Homeschooling has its benefits but it is certainly not a bed of roses. Bearing the burden of educating your child yourself can be overwhelming and intimidating. And when you add an easily distracted learner to the mix, the task is made even more exigent.
Homeschooling has made giant strides over the years. What started as a way for catholic school parents to instill their religious perspectives into education back in the late 80s has grown to become a fully-fledged system of education.
Despite this remarkable growth, there are still some concerns surrounding homeschooling, especially from parents that do not quite understand the merits of homeschooling.
Homeschooling in the wake of distractions
Is your child easily distracted during homeschooling? If your child suffers from little to no attention span, it can be a hurdle trying to make them feel interested in their studies. Distractions are expected when teaching any children, whether homeschooled or not.
However, these distractions are often magnified when learning from home as a result of several things including pets, games, and toys and so on. The good news is that no one has all the answers- even the most qualified teacher will struggle with students that have a hard time concentrating.
According to Kate Huber of NJGamblingFun, ‘’as I sit and take a look back when I debated the merits of homeschooling, I can explain to you every little fear that I had. It made things worse than family members and friends also had opinions about why it would never work. However, if you are sitting at home wondering, ‘should I really homeschool my child’, then the answer is yes. You absolutely should!’’
As a homeschooling parent, you do not have to be an expert, even though it can often feel like you ought to be well versed in everything. On some days, your kids will knock out all their tasks quickly but on others, they will struggle, which is quite normal.
The upside of homeschooling your children is that you have the option to decide whether to push forward with the day when concentration becomes an issue or take a break and make up for the difference the next day.
On those days when you have a hard time keeping your kids focused, here are some things that you can try to improve their concentration:
Invest in manipulatives
Easily distracted learners can make you want to pull your hair out. And while numerous techniques can be utilized to keep up with a distracted learner, one of the best ways is to use manipulatives. For some students, learning is experiential, meaning that active involvement in the subject being taught can help to enhance the student’s experience and learning.
But what exactly amounts to a manipulative? Ideally, anything that your learner can touch, feel, move or interact with can fall under a manipulative. Sensory tools like balancing discs and balls can help to improve concentration.
Some homeschooling parents also swear by fidget spinners and vibrating therapy pillows. Please note that while one manipulative may work for one child, it may be useless for another. As such, experiment as much as you can to find the right manipulative for your situation.
Try not to rush the process
If your child is having issues focusing, it may be because you are rushing through the teaching process, which could create even more struggles ahead. Furthermore, rushing, especially through the basics, can take all the fun away from reading or writing. The best thing that you can do is lead the learner gently with lots of playful explorations that can help to keep them occupied.
Take the time to figure out the things that interest your child and then give them the freedom to explore these things. Once he or she identifies the area of learning that interests them, you will soon start to see a difference in the way they approach work. Before you know it, your kids will be teaching you things that you may not even know yourself, simply because they learned themselves.
Give the learner brain breaks
Breaks and playtime might seem counter intuitive at first, but short breaks in between lessons or topics can help to revive one’s concentration. Learning and schoolwork can get mentally exhausting so you must allow your child to take breaks now and then. As a matter of fact, schools today are adding more recesses to the schedule throughout the day owing to the associated benefits.
Rather than continue to sit for hours on end, give your kid a 15-minute break after every 30 to 45 minutes of work. The break and how long it will last depends on you and it can consist of anything from playing outside to running around the house. These breaks will refill their cup and allow them to return to the learning process ready to concentrate.
Try and get rid of any distractions
To avoid losing your child to distractions, one of the first things you can do to remedy the situation is to remove what is distracting your child from the vicinity in the first place. Though things such as posters and visual reminders can be useful, they can also be overwhelming to a learner. Therefore, consider eliminating these things to see if things improve.
If there is a lot of noise from your house either from siblings or pets, it might help to set up a secluded area where learning can occur. If you are dealing with limited space, something like a room divider can also come in handy.
Switch it up
If your kid is having concentration issues, your delivery may be the problem. Doing the same things repeatedly can become boring, especially when there is learning involved. Sometimes homeschooled kids have trouble focusing because you may be teaching in a manner that does not suit their learning style.
For instance, some students thrive with a little structure, while others learn best solo. As such, try and learn about as many different homeschooling styles as you can. If you change up your approach, it may catch your student off guard and gain their attention.
If you are thinking about homeschooling your kids, there may be some trepidation regarding the entire process. However, homeschooling makes a lot of sense for many reasons. Not only do homeschooled children perform better academically, but they are also more likely to succeed after college. If these few reasons are not sufficient to change your mind, then what is?