I am not sure if giving up on homeschooling is something that passes your minds once or twice — or maybe even several times in your journey. It is definitely difficult at times and having high energy boys just adds a whole new dimension to the word “hard.” Having a super-duper high energy boy myself, with much research and effort, I am able to do a few things that help him—and me – tremendously in our homeschool.
I would like to start by divulging something slightly personal. My son’s name is Pohiva (it means “night singing” in the Tongan language; he is half Tongan). Anyway, my son is so hyper that my best friend calls him Po-Hyper. Literally, that is the nickname that stuck. So, when I tell you I have a high energy son, I am being truthful.
When he was little at an early learning center, I was called to the school for a meeting. His teacher told me that he either fell asleep during school time or couldn’t stay still at all. Then she proceeded to give me the best advice any teacher had ever given me. She said, if he stays in the public school system they will tell you, even require you, to put him on medication. She suggested we start working on helping him without medicine. The lovely teacher proceeded to tell me to NOT give him any food with red food dye during the week, put him to bed before 8, and completely cut down on his daily sugar intake.
After a week or so, my son was a completely different boy in school. I was astonished at how changing a few things in our daily lives could have such a big impact.
As time went by I realized that despite eliminating these things from my son’s daily intake and putting him to bed early, he was just a high energy boy. Not cranky, not sleepy during the day, just plain old’ energetic. When we decided to homeschool, I knew that certain things needed to be put in place in order for his learning environment to run smoothly.
Here are the tools that have allowed me to homeschool my high energy son who finds it hard to sit still:
Whiteboard wiggly work
I learned early on that my son just cannot stay still for too long. It’s just not his thing. Even if he does try to stay sitting for a long period of time, his mind wanders so he can’t focus on the task at hand. Therefore, I give assignments and develop lessons where he can stand up and do his work on his very own whiteboard on the wall.
Even if I give him a worksheet now and again, he uses the whiteboard to work out his problems or write his answers – neatly. He can totally have the wiggles and I am OK with that, as long as He is doing his work. He can dance or jump, I don’t care. I even join him in the dancing for a moment if I get up for a cup of coffee or something. It just works for him.
Outlets to let it all out
I know some of you don’t agree with combat sports, but we love them in our home (Don’t judge me). I literally have my son in 3 different sports activities. My son trains in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, boxing, and rugby.
These sports, which he has chosen stay in and enjoys, help him focus in two ways. He looks forward to them so much that he wants to do his school in order to be able to go train. Sports are a privilege not a right in our home; his father and I make sure he understands that. The second thing is that he is noticeably more relaxed the day after a practice or training day. The intense activities give him some sort of a calm that really helps him relax and focus on his work. So, sports can give high energy boys 1)Motivation 2)What their bodies crave – to be active.
Take breaks or eat some cakes
I literally only said cakes, because I like cake and it rhymed with breaks. What is a mom with a zillion things to do and who homeschools high energy boys, without having a good laugh now and again?
High energy boys need breaks in homeschool. My son does not like to sit and read. He doesn’t like writing even more than he does reading. He is so sweet about it and really tries, however I know he needs breaks. He gets three breaks in a homeschool day. We have it down to a science. Once and a while, he will choose to go straight through his break time to finish his school a little earlier, but I let him make that choice.
On his breaks, he will ask to ride his bike for 30 minutes, through the rugby ball around for a bit and yes sometimes I have to take a break and play with him. If my husband is home he tosses the ball around with him as well. His breaks are his time. They clear his head, and they let him have a “learning” breather.
Routines save the day
It is so easy to just give up on routines. As an early learning teacher in the past, I knew that developing a set routine right from the beginning of the school year, really helped even the highest energy kids feel comfortable about what was expected. (Every home is different, so please know that this is just what I do with my son to help him get stability in a body that wants to be all over the place.) Kids who have an ever-working mind need parameters, whether they consciously know it or not. So, we never let our homeschool day go past 2 p.m. There are assignments I put in his Homeschool Planner (which he loves to log onto and check every day). He knows what he has to finish or he will have to make something up on Fridays. We only do 4 day school weeks, Monday – Friday.
The structured approach works for him. I say “structured,” but what I mean is that he has a framework to work within. Monday – Friday, daily goals, breaks, and sports.
Of course, I am leaving the best for last. Moms with high energy boys can feel pretty overwhelmed. If we follow God than we know from whom our strength comes from. We should be seeking His face and praying over our children no matter what type of child they are.
With a high energy boy, don’t pray that the Lord will stop him from being so energetic. The Lord knew him before the foundations of the world were laid. He knew exactly how he would be and he knew you’d be the perfect mom made just for him to be trained by. Instead, pray that his high energy will bring God glory in the future and bring peace and comfort for today.
I hope you enjoyed me sharing with you a piece of how we do homeschool with our high energy boy. You can build up his character by not trying to change him, but by embracing ways to steering in the right direction.
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Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!