Have you wanted to homeschool, but you're a little nervous because your child is so easily distracted? Most of us have “that one” child that will not sit still! This is not a reflection of anyone, it’s just how your child is. Guess what? Thousands of people homeschool their distracted children and here is how.
Tips for Homeschooling the Distracted Child
Field trips are a GREAT idea
Remember that with homeschooling, you are in charge of your child’s education. This means if your child learns better on the move, then you should embrace that.
Your child can still do sit-down work, but you know they flourish better when they are on the move. Consider going on field trips to different places throughout the month, such as the local zoo, farms, aquarium, and historical sites.
Each trip is an educational experience for your child that can keep him or her engaged in what they’re learning. While some of these places cost money, some field trips are free, especially if you can find neat nature parks in your area.
Have a backup plan in mind
With my distracted children, I always have a backup plan. The day may not be going accordingly. If they aren’t digging the whole workbook thing, we take a break and go outside for a bit. It’s nice to have a break and their minds will be a little more focused when we come back! A bit of fresh air can do the children plenty of good. Don’t get frustrated when things don’t go as planned. If you have that backup plan ready, you can keep things going smoothly without all the stress.
Slow the day down
When you push a child beyond what they are ready for, it kind of backfires. This is why you need to slow down and let your child learn at a slower pace. Pushing your child to learn something, when they are not ready, will only delay their learning even longer. Talk to your child about the lesson plan and see what they think about it.
While you’re still the one who gets to decide what to teach and when you can listen to feedback from your child to help you decide how quickly to move on to something new. If your child struggles with a specific subject, take your time and break it up into different lessons to help them.
Related: 4 Week Preschool Dinosaur Unit Study
Break up the type of work you’re doing
I mentioned doing more field trips, but here is another tip. Get more hands-on with your child’s learning. Go to the zoo, explore the trails, and go to the park. Have your kids tell you what they have learned. Your kid isn’t going to be distracted as they delve themselves into nature. Workbooks are boring and they know this!
Most children don’t look forward to completing work in a workbook. Make things fun by taking them to different places to explore. When you get back home, you can ask them to write a few sentences and draw a picture of the experience. It lets you know that your children were paying attention and learned something new during your exploration.
Let your distracted kiddo be super active
Running around all crazy may not be such a bad thing. When your child has a lot of energy built up, it can be distracting for them. They don’t know what to do with all of the energy, so they wiggle and can’t finish their work. Let them run around outside and create some active games for them to do! When children attend a traditional school, they go to the gym and they typically get to have recess. Set things up so that your child can burn off some energy by playing frisbee, ball, or even using a hula hoop in the backyard. We especially love these stepping blocks that help them focus and balance. Try to get creative and come up with different ways to exercise and have fun during the school day.
Let your kids help plan for the day
What fun is life if you don’t get to help plan it? I am all about allowing my kids to help plan the day! When we are finished with school work, it only makes sense to explore and do other FUN things together. My distracted kids love this! It doesn’t mean that you don’t get a say as a parent. However, you’re giving your child a chance to have input, which will make him or her feel great. You never know what types of good suggestions your children might have when you get them involved in lesson planning. This is an important tip for homeschooling the distracted child.
Set timers to get through different lessons
Don’t expect your distracted child to sit still for hours on end while reading, listening to you read, and completing worksheets. It’s just not going to happen because your child may not have that long of an attention span. Instead, set a timer to help your child get through lessons. Rather than having your child sit there until they’re done with a worksheet, set a time for 30 minutes. If they haven’t finished it by then, allow your child to take a break and come back to it later. It’s the perfect way to provide your little one with a brain break!
Offer small rewards for good behavior
Your distracted child may struggle to pay attention more than your other children, but they can’t help it. A good way to encourage your little one to get their work done is to offer a small reward for their cooperation. Some people may confuse this with bribery. You’re not bribing your child with chocolate and candy to do their work. However, you’re offering something small to your child as a token of appreciation for their good behavior.
Some of the small items may include cute mini erasers, a colored pencil, or a sticker added to their behavior chart. Giving your distracted child something to look forward to can keep them motivated to try harder. Maybe get a treasure chest they can pick a reward from.
Perhaps distracted kiddo isn’t such a bad thing after all. Embrace it and use these tips to help! Do you have any tips to share with us? What tips would you add to this list for homeschooling the distracted child?