Thursday, March 31, 2011

Addressing Behavioral Problems in the Homeschool Classroom: How to Assert Control

There are many factors that can influence students in a public school classroom to engage in disruptive behavior, but when you’re a student’s teacher and parent trying to educate your child at home, the potential for behavioral problems can increase drastically. While some students thrive in a homeschooling situation and don’t even consider misbehaving, others see the opportunity to get their own way by behaving badly. By recognizing the causes behind any behavioral problems you may have encountered, you can make changes in your homeschool classroom that minimize the potential for negative student responses. Try the following tips to target problematic behavior even before it occurs.

Reiterate the Rules
Rules are an important part of establishing order in the classroom, which is a powerful way to prevent behavioral issues. However, the efficacy of these rules is often increased if you can involve your students in the process of drafting a “group contract” that will dictate both behavioral standards and the consequences of breaking them.

Even though these rules will be similar from one year to the next, it’s worth the time and energy investment if you can let your children have a say in the rules that govern their behavior. They’ll be more likely to abide by the rules, understand the consequences of failing to follow them, and refrain from disputing your rulings.

A reasonable goal is to discuss and draft a contract by the end of the first week of school. Once you’ve all agreed on a contract, post a large, colorful version of it where it can be seen and referred to on a daily basis. By creating this contract with your children that delineates school rules, you’ll be preventing the unawareness of rules and sense of disorganization that often precede behavioral problems in the classroom.

Settle the Schedule
One common contributor to the prevalence of behavioral problems is down-time between activities. If your students perceive any chink in the structure of their school days, they’re often tempted to take advantage of it by engaging in disruptive behavior. To decrease this possibility, you can proactively build extra activities or lesson tidbits into your schedule so that you’re never at a loss for things to do. Be sure to keep an eye on the time so that you’re neither coming up short nor teaching past the end of a lesson. Maintaining consistency is a strongly effective means of preventing behavioral problems.

Define the Dynamic
Because the dynamics between students and teachers (and children and parents) change over the course of a year, it’s important to be mindful of this evolution. You can prevent behavioral problems with relative ease if you can maintain an understanding of the way your children interact with you and with each other throughout the year. If you have more than one student, help them build trust and academic credibility with one another by assigning pair or small group activities. By actively working to prevent the occurrence of trust-related behavioral issues, you’ll be helping your students to feel more comfortable in the classroom environment, enabling them to function successfully without being affected by the causes behind problematic behaviors.


Bio: Lisa Shoreland is currently a resident blogger at Go College, where recently she's been researching military college grants as well as parent plus loans. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing, practicing martial arts, and taking weekend trips.
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