The number of American children being homeschooled is currently thought to be around 3.5 million. The reasons for homeschooling are different for every family but often include the chance to implement child-lead interactive learning in a 1:1 situation. However, even in a non-classroom environment focus and concentration can still be a challenge. Here are some natural ways to help to improve focus when homeschooling.
An Environment Without Distractions
Let’s start with the homeschooling environment. Look at the needs of your child, do they work better in a quiet environment with no noise or are do they find it easier to focus when there is some music or ambient noise in the background? Review the amount of visual distraction, it may be that there is too much to look at and take in, if you remove anything that is causing a lack of concentration then it should help to build better focus in your child.
Food For the Brain
Some foods are known for being able to boost the ability to concentrate. For example, the antioxidants in blueberries are known to stimulate flow of oxygen or blood to the brain. Other brain foods include avocados, leafy green vegetables, fatty fish, water, dark chocolate, flax seeds and nuts. Green tea contains caffeine, a stimulant and theanine, a nootropic known to improve concentration. A Nootropic is a substance which improves mental functions including attention and concentration and can be naturally occuring or synthetic. Naturally occuring nootropics which aid concentration and focus include bacopa, ginkgo and rosemary.
Planning Your Day
Many homeschooling families find that the route to success is planning and scheduling your days. Chunking up the day, or breaking it up into predictable, bite-sized chunks with clear objectives and regular breaks can help to improve concentration. Look at your child and observe how long they can last before losing interest and plan your sessions around that. Breaks are as important as working time. In a break, let you child take some time to run around, get some fresh air and move to a different place or reward your child with a fun activity once they have completed the task they have been set.
Observe How Your Child Learns
Every child learns in a different way so adapt homeschooling to take into account your child’s learning style. Some children simply do not learn when sitting down and prefer to be active and learning by experience, this is one of the great advantages of homeschooling. So instead of reading, learning and writing about animals take a trip to the zoo and use that as a learning experience instead.
All children are different and learn in different ways but there are many things that you can try when you have a child that struggles to focus. Try then out and see what works best for you.