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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Homeschooling Active Boys: Keep 'em moving!

My oldest boy doesn't like to sit long.  Sitting through a meal?  Ha!  He is getting better, though, as he gets older.  Still, he likes to be moving.  All. day. long.

Spelling lessons at the table?  Let's just say I've found that to be counterproductive.  His whining, complaining, and moaning have led to a frustrated mama on more than one occasion over the past 3 weeks of homeschooling. 

Hey, we live and learn, right?  Homeschooling is a journey, I'm finding.  And we just have to find what works best for our own children and family.

I came up with this solution to our "sitting" problem. 

My oldest & middle son helped me make an alphabet mat.  It sounds so formal... "alphabet mat".... jeesh.  We just used some crayons and notebook paper, drew & colored a letter on each page, then taped them together for a mat to lay on the floor.

Now, when I say it's spelling time on the alphabet mat, I hear screams of joy (alternated with screams over who gets to go first).  How do you spell success?

Jump to each letter!  s-u-c-c-e-s-s

Alright, in this case, the spelling word was c-r-e-w.  But you get the idea.

My newly-turned 7 year-old does the spelling words that we've chosen for the week.  When it's my 4 year-old son's turn, I have him stand on the letter I call out and then say it's sound. 

My 2 year-old also wants in to the action, so I ask him to stand on a colored letter - blue, let's say.  Then we all cheer for him when he stands on yellow.  Hey, just keeping it real.  Gotta get him off the mat for the next boy's turn.  And at least he's interested!

We also made a "math mat", same format as the alphabet mat only with numbers.  I call out an addition or subtraction problem for my 7 year-old, a simple number-find for my 4 year-old, and a color-find for my 2 year-old.  They love it.

Highly active boys need to be kept moving.  Now, does anyone have any ideas as to how I can incorporate a mat into handwriting practice?  Hmmm.... guess some things just have to be done sitting down.  Darn.

Thanks for visiting the All-Natural-Mama blog, home to Wishful Acres Organic Garden!



  1. Wonderful! This is why I love homeschooling. You love your sons so rather than sit them out in the hall, you figured out a way to make learning fun! Kudos to you!!

  2. Honey, How did you start out homeschooling? I am quiet interested. I am planning to start homeschooling my 5 and 12 year old.

    Much welcomed your thoughts


  3. Nothing better than homeschool!!! When my son dug in his heels one day and insisted that fractions were a complete waste of time and he'd NEVER use them! - I said "Ya! dumb ole' fractions. Let's not do any more math today. Let's make cookies!" He was thrilled. We decided to double the batch so we'd have lots. I assigned him to measure everything out. As soon as he had to double 1 3/4 cups of flour, he gave me that little smile like "OK, you got me!" He's never had a problem with fractions since!

  4. idea for handwriting is to get a dry erase marker or crayola washable marker and have your son stand at a sliding glass door if you have one or a window and have them practice their writing on the glass...maybe make a game of it...they write their spelling words on there, and then have them sit down to do a certain amount of handwriting, then up to write on the window again etc. does that make sense? It is a method my son's OT taught me to help him with keeping his wrist down on the paper, however it proved to be fun and a great way to get out their energy. You could even have them stand on one foot while they draw. :) Another thing you can do for energetic boys is have them do their handwriting at the coffee table while sitting on a big bouncy ball like an exercise ball. It helps .:)

  5. What a FABULOUS idea!!!! I am so stealing that!