Keeping our homeschool students stay engaged is certainly a challenge at times.  Over the years I have found that there are certain teaching methods and strategies that help:

1 Learn together as a family

When we do as many lessons as we can as a family it creates engagement as the children learn from each other and from their parents.  Every person in a conversation or activity contributes to the learning opportunities.

Read:  How to Make Conversation be an Effective Teaching Tool 

2 Give a reason for the study

The more reason there is to learn something, the more engaged your student will be.  Create real life projects, or connect subjects with a interest your child has.  Learning isn’t just to finish school – learning is to equip us to live and contribute to the world around us.

Read: Create a Unique Education

3 Optimize Learning Styles

Use their predominate learning style to capture their attention – visual, audio, or kinesthetic though once they are into it encourage them to use all learning styles to dig deeper. Ultimately our kids need to be able to learn in a variety of ways but they should also know how they shine and when to optimise those skills.

Read: What Learning Styles can mean for your Homeschool 

4 Keep lessons short

Keep lessons short and finish on a positive note each day so they want more.  A little every day means you make progress without the overload.  When your student loves a topic, then you can spend longer there digging deeper, but while there is a struggle – keep it short.

5 Use Picture Books

Use picture books regardless of the subject you are studying – if they are older use a picture book to tease their interest then dig deeper (doesn’t matter what age my children are they all love a well written and beautifully illustrated picture book!)  Picture books are perfect for capturing the imagination, and introducing concepts without the overwhelm of a text book.

6 Reduce where possible

Integrate language arts into every other learning opportunity and therefore reduce the need for language arts lessons.  Ruth Beechick said, “Learn to read, then read to learn” and this is the basis for making learning real and applicable.  Learn the skill and then use it.

Read: The way Ruth Beechick Influenced our Homeschool 

7 Be Organised

Be organised and know what you are doing before you sit with the children (this doesn’t mean you have to know everything about your topic, just have an objective, have an idea where resources are and be prepared for hands on activities).  Our children will lose interest if they have to hang around waiting for stuff to come together.

8 Be Flexible

Be flexible enough to go on rabbit trails and explore new ideas.  There is a flip side to being organised, and that is letting go of the plans if our children start engaging, asking questions or want to know more.  Be flexible enough to go with the flow when your student makes a connection.

9 Be Realistic

Keep output expectations (written work, projects etc) at a do-able level – don’t overwhelm your child with a large project; start small and let their enthusiasm grow the project.  Once again a little is better than nothing.

10 Finish it!

Bring your unit to an end – don’t drag it on forever!  You may be fascinated, but unless the child is – let it go.  Just finish it.  You can always come back and study some more another time if there is so much you want to discover with your kids.

Over to you:

Two things I’d like you to ask you:
1/ what has worked for you when your student gets bored and disengages and
2/what is it about your child struggling that puts pressure on you?

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Belinda and her husband, Peter, live in the far north-west of Australia on a small farm. They have four adult children whom they homeschooled from prep-year 12. Over this time Belinda has taught and supported women both face to face and online. Her heart is to encourage families to be intentional, relational and heart focused in all areas of family living. She continues to do this in her new season of life – as her kids leave home one by one leaving her with more time.

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