In an ideal world, homeschooling would be easy. Our teaching styles would always and forever match our children’s learning styles. There would never be any type of frustration and the entire process would be a joy. In reality, there are bumps in the road. Some are relatively minor and easy to move past. Others feel like they are going to derail everything.
One obstacle that many homeschool parents face is working with children who abhor seatwork. They hate sitting still for long periods of time. They have no interest in lectures. They dislike workbooks as much as other children dislike vegetables. So how do you homeschool a child who hates seatwork?
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Ditch the Seatwork
Sometimes, as new homeschoolers (especially if WE were public schooled), we have this idea in our heads of what school looks like. For many of us, the idea we have is of our kids sitting at desks (raise your hand if you went out and bought the same type of desk that they use in schools) reading books, completing workbooks, and politely raising their hands to ask a question.
While I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with this type of setup, I do think that the beauty of homeschool is that we don’t HAVE to operate like that. As homeschoolers, we have the freedom to experiment with different setups until we find the one that makes our kids enjoy learning. Perhaps seatwork isn’t the right fit for your family. Instead of trying to find ways to make it work, try cutting out the seatwork altogether. Perhaps you will find that things are better without it.
Ditch the Seats
On a related note, if your child is the type who just doesn’t like sitting still for long periods of time, try letting them stand up to do their work. If it’s just the seat itself that they don’t like, try asking them if they’d like to sit on the floor or even lay down to do their work. Or perhaps you can head to the store and let them pick out their own seat/desk. If you have the funds available, consider investing in a Wobble Chair or Wobble Cushion – which were designed with highly active kids in mind. You might find that a change of seating (or location) may make all the difference in the world
Explore Different Learning Styles
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention learning styles. Perhaps it’s not just WHERE they learn, but HOW they learn. If you can pin down your child’s learning style, it will help you to adjust how you teach them. If you do that, you may find that they start to enjoy seatwork. Below are the various learning styles and how you can adjust your teaching style to accommodate them.
- Visual (spatial)- These learners love using pictures, images, and spatial understanding. Try implementing more videos, diagrams, color coded notes, and flash cards to help your visual learner.
- Aural (auditory-musical)– These learners love sound and music. Focus on audiobooks, oral discussions, and songs to liven things up.
- Logical (mathematical)– These learners do well with logic, reasoning, and systems. Try implementing counting, math games, computer work, and cool experiments.
- Verbal (linguistic)– These learners do best with words, both oral and written. Lessons that involve oral and written components will go over like gangbusters.
- Physical (kinesthetic)– These learners prefer using their bodies, hands, and sense of touch. Implement bodily actions such as clapping, snapping, or pacing when learning to help with retention. You could also implement a lot of roleplay.
- Social (interpersonal)– These learners love being around and collaborating with others. They love lots of group work. If you only have one child, consider enrolling them in a homeschool co-op or collaborating with a friend who homeschools.
- Solitary (intrapersonal)– These learners prefer independent work and study. Giving them the space to do things on their own (even if just for a portion of the day) will go a long way towards helping them enjoy the process.
Focus on Their Interests
As you can see, it really helps to think hard about your children’s preferences. We’ve already talked about WHERE they like to learn and HOW they learn. Now let’s talk about WHAT they like to learn. What subjects do they love? Which topics really get them excited?
Once you figure out those things, you can start working on implementing them throughout your curriculum. For example, if your child really loves math, you can implement concepts while cooking, while playing games, while doing science experiments, and even in English while solving word problems. You just have to get creative!
I hope that these four tips help you to get your child more excited about learning. Do you have a strategy that has worked for you? Let us know in the comments below!