Distraction, you say? But distraction is a bad thing. Surely, when it comes to homeschooling, the right distraction level would be zero.
In reality, distractions have a bad reputation. Of course, being too distracted will affect your child’s ability to concentrate and their learning progress. That’s precisely why homeschooling parents have created a safe and quiet environment to help their children. You wouldn’t think of teaching them math while they’re sitting in front of the TV, for example.
However, not all distractions are negative. In fact, some distractions can even take your mind off stressful events. So how can parents apply this type of distraction to homeschooling and avoid the harmful kind of distraction?
Understanding why your child needs a distraction
Was school ever not stressful? Learning in a classroom can expose your child to peer pressure, unfair teacher behavior, and overall anxiety about performing in public. The idea of homeschooling is to create a safe learning environment at home, away from school’s typical stressors. However, it would be unfair to pretend that homeschooling is relaxing.
Your child can experience a variety of stress factors during the day:
- They are afraid of their least favorite subject and always feel nervous when they have lessons (math would do that to a lot of people!)
- They are homeschooling with their siblings and compare themselves against them (knowingly or not)
- They’re having a bad day (it happens)
- They are frustrated because they struggle to understand something.
These stressors can affect their homeschooling success. That’s precisely where a distraction can provide stress relief and help them regain a positive attitude.
Examples of positive distractions that benefit homeschooling
There is nothing more frustrating than not understanding a lesson. It can be stressful, and the more stressed out your child gets, the harder it is for them to focus.
You can encourage them to take a few minutes to calm down. But it can get tricky to relax on demand. So, instead, you may want to consider smart distractions such as:
- An educational and engaging video game by the creators of ABCmouse. They can even use the game to explore curriculum lessons playfully.
- Watching an episode of their favorite TV show (sometimes those 20 or 30 minutes watching TV and laughing are the most effective distraction)
- Going for a walk outside
- Playing a game together
Recognizing the bad distractions
A distraction interrupts the current process. Therefore, if your child is focused and learning, any type of distraction would be negative as it would be ill-timed.
But there are some distractions you can keep at bay with proper planning:
- Avoiding visual distractions by decluttering your home. A messy room can slow down learning and disrupt their memory.
- Provide meals and snacks that make them feel full for longer. Getting hungry can make it tough to stay focused. Ideally, you should plan balanced meals and protein-rich snacks as protein encourages fullness. Avoid carb-heavy food that can cause a slump in the afternoon!
- When possible, you should ensure they can lean in a noise-free and bright environment.
Are distractions a bad thing? The answer is no. Homeschooling needs a fair share of distractions to keep kids engaged and confident.