Today we are going to cover some tips for how to homeschool an active child. I have three boys and tend to accidentally frame this as “how to homeschool boys” often on my Instagram, just by nature of my experience. But I was also a child like that, so I know parents can be struggling to homeschool both active boys and girls. Often that need for activity is what prompts some parents to pull their kids out of school. The structure of long days is really hard on this kind of child, and also on very young children who need to move to learn.
With my kids, I realized pretty quickly the popular model of “Get it all done before lunch.” wasn’t going to work for us. That required 2 hours of sitting quietly, focusing on work for the entire time. By the time I had forced my children through this, we were all tired, sad, and frustrated.
Up Ending the Expectations
When you homeschool, you don’t do classroom school at home. You can arrange the day however that works best for you. That means you DO NOT have to start in the morning, and work until you finish! Most families I know still use this model, but it didn’t work for us. Here are two models we have tried instead.
End of the Day School
My kids are most active in the morning. When I tried doing school in the morning they were wiggly and distracted. I noticed our afternoons dragged on, and often they wanted me to entertain them. They had used up their own creativity and were bored.
One day when they were bored I pulled out the school books, and they sat, cuddled, and did all the work easily. It wasn’t a fluke. From then on we started school at 2:30 and finished by 4. They had used their large body energy and their brains were active and ready to learn!
One subject at a Time
As they got older they had more focused work. I noticed if I tried doing all the subjects at once they complained of tired hands. The first subject was a breeze while the other two were like pulling teeth. That year I did Language Arts at 10, penmanship/history/science at 1, and then Joseph did Math at 4. The amount of time school took in total was much shorter even though it was spread through the day. This also allowed me to do some housework before we started, fix lunch, and put the baby down during the break. Working with my schedule and their capacity.
Recently they started a co-op that does all the bookwork in one big chunk and now he complains that he hates handwriting. After some digging, I realized this is the last subject they cover of the chunk, so by the time it’s pulled out his hand and brain are exhausted. When at home he voluntarily sits down and just chooses to do it because he likes it. He doesn’t hate handwriting he hates having a cramped hand and tired brain.
Games for Learning
We often think of school as sitting at the table and learning things. I have found my kids learn things faster if they are moving while learning. This may look like hand motions for the lesson, coloring while I read, or an actual game. I have more here on how to teach your child to read!
- The floor is Lava with letter sounds, vowels, or short words to read.
- Stomping out their spelling words.
- I spy with colors.
- Learning phonics rules in weird voices.
- Songs and dancing to learn skip counting etc.
Kids Love Learning
Kids are born to be curious. We don’t have to force babies to learn to talk. We don’t have to sit them down and work on having them hold up their heads. Even in our own jobs satisfaction comes from learning new skills, and not feeling stagnant. As a parent our job is to nurture that desire to learn, and give our kids the tools for their own job satisfaction.
That isn’t to say they don’t need to become disciplined, or learn to do something they don’t adore. There is a place for that, but by tweaking even just a little bit we can homeschool an active child and bring them joy in the process. Sometimes times the best learning comes when it is self directed!