Customizing Your Homeschool Plan for Boy Learners
While not everyone is the same, most of us have likely noticed some distinct differences between how boys and girls learn in general. Many girls are more engaged by writing out stories and worksheets, while boys often seem more interested in hands-on experiments or running around outside. Sadly, it’s very common to hear about boys despising schoolwork, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Boys are known for being rowdy, wild, and loud, though that certainly doesn’t account for every boy out there. They naturally have an inquisitive nature and they love to discover for themselves. All of these traits can be utilized for a great homeschooling experience, and here’s how!
5 Ways to Engage Your Homeschooled Boys
To be fair, these techniques would work well for girls in addition to boys. As the parent, you know your kids, and if your daughter is a kinesthetic learner, free-spirited, or has a competitive personality, then any of these ideas would help engage her in addition to your sons. As for boys, these suggestions are meant to help engage them in their natural learning styles: through movement, fun, competition, and problem-solving.
- Create Hands-On Lessons.
If boys adore anything more than playing in the dirt and mud, it’s working with their hands. Whether it’s games for boys, building, or tinkering, most of them naturally want to work through projects with their hands. Take advantage of that natural inclination by including hands-on lessons in your curriculum. Have them draw out the country you just studied, help them build a papier-mâché animal to complement your nature study, bring out the Legos and consider angles and geometry. The possibilities are fairly endless.
- Focus Lessons Around Activities.
While hands-on is great for when they need to sit at the table, try to find ways to get your boys moving. Most boys find school boring when they have to sit in a chair all day, so merely subtract that from the equation! Take your school outside, study insects, have them run around, and incorporate exercise in your health study. Take breaks to jump on the trampoline, play tag, and climb trees. Perhaps even consider incorporating a few of the more active or dirty jobs around the house as boy chores.
- Keep it Funny.
There’s no denying it: boys love silliness. They adore the crazy faces, the funny voices, and when moms act things out for them. The funnier the moment, the more fun, the more engaged they are, which means they will learn and remember more in the end. Try to keep school light and funny; the lesson doesn’t have to be too serious. Let your inner child out and be silly with them. Reading aloud is a great opportunity for helping them have fun while learning–especially if mom animates the voices!
- Bring in a Competition.
If your boys demonstrate strong-willed personalities, they may have a ton of fun with a little competition in your homeschool. It doesn’t have to be a big deal with other homeschooling families — it could be as simple as a race between just you and him if he doesn’t have siblings. If you are homeschooling more than one child, perhaps give them a timed activity with the incentive that whoever wins gets to choose a treat, movie, game, or whatever they’d like best. Perhaps they could even win a free day off school!
- Include Graphics and Technology.
Utilizing technology can make homeschooling even more fun! One of the best aspects of homeschooling is the ability to supplement lessons with videos, interactive games, audio, and more. Instead of an essay, perhaps have your techie boy create a digital multimodal project in iMovie (or whichever movie maker you like). YouTube is a great resource for learning more about nearly every subject from animations, experiments, interviews, and more. Perhaps use graphic organizers for chore charts and storyboards to help support writing with non-verbal planning tools. The more you add in graphics and technology, the more intrigued boys will be.
5 Learning Tips for Boys
In addition to our suggestions for engaging your boys with your homeschool lessons, here are a few tips. These are practical and small challenges to help encourage a more independent approach to lessons while instilling self-drive. Of course, depending on your boy’s age, these ideas may work better on a sliding scale. Certain boys may need more direction while others may require less; it simply depends on their age or abilities. Thankfully as the homeschooling parent, you are the best equipped to evaluate how your son will learn most effectively.
- Invite boys to take ownership of their education by asking them to share which topics they’d like to study or to make their own personal goals.
- Consider a project-based approach so each lesson ends with a product. Boys may feel more accomplished.
- Ask your boys to solve unsolved problems, such as help with deciding what to study next or how to organize the schedule for the coming week. Their input is valuable.
- Focus on self-direction. Encourage their curiosity and to research more about things that interest them. They may be playing “detective,” but they are learning to be independent and to discover things for themselves.
- Instead of just answering their questions on how to do something, suggest that they think of ways to work through the issue. They may stumble upon the answer all on their own!
Courtney Newman is a homeschool graduate with a love for writing. She is also currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Health Science at University of the People. Other than writing, her hobbies include reading, yoga, visiting the beach, and meditating. She lives with her husband and pets in Virginia.