Keeping Them Challenged

A difficult part of home schooling can be keeping your children at the right level. You don’t want the work to be so difficult that it discourages them, but you also need to keep it at a level that they don’t become complacent and bored. So how do you find the happy medium?

First you need to make sure that you are consistently watching as they do their work. It doesn’t have to be looking over their shoulder, but keep an eye out. Look over more often and keep a mental note. Having curriculum be too easy or too hard can have the same results in your child’s behaviour. Look for lack of enthusiasm,  day dreaming during school, doodling, sloppy work and lack of confidence. Each of these can be a sign of the challenge being at the wrong level.

Look for trends. Is it just one subject that is the problem? A certain time of day? You’d be surprised at what trending problems will show you. For example, we all have certain times of day we are more productive than others. Try moving your times around. If math is the trouble subject, change the time of day that your child works on it.

Talk to your child. Children need security, and this needs to have a firm foundation that grows with time. Keeping a good line of communication is a solution to many of life’s problems. If your child knows they can come to you, it will keep them coming when they really need it. Make sure they know they can come to you with out judgment, but with love. This way, when you have a concern they already know it will be ok. Ask questions and really listen to your child. Ask for their input. Work together to solve the problem.

Treat each child as an individual. We all say we do not compare our children, but admit it. We ALL do it. We compare our child to their peers and siblings even if it is only to our selves. Each child is different. We know it, yet we often need to be reminded.

Set goals and revisit them often. Make sure that the goals are attainable. Keep short term and long term goals. Even small accomplishments can make a world of difference in a child’s self confidence.

If you suspect your child needs more of a challenge, start slowly. When Little E was in Grade 2, we noticed a problem. He was taking longer to finish his work, and was becoming distracted. After careful examination, we determined he was bored. He needed a bigger challenge. We didn’t just jump him a head though. We went through his books and selected sections to work through. He did not need all the review that the books were giving him, so we focused on the concepts. He was able to complete 3 years of curriculum in 2 years. He worked hard, and now he will graduate a year early. He is excited that now in Grade 5, he can take more time and learn about more interesting things. Win win!

The important thing in any schooling is to be involved. Keep an eye on where your child is at so you can help then succeed. That’s our job as parents, and it is sure a rewarding one!


  1. Great tips! I was one of those kids in school who struggled, and would find myself daydreaming all day. When my parents decided to homeschool, my mom couldn’t believe how much time I was spending lost in thought. 🙂 She had to pull me out of my day dream land with work that would engage me.
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  2. Mary Withrow says:

    Really great article with nice tips. I think even if you are not homeschooling it is very important to keep your children challenged and to try and make all activities educational. I agree that often the time of day and subject are very important. Sarina is always lazy after lunch, lol

  3. So true!! I foolishly thought all of my kids would be as easy as their brother – my oldest. Just has not ever turned out that way. They are all individuals that learn differently and I’ve had to make changes accordingly.
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