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Tips for Homeschooling the Most Fidgety Students
Homeschooling a child that fidgets or gets up and moves around a lot can be a challenge for you, the teacher. Luckily, homeschooling allows you to work with your child’s need to move in a way that traditional schools cannot. These tips for homeschooling fidgety students that don’t sit still can help you give your child a quality education while embracing their uniqueness.
The truth is, – most kids fidget. It may be their age; it may be a stage they are in, or it may just be how they are wired. Most importantly, there is nothing “wrong” with a child that can’t sit still. Many boys, especially, are hard-wired for adventure, curiosity, and activity. Rather than scold them or make them feel bad about something they often can not control – why not embrace it?
Our children need ample time to move. It is part of their development process; play, movement, and being active. That is why homeschooling can help support children who have the need to move.
Is this true for all students? Of course not. Each child is unique, and some children happen to be more fidgety than others. However, if you see signs of the inability to focus paired with possible learning disabilities or learning difficulties outside of a fidgety student, you may want to have your child evaluated for other learning challenges.
But if your fidgety students just can’t seem to sit still while learning, here are some tips that can help you while teaching at home.
Stock up on fidget toys.
For kids that can’t handle sitting still for long periods of time fidget toys are a great way to keep kids moving and active with their hands allowing them to stay in one place and focus their minds on what you are teaching them. Look for tactile and quiet fidget toys to help your child without making it hard for you or other children to focus around loud noises.
Allow them to use their hands.
To piggyback off the fidget toy idea above, allowing your fidgety student more use of their hands while learning might be just the thing you need to help them stay engaged. You can do this by integrating more hands-on projects in your homeschool. Or by incorporating more arts and crafts. You can also let them enjoy a handi-craft as you read aloud or discuss various topics. Many children thrive while listening and using their hands with things like making friendship bracelets, whittling a piece of wood, or coloring, for example.
Get plenty of daily activities in.
Keeping your child active during the day with plenty of breaks for activity is a great way to help them stay focused when they need to. One great trick is to start the day out with physical activity. Take a walk, play a sport, or do active chores before you start working on school work. Maybe start the day with nature study outdoors. Your family could start a morning P.E. routine, sign up for a karate or dance class, and find other ways to include more physical activity. This eliminates some of that fidgety energy allowing them the ability to focus better.
Utilize more games.
You know the saying if you can’t beat them join them? The same is true for fidgety students. You can do this by including more active ideas in your homeschool. You could do oral quizzes or discussion questions while tossing a ball back and forth to your child – you ask the question and then toss him the ball, when he answers, he throws the ball back to you. The ball-tossing method can also work for practicing math facts or memorization exercises. Play more board games with your kids or learning games to keep them engaged. There are all types of resources that you can use to keep the learning fun and active.
Teach your child the things they want to learn about.
A great way to help make it easier to teach a child that can’t seem to sit still is to use the things they want to learn about to teach them. When you use your child’s interests to build unit studies that fit their needs you help pull them in and get them excited about learning. Ask your child what they want to learn about. Look at their hobbies and activities to find learning opportunities that will catch your child’s interest. Nowadays, you can homeschool with Minecraft or Legos to help your child engage.
Adjust the environment.
Another idea is to change the environment you are teaching your child in. If you require your fidgety student to spend too much time at a desk setting, you may want to evaluate the correlation between restrictive desk time and overly restless behavior. You could take your studies outdoors, maybe a picnic on a blanket with your read alouds for a fresh outlook. Or head to the library for a change of scenery. You may want to think about how you have your homeschool space set up. Does it encourage learning and curiosity, or is it confining? By merely adding a bean bag or an inexpensive fidget band to the desk chair, you can help your student with more freedom of movement.
Each child is unique and these ideas are a great way to help them learn without a lot of stress from trying to force them to sit still and learn. More importantly you want to teach to how they learn best and help them foster a love of learning.