How Do I Teach Him If He Won't Sit Still?
- Wednesday, October 19, 2005
I finally took the plunge. I dared to share my deepest secret in a room of two hundred people. "How many of you," I timidly began, "have found that your high-energy, highly distractible child ...[long pregnant pause] ... regularly ... [dare I truly share this?] falls out of his chair?" To my shock and relief, 147 people raised their hands. (Okay, I didn't exactly count, but it was close.) "Oh my word! Look around, everyone!" I bubbled. And we all breathed a community sigh of shared relief that our child wasn't the only one inflicting daily, brain-rattling trauma upon his own person. As a result of this reaffirming response, I always share the truth of my own child's thousands of falls and the subsequent "Ka-thunk!" sound that no longer results in even a minor shift of my focus from the page I'm reading.
For most of us, the idea of falling out of a firmly rooted chair is unthinkable, even laughable. But for the constantly moving, highly distractible child who has never yet figured out just what part of the body belongs on what part of the chair, falling out of one is a regular, almost daily occurrence. Why is this child so different? Didn't we parent all our kids the same? And yet this child not only falls out of his chair, but his mind falls out of focus, making homeschooling him a unique and sometimes difficult challenge.
If you've chosen to homeschool a child like this, I've got good news. You can relax. While you will certainly have some challenges ahead of you, you can nonetheless rest assured that you have made, by far, the very best decision for this child. This is one of the very few environments in which you can teach this child in the way he learns best. And what is that? Motion, motion, and more motion. Unfortunately, so many of us take this child out of the traditional schooling environment, bring him home to our alternative and supportive homeschool, and then proceed to duplicate in ridiculous detail the very same environment we just took him out of.
Save yourself some misery and don't go there. Start by accepting right now that this child learns in a way that is different (note that I did not say "disabled"), and let that awareness guide your teaching methods. Your schooling will never be the same. Indeed, it will be lots more fun.
Once you accept that this child needs motion in order to learn, what do you do now? Do you have to order a whole new motion-oriented curriculum? No. In fact, you'll be hard-pressed to find a curriculum package that really understands the way non-traditional, action-oriented learners learn. Stick with the curriculum that interests you most, but find a few easy ways to turn any lesson into one that incorporates motion.
In our house we decided that this energy was part of the package of our son and that it was a good thing. We decided to work with the qualities that he possessed instead of trying to make our gift look like all the other quiet, compliant, traditional learners that were the gifts we saw in the families of so many others. Harnessing this energy into productivity was our new objective.
So what are some fast and simple ways to put motion into a standard schooling day?
Toss a beanbag. When learning books of the Bible, counting by threes, ABCs in English (or Spanish or Latin), or Presidents in order, say the first item and throw the beanbag to your child. Have your child say the next item and throw the beanbag back to you.
Peel a sticker. Take a section of math and put the answers on some little round stickers. When your child has worked out the answer, he can peel off a sticker and place it in the correct spot.
Keep hands busy. If you want him to listen while you read, give his hands something related to do, like applying salt dough to a model of a home from the period being studied or building an item with Legos or drawing a structure or other related item from this topic of study.
Allow oral responses. Do your best to get a pencil OUT of this child's hand whenever you possibly can. In our house, the only time I required writing of my child was when we were studying writing. And even then, as soon as possible, we developed typing skills.
Recently on Homeschool
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
Listen to Your Favorite Pastors
Add Crosswalk.com content to your siteBrowse available content