School is back in session at the Gilkerson house. Yes, and with it comes distracted kids who would rather be playing than doing school work.
It’s hard for many kids to focus in any sort of educational setting, whether it be public school, homeschool, or even college. Let’s be honest. Some subjects just aren’t that interesting! There are a few tricks and tips that may help, though.
1. Make sure they get a good night’s sleep the night before. Especially when homeschooling, you may have a tougher time with this one. It’s easy for the child (and sometimes the parent) to rationalize staying up late because there is no school bus in the street beeping the horn at 8am. However, staying up late and sleeping in just sets up bad habits for everyone. “Just this once” turns into another time, and then another, and before you know it, you have no schedule at all.
2. Make sure they have a good breakfast. A breakfast full of nutrients will give them energy and brain power to get through the day’s lessons. Hungry kids have a tough time focusing.
3. Change it up. Traditional books and worksheets are great, but don’t underestimate things like field trips, science experiments, movies, and games, and music. Children learn so much more when it’s enjoyable for them. Games like Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune adapted to curriculum are favorites. You can even put on a blonde wig and pretend to be Vanna!
4. Shake it off. Especially in the winter months, this is important. The bad weather keeps kids inside more, and they’re easily bored and cranky. Put on some music and dance! Bonus—there are lots of songs that teach things (“Fifty Nifty United States,” for example), so they’ll be learning at the same time. Physical activity is an important part of any day. Run, skip, do jumping jacks—whatever it takes to get out the extra energy and get kids ready to focus again.
5. Limit outside distractions. Turn off the television, unless it’s part of a project at the moment. Don’t invite your friends over or excessively talk on the phone while the kids are doing school work. What you and Aunt Suzy are laughing about is probably much more interesting than algebra any day of the week. Obviously, there will be unavoidable circumstances, but try to keep the learning environment quiet and peaceful so concentration isn’t difficult.
The great thing about homeschooling is that your child isn’t going to get lost in the system. If you see something isn’t working, you have the ability to change it to provide the optimum learning environment. Many kids aren’t as fortunate. Enjoy the freedom that homeschooling gives you to cater to the learning styles of your children. They will reap the benefits for the rest of their lives.
Andrea Fabry of Our Health Journey says:
This is a small thing but I can’t get through a day without a list for each child. They respond well to lists and feel a huge sense of accomplishment with it. Usually it’s 5 things such as Read 30 minutes, Exercise: 1 jog around block, etc.
What are your tips for helping the kiddos stay focused enough to get through the school day?