're bound to have a "difficult child." And by difficult, I don't mean "bad"; I mean one who isn't always "easy." Sometimes we forget that there's a difference.


Problems arise when we, the homeschooling parents, take it upon ourselves to "de-difficult" them. We've followed standards set by experts who say, "At such-and-such age, a child should be doing this in school." We try, they resist, so we try harder . . . and they resist harder . . . so we try even harder until we are in conflict all the time and they hate us.


My advice is to back off and concentrate on the relationship, not the task, subject, or behavior. Do something the child likes to do and get the relationship right. If you need to play games, play games. If you need to read books, read books. If you need to sit down and play a dumb video game, then sit down and play a dumb video game with him.


Once you like each other, you'll find that the difficult child isn't so difficult.


Need more convincing? Then take a gander at this great article by HSLDA president Mike Smith, who faced a similar situation and put relationship above homeschooling.


Be Real,




It's Just Common Sense

Ruth Beechick, Curriculum Specialist 


Debbie Strayer, Homeschool Consultant 


What a gift homeschooling is. Over my years as an educational consultant, I have had the privilege of seeing many students who struggle. I have also had the privilege of seeing many homeschool parents who are grateful for the opportunity to homeschool and willing to do what it takes to help their children. Gifted children, challenged children, perfectionists, and those who are disabled-all can find success with homeschooling.


The heart of their parents has been inspirational. They will read, learn, listen, discuss, and pray for wisdom. Often the world's counsel has been discouraging, so they come with a hope, but not much in the way of tangible encouragement. My pleasure is to help them customize their homeschooling program to meet their child's particular needs. That is one of the wonders of homeschooling. There is no limit to the innovation and adaptation that can take place, fitting curricula to needs, teachers to students, schedules to stamina, interests to motivation.


While all children need a program that fits them particularly, there are those children who desperately need this chance for success. Ruth has often reminded us not to be afraid to blaze our own trail and make the most of what works. Don't worry about what your homeschooling friends do or use. Remember, you are God's perfect provision for your child. Don't be apologetic, be proactive. Don't hold back, go forward in confidence. Your calling to homeschool your precious children will carry you.


~ Debbie 

Read more from Debbie at


 Did you hear? Starting in March, Teacher's Toolbox will be a subscribers only benefit.

Teacher's Toolbox

We've built it into an amazing resource you won't want to miss. Don't miss your chance to enjoy exclusive access to our password-protected Teacher's Toolbox filled with endless benefits that are sure to make you smile.


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  • Two years worth of quality educational inspiration in the nearly 200 PRINT pages of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine!
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Contest Central  

For the month of March, 2011   

Opposites Are Fun!


A high-quality hardcover book and CD, Opposites Are Fun! introduces children to the world of opposites. In its 40 pages, the book covers 58 opposites. The CD has two songs that cover most of the opposites contained in the book. The opposites range from simple pairs, like "up" and "down," to more challenging concepts, like "plain" and "fancy." The book is colorfully illustrated with bright pictures that will hold a child's attention and help him understand each opposite presented.

The sing-along CD is also a great tool. Its sweet and simple songs cover the opposites in the same order as they appear in the book. The songs are catchy and make remembering the opposites much easier. I have heard a few "learning" CDs in my time, and some of them are terribly annoying! This one isn't; it is very easy on the ears and almost relaxing.

This set is designed for 3- to 8-year-olds, which I believe to be an accurate recommendation. My 5-year-old just loved it. After reading the book and listening to the CD three or four times, he knew all but a few of the 58 opposites. And learning them didn't hurt a bit! My 8-year-old also enjoyed the book and CD, even though she already knew most of opposites. (. . .)


Read the rest of the review here. Win this book for your family!



Email Deb with your name and mailing address and the subject "Opposites are Fun" for a chance to win* this book!




Homestead Blogger
*Disclaimer and Legal Notice:
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC ("Company") is sponsoring the March Contest Central contest running from March 2, 2011, to March 31, 2011. You must be 18 years of age or older and follow all rules to participate. Entering the contest constitutes full and complete acceptance of, and a warranty that the entrant has read, understands and agrees to, all contest terms and conditions, including without limitation all of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC Contest Rules ("Official Rules") and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Writer Guidelines
 and Terms and Conditions for Submitting Queries. All Official Rules apply. Entry also constitutes full consent and unlimited permission for Company to print, publish, broadcast and use all intellectual property and personal information submitted as part of the Contest entry on the Internet and in any and all Company publications in accordance with the Rules. Entries become the sole property of Company and will not be returned. Employees and independent contractors of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, Contest sponsors, individuals or entities furnishing Contest prizes and their family members may not participate in this contest. Company reserves the sole, discretionary right to determine contest winners and to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the contest or the Rules at any time with or without notice or cause, subject to applicable law. See Official Rules for details.
No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.

For a full copy of the Official Rules, please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine: Official Rules Request, PO Box 8426, Gray, TN 37615