While homeschooling your most distracted child may be a challenge, especially when you have more than one child. The great news is there are easy ways to get you both through this journey in a positive way.
Children get distracted for many reasons. Sometimes it’s because they need more sleep, they could be hungry, they need help understanding their work, and more. Rather than getting discouraged, look at our five practical ideas to help you find joy in the homeschooling journey for your distracted child.
How to Homeschool a Distracted Child
Even if you don’t always know why your child isn’t paying attention during homeschooling, there are ways to help. Try the following practical tips for your distracted, home-educated child:
1. Introduce Shorter Lessons
Some children focus better with shorter lessons. Expecting your child to stay focused for long periods is unrealistic. They can concentrate and learn more by dividing their schoolwork into manageable chunks. Some of the techniques include the following:
- Set a timer, and your child can move to another subject when it buzzes.
- Allow your child to establish how much time they will spend on each subject for the day.
- Spend longer on topics of interest.
2. Remove Distractions
Adults get distracted by things around them, so why would it be any different for children? Consider the space your child spends their school day in and remove anything distracting. It could include anything and more from the following:
- Bright posters
- And more.
Some children may thrive working in a room independently without their siblings. For your older child, having a game-free computer for their schooling will help remove further distractions from their day.
3. Take Regular Breaks
Regular breaks motivate your child and keep them more focused on their work. It’s a reward for getting their schoolwork done. The breaks don’t have to be for long, and some ideas include the following:
- A fruit snack and drinks
- A short run outside
- 5-minute trampoline jump
- Riding their bike
- Riding a scooter around the kitchen
- Shooting hoops
- 5-minutes of skipping
- Making a Lego tower
- Reading break
The list could go on with endless possibilities. When they choose a physical activity for their break, it positively affects your child’s ability to focus.
4. Let Them Help Make Decisions
The more you can include the child in the planning for their school day, they are likely to be focused and engaged. Their trouble concentrating may be because more complex or less liked subjects are at a time of the day when they’re least engaged.
You may find that your child is less engaged in math on a Friday afternoon. But if they choose Wednesday morning because that’s a better time for them, you will notice a vast difference. Allowing your child some scheduling control may allow you, as their educator, to notice patterns that indicate what type of learning and when works best for your child.
5. Use Noise Cancelling Headphones to Reduce Noise Distractions
You may have seen how noise-cancelling headphones help people on the spectrum feel more in control of their environment; the same can be said for distracted children. For some children, cutting out the noise or putting some music through the headphones can provide the correct type of stimuli and help them focus.
This method will only work for some learners. Some kids won’t be able to think beyond the quietness or noise if you use them for sound in the form of music or white noise. Other children will benefit from it, and it’s an opportunity to experiment with different genres of music and monitor what works best.
Bonus Tip: Use Visual Cards
Children respond to motivation in varying ways. For your younger, distracted child, visual cues can help them have a goal to work towards and break their day down into smaller chunks that feel more achievable.
Get your distracted child involved by using a printed schedule with velcro pictures that they can remove when they finish each task and take a break during your set school work hours. Even though you only have formal learning for a few hours per day, having a schedule where you remove tasks on completion will give your child goals to work towards in order to finish their work.
For your distracted teen, have them mark off their schedule as they go and if the visual cues feel like too much, break their work down into smaller tasks.
Don’t Forget to Make the Day Fun!
Too often, getting caught up in getting schoolwork done and finding ways to keep your distracted children on task is easy. If you think about it, if you have a less enjoyable subject ahead, planning for a fun experience at the end gives your student something to look forward to that is less structured and more about having fun.
While we’ve talked about taking many short breaks to break up your child’s day, having fun together is another experience. It’s an opportunity to take a walk to a nearby park, go on a scavenger hunt (which could double as a learning experience), or have an impromptu dance party (with some music & glow sticks).
The possibilities are limitless and require minimal disruption to your day. Create a fun wishlist with your children at the beginning of the school term and pick from it throughout the year.
Help Students Thrive with Euka
Euka has an Australian online curriculum for all ages that homeschooling families can use to learn everything they need to know. Even your most distracted child can chase their dreams with our flexible system.
We provide educational solutions for students to fulfil their potential, especially for those marching to their own drumbeat. Our approach will ensure that your distracted child works at a pace that works for them while still achieving each term’s requirements.
Are you interested in a program that works for children of all abilities? Contact our team for further information and gain support from our future learning specialists.