• Why is Conflict Resolution a Powerful Skill Needed by Homeschool Students?

    Teaching positive methods of conflict resolution helps to build problem solvers for life

    students working in harmony within a home school environment.

    By Beth Gilmour

    Conflict is a fact of life in any community. As adults we can see many positive solutions to combat conflict. We may also find it easier to solve conflict among children ourselves, however, this does not teach the skill of conflict resolution directly to the children. The author, Beth Kimberly, in her article titled, Teaching kids to resolve conflicts builds confident, empowered youth, from playworks.org, amplifies this belief. She states,

    “Conflict resolution is a learned skill; it takes practice. Adults can help youth develop this skill.” She suggests to follow these four steps to assist our students in learning the skill of conflict resolution:  

    1. Rock Paper Scissors. Rather than let small conflicts escalate and take valuable time to solve, teach students to play a simple game of Rock Paper Scissors.

    2. I-Messages. Children are known to blame others when a problem arises, (i.e. “He did it!”) Adults know that it often takes more than one person to start a conflict. Teaching children to recognize emotions, both in themselves and others, helps. Using an I-statement, such as “I feel sad when you don’t play with me,” allows children to identify their emotion instead of blaming others.

    3. Peace Path. Provide guided steps for students to take when resolving conflicts. Teach these to students and post on a wall. The path may have statements to finish, such as “I feel... when....” and “I need...”, or things for students to answer, such as “what happened?”, “how would you feel?”, and “brainstorm a solution.”

    4. Conflict Managers. By identifying and training your student to be a leader and to become a conflict manager, you can empower youth. When kids lead by example, other students learn conflict resolution techniques from their peers.

    Another well known author in the field of conflict resolution for homeschool students is, Jeanne Faulconer. In her article, Benefits of Homeschooling: Dealing with Conflict, she suggests conflict resolution strengths can be developed by the homeschool experience. She states, “the ability to console or guide a child who is angry, anxious, frustrated, or sad — right when he or she needs it — is a remarkable opportunity that is simply woven into our homeschooling days. We can explain or model how to “take a break” when a situation becomes too intense. We can model using “I feel” statements so kids learn assertive communication. We can show compassion in emotionally intense situations. And we can help kids learn to problem solve rationally so they can better manage similar situations in the future — even if it takes lots of daily practice. Of course, this provides opportunity to learn the primary skills of stress management and self-management of emotions, but it does have an academic effect. Anyone, kids included, who knows fears and frustrations will be addressed, will be able to focus better on learning the things that are traditionally considered academic subjects.”

    Both of these authors have great problem solving ideas to teach our homeschool students. These ideas help our students to use these conflict resolution strategies throughout their lives.

    For  additional ideas on conflict resolution, visit the following site:


    Please feel free to contact me anytime with additional questions you may have about conflict resolution, Design Learning Academy programs, or any other home school related issues.

    Beth Gilmour
    Cajon Valley Home School

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