First, you hear the crash, then the scampering of feet, often followed by a whirlwind of motion as your boy, or boys, scamper through the house like an armful of playful puppies let loose for the first time. You may catch him scaling a tree, hammering a fort, and occasionally fixing your blender into a “new and improved version” whether you wanted it that way or not. Raising these children of the male persuasion is not for the faint of heart. On top of keeping them alive, we homeschool moms also have to encourage learning beyond super glued toys and dismantled electronics. There are a few tricks that every homeschooling mom should have up her sleeve, especially when homeschooling active, rowdy boys.
#1 Wait it out
If your active boy is in no way interested in a sit-down worksheets kind of school, and your hair is falling out over the stress of teaching him to read…wait it out. A wise homeschool mom once said that what takes our children weeks to learn now, will come in just hours if we wait until later on. This statement couldn’t be more true, especially with boys. There are times when a skill you want to be perfected (reading aloud, perfect penmanship, independent learning) may take several more weeks, months or even years than you had planned. Just wait it out, if the skill is causing your forehead to bruise from all the banging your noggin against the wall, give it time before you try to master it again.
#2 Take it outside
One of the best ways to engage our wild things is to incorporate the great outdoors. Take a spelling test while jumping on the trampoline. Complete math problems on the driveway with chalk. Science in the backyard is a wonderful way to engage them into thinking they aren’t really “doing school.” Before you know it, you can have them fooled into learning the lifecycle of a conifer simply by checking out the pine cones, sap, and seeds all before they try scaling to the top.
#3 Remove the furniture
Boys have a tendency to fidget. They almost cannot force themselves to sit still, and for these souls, the endless sitting still at a desk (especially in a formal classroom) is closely akin to Chinese water torture. Make it easier by replacing his chair with a ball or handing him a piece of Playdough while he reads.
#4 Work it out
There are times in the day when a good work out is just necessary. When you are going over the same math problem for the 47th time because their focus has escaped like the golf ball hit far into the sand dune, it is time to drop to the floor. Incorporate physical activity like pushups, pull ups and even jumping jacks into your school routine. For every 5 math problems, they can do 3 pushups. You will be increasing focus as well as bicep width with this practice.
#5 Be creative
If it is math with little ones, forget the book and pull out chocolate chips or noodles for basic addition and subtraction. If it’s science, wrestle up some chemistry experiments for your kitchen. Are you working on history? Then watch a Discovery channel movie series. Let the creative juices flow and skip the traditional.