Homeschooling Mom of Four Boys Needs Help

by Elizabeth

Problems with Homeschooling

Problems with Homeschooling

Sibling rivalry and bad attitudes in the homeschool classroom - experienced and overcome these homeschooling problems? Please help!


I have been homeschooling my eldest son since he was born ten years ago. In that time we've added a six, four, and one year old.

There is a problem we are having that seems to be getting worse and I really need some advice.

My third son seems to be left out all the time from his elder brothers games, interaction, etc. Of course I have spent time teaching the two bigger boys to include him and to be thoughtful but our six year old is really resistant, especially when his eldest brother is around.

Here is the crux of the problem -- because we HOMESCHOOL, this means that we are together most of the time. The only time the eldest is not around is when he is gone away for the day to co-op once a week.

It also seems that our four year old is extra-sensitive. He often says he's not a "good boy," especially when he hears us compliment his brothers on something they've done well. Of course we make sure to affirm him at the same time but it doesn't seem to be enough. It seems he is starting to marginalize himself, i.e. won't play with them even when invited. It's like he knows that I made them ask. He seems sad often and says that no one wants to play with him.

There have been times when I've traveled to visit family in Fl and taken him with me and I have noticed such a positive change in behavior and demeanor when we've had this kind of one-on-one together. The best way I can put it is he's like a wilting flower that gets water and starts to perk up when he gets this kind of attention. But this is not a practical solution.

I struggle with wanting to send my six year old to school (especially since he's said he'd be happier in regular school) because I assume it would automatically get rid of the all-day buddy-buddy problem with his elder brother and I would have more time for my four year old.

But I honestly believe THAT decision would not be good for the six year old's character...he's already kind of mean to begin with. I believe that God can change these negative sibling dynamics and I'm praying for this daily.

But is there something more I can do?

I feel overwhelmed with all of my homeschooling responsibilities and it's very difficult to make "special" time for the four year old consistently and often which is the only thing that seems to help.

Please give me your advice.


A Mom Who Wants To Do The Best For ALL Her Boys

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Nov 23, 2009
by: MH

I have 3 kids, and I've seen what you're talking about. For years, I despaired. The oldest, a girl age 14 now, is the "mean" one. The others, boy-girl twins, are age 12.
The girls, esp the older one, wanted to leave my son out. He did annoy them, but he's a boy, so that's the way they are w/ sisters. I talked to him, explaining that girls don't like to be teased all the time, etc, etc, but of course things pretty much didn't change at all. He has low self-esteem issues, too.
Likewise I talked to the girls, don't leave him out, etc.
When the oldest dd isn't here, the twins get along fine.

We homeschool, so they're together all day. When ds12 is with other kids, he's great. No self-esteem issues at all. I've been trying to get him together more often with friends, cousins, and recently his uncle has come to shoot guns w/ my husband and ds12, or ask ds12 over to shoot at his house.

I used to try to find activities that separated them, so there would be no fighting. This didn't fix the real problem however.
One thing that has seemed to help, is that *I* do something with *all* the kids. They would rarely play together otherwise. We play games, walk, play the Wii (I take turns being on each kids' team), and we read together, esp the twins and me. They see how I react if I lose, which on the Wii is nearly every time! =D We've played charades, and other games of that sort. I've tried to spend time w/ each kid, just letting them talk. This is mostly around bedtime.

The second thing I'm doing, is when they do fight, I try to talk to them and ask them how they think the other person *felt*. Does Jesus want us to make others feel that way? (Yes, but he did this... she said that...) How does Jesus want us to act toward others who aren't kind? How can WE be more kind?)
Now they are beginning to get along better, and do some things together.

Just recently, dd14 commented that ds12 is starting to grow up. I've watched for ways to comment him on that, if I see any sign of maturity. Plus he's taller than I am now, and catching his twin. He really likes that!
Dd14 has shown signs of being more tolerant of him also. We've been reading our Bibles more, and most nights if I go *back* into her room after saying goodnight, I'll see her reading her Bible. =)
I know your kids are quite a bit younger, but this is my experience, and maybe will give you some ideas. Maybe it won't take as long as I did to figure it out! =\

I'll be praying for you.

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