One big hurdle that homeschoolers often run into is trying to get work completed amid daily distractions. In a traditional school, you aren’t interrupted by phone calls, sibling squabbles or visits from the package man! But with many parents choosing to opt out of public school this fall due to Covid restrictions, studying at home effectively is a must.
Here are some ways you can teach and learn with less distraction in a home setting.
Have a Written Plan
When it’s on paper, you’re a lot more likely to follow it. Distractions don’t just come from without; sometimes school itself can be the culprit! Try not to stray from assigned work and lessons plans. Don’t get distracted with random “school stuff” that doesn’t really have to be done. Check out Study.com’s easy sample homeschool schedule to follow (and customize).
Eliminate the Big Offenders
What are the deadliest distractions during homeschooling?
- Cell phone – Turn off or switch to silent mode.
- Home Phone – Do not answer. There’s this wonderful thing called voice mail!
- Radio – Keep it off during school time.
- The TV – Keep it off during school time. Do not use it as a babysitter.
- The doorbell – Have a designated family member to answer the door so everyone isn’t tempted to jump up.
Find a Private Place
Avoid common, high-traffic areas like the dining room table, living room or kitchen. Try a bedroom, the basement, the park or a local library. Alternately, you can send other siblings outside for recess, or to their rooms to play quietly, while you work individually with a student.
Try Concentration Boosters
There are actually things you can do to improve concentration and performance.
- Play classical music or chant quietly in the background
- Have a snack or drink while you work to ward off a growling stomach.
- Take periodic breaks. Stretch your legs, pop outside for 5 minutes, play with your pets, etc.
- Set small goals for yourself and your students, and tackle them one at a time.
- Make sure assignments are age appropriate.
Have Everything Nearby
Before you sit down, make sure you have everything you need. There’s nothing more distracting than constantly having to get up to fetch a book, a pencil, a drink of water, etc.
Learn Their Learning Style
Homeschooling is very flexible compared to traditional learning, and that means finding your child’s style can lead to less distraction and wheel-spinning. Determine whether he or she is visual, auditory, or kinesthetic, and gear lessons appropriately. When everything clicks, your student is a lot less likely to get bored and distracted.
Use Technology Wisely
What do you do when your student is stuck, and sits there staring at the page? If you’ve hit a wall trying to get a concept across using books and paper, use technology in a targeted way with video lectures, tutorials and virtual whiteboards. Just make sure you monitor screen time and turn it off as soon as the lesson is done. Using Study.com’s videos can be a good way to keep attention focused on a concept, and after each short lesson you can test for retention with a short 5-question quiz.
What if technology itself is the distraction, though (see #2 above)? You might want to reconsider 100% online learning and opt for traditional, hands-on methods. Many parents (and teachers) reported frustration with the virtual programs that were used when school was suspended this spring. It’s not a one-size-fits-all-approach. If your child isn’t doing well with virtual school, then choose something better; his education is in your hands!
This post is sponsored by Study.com. Check them out for more tips on learning without distraction!