As any homeschooling parent knows, planning a curriculum takes a lot of time and effort. After hours spent choosing engaging assignments, organizing, and assembling, everything is ready for school. Everything except for your child, that is.
There are many reasons that a child may have trouble focusing on lessons, but as their teacher and parent it is your job to teach them how to stay focused on the task at hand. These four tips can help you teach your child how to concentrate on what is in front of them.
Designate an Official Schooling Area
The separation of school life and home life is something that can be easily lacking in a homeschooled child’s life. Merging the two can be overwhelming and lead to less productivity and a greater chance of distraction. Influence your child’s attitude in the different spaces by creating boundaries between them. If you have the space, set off a room just for schooling. It should contain a desk for school work; storage area for pencils, books, and school supplies; and school decorations such as educational posters and a name tag from a store like Naag Tag Name Tags to help set the mood. Such an area can help your child stay distraction free by creating a boundary between the rooms of the house they associate playing with and the room for serious learning.
Know How Your Child Learns
There is a ton of evidence on the different types of learners and the benefits of catering to personal learning styles, specifically regarding the VARK model. Do you know if your child is a visual learner, auditory learner, read-write learner, or kinesthetic learner? Maybe part of the reason they have trouble focusing is because they are not being stimulated in the correct way. Knowing how you child learns could make their educational experience that much greater. However, be sure not to only focus on one style of learning. The VARK model should be used as a guide for a large portion of learning activities, however, no matter how your child learns best, learning the same principle or concept through multiple methods will help your child remember the lesson of the day.
Create a Schedule
Even adults have a hard time staying on task when they do not have a schedule on hand. Knowing what lies ahead in the day makes it easier to visualize following through, and most importantly, finishing the task. Having a physical schedule is also a way to actively engage your child in their education and possibly get them excited about learning time management skills.
Plan for Fun
If you know that your kid struggles focusing during the math lesson, plan for a break or fun activity right afterwards. Seeing it on the schedule may provide the relief and excitement they need to stay on task for the allotted time. Treat this break or activity as a reward. If they are unable to stay on task anyway, you can take it away or prolong it until they have finished.
Do not be discouraged if your child has trouble focusing—it is in the nature of kids to be high energy and extra curious about the world around them. However, taking extra care to plan around your child’s personal needs can be the deciding factor in a time-efficient lesson plan (that actually stays on schedule!).