How To Engage An Active Child In Focused Learning
My oldest is active, very very active. It is so hard to get him to sit still. This is completely normal, especially when you consider his age. My oldest is almost 7.
I used to get so frustrated when he would not sit still for a lesson. This was before I understood learning style or realized that children like to move. Also, there was the fact that back then he was probably only about 5!
Worse, because I was getting frustrated, I was creating tension in our happy homeschool. Mr.G could feel the tension and no longer wanted to learn. What a bummer, I was ruining our homeschool before we even hit kindergarten!
The thing is, at this age, there is no need to force learning. The goal is to make learning fun. As homeschoolers, we are crafting a lifelong love of learning. We want our children to engage in the things that interest them. We want them to explore and create and imagine. My first child is my unfortunate little guinea pig.
Here are a few tips for Engaging Your Child
1. Create an anchor for your schedule.
An anchor is an event that occurs every day. This event is meant to signal it’s time to switch to learning mode. My kids know that this signals the start of school.
Our anchor is morning basket. Every day we meet in the middle of the floor, my son, my daughter and myself. We sing a song or I tell a joke relating to our unit study. We ask each other about how our day was yesterday, and what we want to learn about today. It is a very positive way to begin our day.
2. We keep lessons short.
I consider us eclectic homeschoolers but I am STRONGLY influenced by Charlotte Mason. I love her philosophies and my vision for my homeschool lines up with her ideals of education. Short lessons are recommended by Charlotte Mason. The child needs to focus and do their best work during these lessons.
3. He sits on an exercise ball.
When he is especially wiggly, he sits on an exercise ball during his lesson. He sits on this ball during DEAR time as well. DEAR time is “Drop Everything and Read” in case your wondering.
SOMETIMES we use our mini trampoline and he bounces will reciting his spelling words or while narrating a story back to me. He also sits on this and just bounces like he would on an exercise ball while he is reading or listening to me read.
4. He learns through real life or play.
We try and make learning as fun as possible. I attempt to make everything as active as I can. We practiced skip counting with Lego bricks, and on the swing set as well. To use the swing set I would count 1,2,3,4 and then he would take over for the 5’s. Each swing he would touch his feet to my hand as we counted.
We took with math to the kitchen and baked. He practiced money skills by hosting a section of our family yard sale. He’s also in charge of money at the farmers market. Any time a lesson can be taught in a real life or game setting he’s 10 times more focused.
5. We use music.
This seems a little counterintuitive for a kinesthetic learner, whose primary method of learning is NOT auditory. However, I use a website called Focus At Will. The music that is played in the background of our homeschool room during lessons and independent learning is scientifically proven to help students focus better. You need to know your child’s personality and then select a channel that will work for them.
Focus At Will does cost 9.95 a month for a student account. I can most certainly tell you that it does work. In fact, I use this when I work on my blog at night to help me focus. I am easily distracted- SQUIRREL- and I have noticed my writing goes a lot smoother with the Focus Music in the background.
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