Recently, I have been asking readers their concerns about homeschool. Ann Olson had this to say: “What’s your view about disciplining children while you’re homeschooling them? What do you do if they misbehave? Do you discipline them like a teacher would or like a parent would?” My simple answer to Ann is both. There are several reasons for this.
How Do I Discipline My Kids During Homeschool?
I can’t speak for all homeschoolers, only for myself. Just like anyone else, they will each have their own way of doing things. Personally, I use positive parenting methods both during homeschool and just in general. Positive parenting in simple terms is using methodology and strategies that somehow benefit the child positively. This does not mean there are no consequences for actions, however, as that would not result in a positive outcome. One example of a positive parenting method is reflected in ” Using Songwriting to Help Kids Relieve Stress .” It can be used as a way to reflect on negative behaviors and consequences, but also is a positive way for a child to release any pent up feelings.
Each situation will warrant a different type of reaction or consequence. For instance, a child who accidentally spills glue on the floor is not going to get the same treatment as one who says or does something hurtful to a sibling during class. While a teacher may send a child to the principal for the latter, a homeschool parent may instead have the child hug and apologize and possibly give a punishment, depending on the situation. Of course a teacher might also do the latter.
Should You Discipline Kids Like a Teacher or Parent During Homeschool?
In retrospect, disciplining homeschooled kids like a teacher during school hours may help a child in homeschool distinguish between school time and other times. But this won’t always be the case. It actually depends more on the parenting and teaching strategies being compared. Not every teacher or every parent disciplines the same. The traditional school teacher and homeschool teacher could have different teaching strategies. Although, they could be the same as well. A teacher in a traditional school might also use the positive parenting method that I mentioned. It’s less about disciplining like a parent or teacher and more about figuring out which type of discipline may be needed in each unique situation.
Which Method for Discipline During Homeschool is Correct?
The correct method is the one that works best for each family. Not every family, every child, or every situation is going to be the same. There are benefits and drawbacks to disciplining a homeschooled child in certain ways, just as with any other. Knowing which discipline choice is correct in each unique situation is up to the parent to examine. This should be done, not necessarily thinking about whether it’s being done as a parent or teacher, but whether the disciplinary action is what is best for the child in that situation.
Note: The author’s positive parenting method has evolved into what she calls Upstream Parenting.
More from Lyn:
Positive Parenting Does Not Mean Zero Discipline
Guide to Positive Discipline for Children
Using Positive Parenting to Combat Behavioral Issues