I have one child who has a really hard time paying attention during read alouds (and church!) He’s 9 almost 10. I just spent the last hour or so talking with a friend (who is a teacher) about some of his traits and we concluded that he might just be a kinesthetic learner. He moves a lot while studying, can read fine but doesn’t listen well, spaces out on things like math and just disengages.
Does anyone have any ideas on how to help a kinesthetic learner? We do a lot of read alouds and I tend to lose him there. I want to keep him engaged.Tamara BellModerator
I have found that I need to allow 2 of my children to use their hands while we read aloud. This is done by working on a handicraft, coloring, drawing, building with legos (so long as there is no loud clanking of bricks), molding with clay, etc. There have been periods that I have allowed them to sit on an exercise ball. It provides them with the means of moving (slowly) but still moving. I was hesitant to allow anything but full, focused, eyes on me attention but their narrations improved once I allowed them some movement.BeckyParticipant
My DD enlightened me one time by saying that when she listens to books being read, it’s like the words go out into the room instead of into her head. ! :)) She is doing better that way but it has affected her narrating at times. She is always doing something. Right now while I type she is listening to an audio book on Paddington & she has paper. scissors, pen, etc all around her on the couch. She does this all the time when she’s listening to anything. Even at church, she brings a pen & notebook. She is either trying to take notes or else she is quietly doing doodling/drawing, and she is 12! She just seems to need to be ‘Doing’ But I have found, at times, like during school time, she (maybe?) gets to focused on what she’s doing & misses some things……
So, not really any ideas for you, but thought I’d share our experience. She has taken some very good notes too, by the way! 🙂BeckyParticipant
Oh, and for listening to read alouds for school, I finally realized that she needed to be doing something & it does seem to help. Except for the few times I thought is seemed she was distracted with what she was doing & she wasn’t able to tell back what I’d read. It may have been that particular portion in the book though.alphabetikaParticipant
I echo everything Tamara Bell says, but with two different daughters. One daughter, now 20, very much needed to be working with her hands in some way while listening. She also has a fondness for patterns, so a bucket of pattern blocks was a necessity, and many lovely designs were created on the carpet. : ) In the case of this dd, working with her hands and doing mechanical things has always been a love and strength for her. She loves to build things, repair things, fiddle and tinker in general. Every piece of IKEA furniture we’ve ever had was partially or completely assembled by her, and she started using power tools in early elementary school. (My husband is a professional model builder, so he was able to teach her all of this – it’s not one of my strengths!) Another thing she loved was when we would buy some sort of machine (like an old typewriter, for instance) cheaply at a thrift store, put it on a big bed sheet on the floor, and give her tools to take it apart. That would keep her engaged for hours over weeks at a time. I say all that only to say that sometimes these tendencies can be channelled in other ways, too, rather than being seen as in irritation or a deficit, as they might be in a traditional classroom. This dd is not going into a mechanical career, but she still does most of these things, and even when she was in high school (still homeschooled) she would play with kinetic sand with one hand while doing her geometry homework with the other.
Our third dd is the age of the OPs and seems to need large motor movement above all else. She loves to be climbing, swinging, or upside down. In her case, we have done a lot of read-alouds while in the backyard, with her climbing or swinging from ropes in our backyard tree. (We live in S0uthern CA, so this is possible basically year-round). My only requirement is that she be facing me as much as possible and that she not talk while I’m reading. This has become a very enjoyable tradition. She has also become an avid indoor rock climber in the last several months. Her mind and body just *need* that kind of activity.
FWIW, our first dd, now 25, liked to sit still on the couch and listen to books. She would sit still for a ridiculous amount of time, even as a toddler. So my kids run the gamut!
A book that has been very instructive and encouraging to me is called Balanced and Barefoot. It’s written by an occupational therapist and goes into detail about how much kids need certain activities that many childhoods seem less and less to include, such as climbing, unstructured running about in the woods, swinging. She talks about how children’s brain development needs these things, not just on a physical but a cognitive level. She didn’t write it specifically for homeschoolers, but I find it a great reinforcement for the idea of hours in the out of doors, or even just letting kids do all their quirky things while listening and studying.
Well, this got long and rambly (as all my posts do!), but I hope it’s helpful to the OP or anyone who has kids like these. : )MissusLeataParticipant
I guess I need to get my mind over the idea that if he’s playing while we read, he’s not listening.
I went out yesterday and bought new building blocks, legos, play dough and an exercise ball.
My kids do get out a lot. We have 3 acres (mostly woods) in Texas and this child loves to climb trees and chop down bamboo and build things.
He’s my second born and the first born was able to sit still in church at 3 and could listen to chapter books with rapt attention at 3.
I have 4 all together and I hate feeling like the second one is getting lost in the shuffle.
Thanks for the ideas. And please, keep them coming!alphabetikaParticipant
I understand. I had the same experience with DD1 and DD2. My sample size is small, since I only have three and they are all girls, and I do think that makes a difference no matter what our current culture would like to promote. But, if it helps at all, two of the three are adults and are wonderfully functional, as well as being great listeners! 🙂
Maturity does a great deal. My son-in-law (married to DD1 for the last five years) is 29, and I’ve seen a big jump in his maturity- even though he’s technically been an adult for awhile- in the last few years. And this is a kid who needed (and needs) to fidget in large and small ways, too! His mom once told me that the best teacher he ever had was a high school science teacher who let him literally pace back and forth in the back of the classroom while listening to the lectures. He did amazingly in the class, and a few years ago graduated with high honors for his master’s degree. I know that academic achievement is only one measure of functionality, but I share this to say, as you probably already know but I find it helpful to think of sometimes myself, that who they are at nine isn’t completely who they will be at 29. In some ways it is, but not in all ways. 🙂
ETA: Three acres is a blessing! WOW!
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