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Home > Support > Homeschooling > It seems everyone got along better last year when they were in Catholic school. Any advice?
Question: This is my first year homeschooling my three youngest children ages 12, 8, 5. I believe we have been very successful academically however, I don't feel I have accomplished what I really wanted to accomplish with the children. Here we are near the end of the school year and I still have to deal daily with bickering, being mean to one another and selfishness. One of my main goals with homeschooling was to have a peaceful home that put God first and respected one another. Now I am very discouraged. It seems everyone got along better last year when they were in Catholic school. Any advice?

Dear Mom,

Before I began homeschooling, my sister warned me that it would take a while to 'detox' the children from school. I didn't understand what she was saying. Now after all these years of homeschooling I think I better understand what she was trying to tell me.

Siblings who have not spent their days together for a long while, need time to readjust to one another. I used to sense this (on a smaller scale) when my own children would be home during summer vacation.

Classrooms are very structured and each amount of time is accounted for during the day. Activities are organized in such a way so as to avoid situations that may lead to disagreements. It seemed that my children (when they were home during vacation) were always calling on me to referee arguments over games, toys, and 'rules.' It was very distressing.

I was surprised at the amount of time I spent the first year of homeschooling merely trying to get to know each of my children again. I imagine they were faced with the same realization about one another as well.

It took an investment in time and patience to sort out these emotions. I had to reacquaint the children with the 'rules' as our family saw them. Sometimes there were days when the bickering and teasing seemed endless.

A certain amount of sibling conflict is normal and can be chalked up to age and maturity. However, teaching siblings that they share a bond that is deeper and more meaningful than other friendships is well worth the investment in time and effort.

I pray that my children will be there for one another all through their lives. I am praying that the lessons they learn from the homeschool about handling conflicts and disagreements will serve them productively when they are in the world beyond the homeschool.

Jesus' word is beautiful and teaches us a great deal about the way to live and interact with one another. Go there for your comfort and guidance.

I sense that you are a family of prayer. When you say the family rosary in the evening, have each sibling offer up one of the decades for another sibling. When we pray for one another this is powerful.

Hang in there, Mom. Through your patient teaching and instruction you are doing a great work for your children. Your reward will be a household which holds one another in esteem and children who step forward into this world as witnesses to that Christian attitude.

I admire your accomplishment. Thank you for your question and witness.

Jesus, please teach us in Your kind and gentle way to be the models of Christian witness. Help us to be this witness to our children so that they in turn can be Your witnesses in the bigger world beyond the homeschool. Amen.

Sending out a prayer,
Rita Munn

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