Home Homeschool How To Keep Your Kid’s Attention When You Homeschool

How To Keep Your Kid’s Attention When You Homeschool

by Angela
12 comments
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Homeschooling won’t be for everyone, and it will depend on your specific circumstances and, of course, your child, but for those who have chosen to take the homeschooling path, it can work out wonderfully.

That’s not to say there aren’t challenges, though, and one of the biggest challenges that parents find they face is keeping their kids engaged and focused on their schoolwork when they’re at home. The main issue is exactly that – they’re at home rather than in a traditional classroom, and that means there are distractions everywhere, from their own toys and books to people dropping by to the TV, and so on. It can often seem like an impossible task to get them to concentrate, but don’t worry; there are things you can do to keep their attention for as long as you need to. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how to keep your child engaged when they’re learning at home.

What Affects Attention?
So that you can understand more about why your child might not be able to focus how you’d like them to, it’s worth looking at what factors actually affect attention in the first place. It might be that by discovering what they are, you can make changes in how you do things or the homeschooling setup to make it easier for your kid to concentrate.

To begin with, age can have a lot to do with how well a child can focus, and younger children tend to have shorter attention spans than older ones. That’s good news in that by the time your child gets older, they’ll be able to sit through longer lessons, but it’s not so great if they’re little right now and you want them to learn. However, we’ll get to the solutions shortly, so don’t worry.

Another issue is the environment, as we’ve mentioned. If there are too many distractions, which could be anything from noise to clutter or just being at home rather than outside it, children might find it hard to focus.

You also need to factor in the interest level – children are much more likely to pay attention to tasks that they’re interested in (and it’s the same for adults). Plus, they’re going to focus more if they’re health is good and they’re not hungry, thirsty, or feeling sick.

As you can see, there’s a lot to think about, but with some careful planning, you can ensure your kid focuses when you need them to.

Create A Structured Routine
Routine is great for kids, and it’s something that can really make a difference when it comes to how long they can focus for. If you can make a routine, there will be a positive sense of predictability and stability in your child’s life, and they’ll be more easily able to get into ‘learning mode’ and get their work done – that’s especially true if they know they’ve got a break coming up; it’s good motivation for them to get things done.

You’ll need to designate specific times for different subjects and activities, and try to stick to that schedule as much as you can (although a degree of flexibility can be useful as well at times). In general, consistency helps children know what to expect so it should make them less restless during lessons.

Set Clear Expectations
It’s also a good idea to set some clear expectations about behavior, for example, and set out some learning goals that your child and you can work towards. If there are rules in place and there’s something to achieve, it’s much easier to focus and do what needs to be done.

Some examples of the behavior your child should know you expect could be that they need to listen carefully and not talk while you’re talking (or while their teacher is talking – it depends on how your specific homeschool setup works, as there are a few different versions you can opt for), taking part in activities when they’re asked to, and hitting their homework assignment deadlines. If you can set good, achievable goals that can really motivate kids to focus a lot more, and if you can celebrate those goals in some way (it only has to be small) then that’s even better – you’ll definitely be able to keep your kid’s attention that way!

Personalize The Learning
Although your child will need to learn certain things and reach specific milestones, how you teach them can often be down to you when it comes to homeschooling – it’s one of the reasons many parents feel it’s the best way for their child to get their education. So if that’s the case, keeping their attention during lessons should become quite easy because you can personalize the learning and tailor it to their specific likes and preferences. As long as the outcome is the same as a traditional school’s curriculum would be, how you get there is your own choice.

There are lots of different activities you can include in your lessons, for example, and by choosing the games or activities that your kid likes best, they’ll learn without getting bored or distracted – and they’ll often retain the information more quickly and for longer. One great idea is coloring because, after all, what kid doesn’t love coloring? You can buy things like addition color by number sheets that are great fun to fill in, but that require some math skills as well – this is exactly what we mean when we talk about personalizing the learning.

Another way to personalize your child’s learning is to allow them to learn about topics they find particularly interesting, and to help them learn at their own pace. You can mix and match these ideas, use all of them, or just take one to start with, but the fact is that learning that’s more tailored to your child’s interests is sure to keep their attention longer than learning that isn’t.

Minimize Distractions
If you really want your kid to focus on their studies, you can put all of these measures in place, and that’s great – but you might not get the outcome you’re hoping for. Your child still might not be able to concentrate. Why? The distractions in your home. So the answer is to minimize those distractions as much as possible, and that’s going to be a big help.

Firstly, you need to choose a quiet place for your kid to learn in. That should ideally be their own study, but that’s not always going to be possible – it depends on your home and how much space you have to spare. If you can’t organize a separate classroom space, then wherever you do choose has to be as quiet as possible, so don’t pick a corner of the living room or a table in a busy kitchen, for example. The space also has to be well-lit, otherwise your child might get headaches and eyestrain, and that’s not going to help them focus very well. Make sure you’re well away from noisy appliances, electronic devices, and other distractions, including pets. Plus, put some rules and boundaries in about screen time because that can be a big distraction. It can also be a big motivator, so it could be the reward you offer for good work and plenty of focus.

Encourage Breaks
No matter how interesting a topic might be, sitting still for a long time can be a problem, especially for energetic young children. That’s why you need to make sure you allow time for regular breaks, and those breaks should be away from screens and schoolwork – the child needs to get up and move around, and if they can go outside for some fresh air, that’s even better.

What could work well is if you join your child during these breaks because they’ll be more likely to actually take them, plus it means you get a break too, and that will improve your own focus, which is just as important.

12 comments

Ramil Hinolan April 18, 2024 - 12:25 pm

This is a very helpful guide. I have a friend who homes school here kids. I will refer these tips to her.

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karen April 18, 2024 - 2:43 pm

It was so chaotic at the beginning but when we created a routine, with the help of the kids, and we were both committed to it, it worked as a charm. Thanks a lot for the post, very insightful.

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Amber Myers April 18, 2024 - 7:09 pm

Great advice. We only did the homeschool thing during covid, and it could be tricky at times because my kids have difficulty focusing.

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Hannah Bures April 18, 2024 - 10:03 pm

I have been trying to decide if I wanted to homeschool so this is super helpful! My son can get distracted easily.

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Christy G April 19, 2024 - 3:43 am

I remember when my son had to do virtual school during Covid. It was awful. He got so distracted and wouldn’t focus on getting his homework/work done. He loved recess time though. lol

Needless to say, I know he must have structure in order to be successful at school.

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Lavanda Michelle April 19, 2024 - 10:55 am

Keeping my child’s attention can sometimes be challenging, but your suggestions offer some great strategies to make learning more engaging and effective.

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Melissa Cushing April 19, 2024 - 12:55 pm

Great tips here for sure and I would see this as a huge challenge for the kids when beoing homeschooled. I appreciated the structure of actual school as well as the social skills that homeschooling leaves out. I talked my brother out of homeschooling his daughter and my biggest concern was them developing social skills that are so needed for adult life.

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Marysa April 19, 2024 - 2:27 pm

I give parents a lot of credit for deciding to homeschool. I think this would be a huge challenge, and your tips are wonderful.

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vidya April 19, 2024 - 9:16 pm

such important tips here.. breaks are so important for every one.. and personalizing learning makes it more efficient

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Beautiful Touches April 19, 2024 - 9:31 pm

The homeschooling focus tips provided are truly insightful and practical. I wish I had known about these techniques when my kids were younger; they would have made our educational journey much smoother and more effective.

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Alexa April 20, 2024 - 2:26 am

Love this! As a former teacher, it is so hard to keep students attention

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Clarice April 20, 2024 - 5:12 pm

I agree with you! Setting a structured routine definitely helps. At home, try to stick to a schedule in that way they know what to expect.

We also incorporate breaks to give them time to recharge.

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