Many people wonder about how to stay focused in homeschooling, and we did too! So how can you maintain focus and stay motivated?
To keep kids focused in homeschooling make the lessons and teaching style variable. Then build class trips and extracurricular activities into the lessons. And lastly get to know your child’s preferences in learning and adjust your teaching style to match. There are some other tools so read on.
Keep Kids Motivated by Variety of Subjects in Homeschool
One way we keep focused on homeschooling is that we mix up the subjects occasionally and let our son do something he wants to do first. This helps them release some anxiety and gives them a choice in their daily schedule. Since we allow him some autonomy, he feels better and more likely to go to the next subject with a more relaxed attitude. Although we do like to maintain some routines, mixing it up sometimes and variety can help. Yes, children are creatures of habit. They usually respond well to routines.
“There are strong reasons to suspect that engagement in arts education can improve school climate, empower students with a sense of purpose and ownership, and enhance mutual respect for their teachers and peers.”New evidence of the benefits of arts education
However, they do occasionally enjoy doing something more fun before they get into the hard subjects. For example, my son wanted to do some drawing before he did his language arts exercises. And I thought that was perfectly fine since he will be more relaxed and feel a sense of accomplishment after drawing. We do feel art is a special subject that can have very positive results. They get to create something by themselves and they see this piece of art as fun to create. This helps my son keep his focus to draw something he chooses like a Santa Claus since it is nearly Christmas right now. Artistic expression can help my son focus on his subjects.
Adding a Project to Focus On Can Build Motivation
Add a project to your homeschooling schedule that can capture and motivate your child to focus on their education. You know best what they are interested in so choose a project that can help generate their interest. This might push them to search for materials, or things or inquire about this “thing”. For us, we do Project Based Learning or PBL for the sciences. My son is very curious about the weather, earthquakes, and the earth and planets. And since we live near the Science and Earthquake museum this works well for us. This helpful article describes how to use PBL in your homeschooling.
I incorporate the lessons on math, language arts, and writing to input something about the things we are currently learning about in the sciences. For us, this integrates what we learn into all the lessons and it lets my son realize that science and the things he’s interested in are all related. If you want to know more about earthquakes you do have to learn about the math behind earthquakes and the Richter scale. And you have to be able to read to understand what causes the earth to shake. So this project has helped our son to focus more on these subjects and keeps him motivated to learn as much as possible about these phenomena.
Preparing a Study Desk to Help My Son Focus on Homeschool
My son helped put together an Ikea study desk with me and we think it has helped him focus more on homeschooling. He used to study at the dinner table or a smaller kids’ desk. But that didn’t seem very ergonomic or provide enough space. So we finally got him a desk that is purpose-built and has some nice features for study or drawing. It’s even angled for better ergonomics and is better for his neck. He enjoys the space and it feels like a serious place to learn and play for now. And he was involved with choosing and putting it together.
The reason we share this is that in the beginning, we thought that just using what we had on hand and the dinner table was sufficient. However, we realized we needed to be serious and take his homeschooling as an investment in the future. Homeschooling is expensive and we have another helpful article about it here. But the purpose of homeschool is to prepare our children for the world with real living examples. And the simple task of buying a desk is a perfect example of how to keep focused on homeschooling by creating interest and involvement from the whole family.
Get Moving During the Homeschool Day and Exercise
This is something we try to do more of in our homeschool to keep our son focused, keep him moving. This can be for older kids as well, and you can incorporate PE into your day. The movement will add some variety to the day and it’s a great family activity as well. Go with your kids for a walk around the park, or a bike ride or jog. Research shows the movement is going to help them concentrate more and this can only be beneficial. As a homeschooler, you are in charge and you can bring movement back to the classroom!
This outdoor activity may also help your child with getting some social time as well. If you plan it well you can meet other homeschool families or neighborhood kids. The social skills they develop depends on you and the opportunities that you create for them.
“While team sports and physical activity have been associated with improved self-esteem, better nutrition, and less smoking and drug abuse among children, the present study suggests that fostering leadership skills and empathy in children may reinforce healthy lifestyle behaviors.”Physical Activity Helps Improve Social Skills
Building social skills makes for happier kids and this can also assist in your classroom to help your kids stay focused and both physically and mentally healthy. So get your kids moving daily to help keep them motivated in your homeschool.
Build a Field Trip into a Lesson
If you have boys or girls in the classroom, you may consider planning field trips into your weekly schedule to help your kids stay focused on homeschooling. Give them something to look forward to especially if there are some tough lessons planned for the week. This may give all involved a chance for a break. And no one said that homeschooling has to take place in the home. There are so many ways you can plan a quick trip outdoors for almost any subject. Wouldn’t reading in the park in the shade and the sound of birds and leaves be a wonderful and relaxing way to learn?
Now just because you go on a field trip doesn’t mean there isn’t much to learn and it’s all fun and games. We liked the book Teaching Like Your Hair’s on Fire because this famous teacher and teacher and author explained that a trip to the museum isn’t just a trip. It’s a planning experience. And he would include the kids in the planning, like how to get there? What will they see, and if it’s an art museum, why did the painter make this particular piece of art? If it’s the earthquake museum, in our case, we showed our son the devastation of the earthquake and what can happen. And when the kids get there they already have some expectations. This draws them closer and they can focus on the homeschooling lessons.
Add a Drama Class to Develop Concentration Skills
We added a drama and storytelling class to our weekly schedule and it has been fun, rewarding, and has helped us stay focused. We all get excited about homeschooling because it is so engaging and fun! Before our son was doing school full time, he told us he wished he could homeschool full time because he thought the drama class was so fun! In our class we attend, we also participate and build teamwork skills as well as creativity. It can also build self-confidence and this is a boost to focus on homeschooling and motivation.
To be a good actor or drama student at any age, you need concentration skills, as well as superb communication. Drama and storytelling can boost these skills and helps kids learn about being in front of people and speaking and talking and thinking on their feet. These kinds of activities are incorporating movement, logical thinking, and fun altogether. So drama is such an amazing way for us to use to help our son focus on homeschooling and keep him motivated. This article highlights all the amazing ways drama helps in a homeschool.
Use a Variety of Teaching Styles to Improve Focus in Homeschool
It only makes sense that you use a few styles to teach in homeschool. This helps your child focus on homeschooling and not lose interest. We have highlighted before that a project-based learning method may be a good addition to your homeschooling routine to boost focus and motivation. One method some families use for their homeschool is Unit Studies. And the entire curriculum is based on this style of learning. That’s where you would choose a topic and all subjects like math, language arts, writing, reading, and history would all be about that specific topic. Check out this article to learn more about the styles of homeschooling.
The variety of styles can also help keep things interesting and may also be beneficial since children learn better when the methods of teaching vary. Research has shown that in a classroom where there are multiple learning styles, the child may benefit from the differentiated instruction methods to further reinforce the lessons. The multiple ways might be audio, visual, and through a mixed method. Some families may experience this phenomenon already and benefit from the differentiated methods and can help their child focus and stay motivated in homeschool.
Discover Your Child’s Learning Styles
You will see that discovering your child’s own preferred learning style is important to focus on in the homeschool. You might want to explain a concept and use audiobooks but your child just doesn’t seem to grasp the lesson. They might be a visual learner and prefer to understand things when they have graphics or photos and videos to elaborate on the topic. If you know this beforehand, you can prepare the right material for the lessons or curriculums. And this would be beneficial for both you and your homeschooler. Calvert Education has described the styles in detail in this article.
We have emphasized to use a variety of teaching styles because this can help maintain the focus and motivation in homeschooling. And once you discover the preferred learning style, you can teach the lessons with more confidence yourself. Learning more about your child as you homeschool will provide your family with the potential to bond and grow at the same time. The confidence you show when you are teaching will only help boost the overall learning environment and your child will reap the benefits.
Develop Your Child’s Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness can help your child focus on the moment and not to drift off of the task or subject at hand. No matter what age your student is, you can help them learn how to become more focused by keeping these judgments out of their head. This practice is also about how to keep negative thoughts out of their minds and stay clear on their homeschooling. When I first heard of this topic, I thought it was meditation, however, it is not. It is essentially about how to be aware of the moment and to block out the negative thoughts from hindering the task at hand.
This idea of mindfulness came about when we were looking for ways to help our son to focus on homeschooling. We came across this article that was mainly for children with attention deficit disorders. But they can and are applied to many classrooms around the world. Children who think and learn differently can also benefit from becoming aware of their thoughts and this can help them stay focused and build their self-confidence.
“Practicing mindfulness typically involves breathing exercises. The goal is to concentrate on each breath, in and out. In a class setting, the instructor may prompt kids to notice when their mind wanders and gently remind them to bring their thoughts back to the sensations of their breath.”The Importance of Mindfulness for Kids Who Learn and Think Differently
Add a Fidget to Your Classroom
In our homeschool, we have some fidgets to help keep our son stay focused and we didn’t even know it. Some children have problems with staying focused so they get fidgety and just can’t seem to stay still. Our son may not be to that level however he does have a small blackboard nearby where he will go and drawing and doodle for a while. And then sometimes he will just disappear into his play area to do some lego building. This can also be a form of fidgeting and can be helpful. We know that our son just can’t stay still for extended periods at his desk.
Is a Fidget Good or Bad?
In traditional schools, your child most likely cannot have a fidget or disappear for a few minutes to go doodle on the board or build some Lego projects. So in your homeschool, you are at an advantage once again, and you can doodle! You might want your child to stay put and do their seatwork all in one go. However, if you notice that a quick break may be the answer to keep them focused on their work, then do it! Let them stretch their legs and let off some steam. Then they must come back and finish up their work. As long as they have agreed that they have 5-10 minutes and then they must come back, that’s great to keep them focused on their homeschool work.
Getting Good Rest Improves Concentration and Focus in Class
Getting good sleep will always help your child maintain focus in your homeschool. We left this one for last because it’s a given that you must rest well to learn at an optimal pace. We find that even napping will help keep our son’s behavior in line. It will be an added benefit for us adults as well to get some rest or at least some breaks in the day to do our stuff. Staying well-rested can also improve our concentration when we are doing some of the more intense lessons such as math or the sciences.
One thing that surprised me was that even creativity suffers if you don’t get enough sleep. As this helpful article shows there are more negative as[ects to poor sleep than I thought. It can even slow down your thinking to such a slow pace that you may react as if you were drunk. Now since you are homeschooling just make sure to take advantage and get good sleep to improve your focus on homeschool!