Homeschooling your kids can be a great challenge but it can also be an incredible joy. The key to a successful homeschool day may reside in offering variety. I have been working with kids for the better part of fifteen years, and the one constant thing that has always helped boost everyone's mood is movement.
The bottom line for a movement break is just that, take a break! There is so much to get done but the most important thing might just be the overall balance of your day. The normal attention span for children is actually quite short; take a look:
2 years old: four to six minutes.
4 years old: eight to 12 minutes.
6 years old: 12 to 18 minutes.
8 years old: 16 to 24 minutes.
10 years old: 20 to 30 minutes.
12 years old: 24 to 36 minutes.
14 years old: 28 to 42 minutes.
16 years old: 32 to 48 minutes.
It is important to keep your child engaged and for many, that means offering enough breaks through the day to allow them rest, recover and just have fun! They are kids aren't they! Here are the top 5 common and easy movement breaks to plan for a more active homeschool day.
5. Free Time.
When I taught Preschool and Kindergarten age kids, one of the main parts of the day was their free time. Free time is so much more than just "playing." It is a chance for a child's imagination to blossom and their stress levels to lower. The ability to just be silly, run around and play games is such an important part to a well balanced homeschool day and should not be ignored.
As I started to work with older kids, I found that they needed free time just as much as their younger counterparts. As kids get older, their emotions start to become more developed and a "break" to be free is sometimes just what they need. Some kids will just enjoy the freedom and some will be yearning to get back to work. In any case, offering your kids the ability to have free time could be the difference between a headache and a smile.
4. Taking a Walk.
Perhaps the most simple movement activity is walking. Homeschooling families have the luxury of stepping outside whenever they wish, and because of that; they should! The light movement of walking can do wonders for the brain and heart and give teacher and student alike a much needed break. This can be done with or without conversation, but I suggest that school is not brought up in conversation. Let this time be a time to unwind and be carefree, letting the mind wander. You will find that upon returning to the classroom that your student is refreshed and so are you.
Many homeschooling parents are concerned that their child will not get enough physical education while learning at home. While this is a legitimate concern, it doesn't have to be a daunting challenge. In fact, studies have shown that a simple set of jumping jacks or push ups can not only help with a person't health but it also boosts the blood flow to your brain. The next time you and your child are feeling worn out from learning, stop and do some jumping jacks or stretching!
2. Playing a sport.
Playing a sport doesn't have to be serious or competitive. In fact, much joy can be had by kicking a soccer ball around or shooting some hoops. Taking breaks to do this through out your day can really bring a lot of joy as well as work on things like balance and coordination. The duration doesn't have to long, a simple 15 minute break to play catch can do wonders.
All of the activities up until now have had two major things in common; they involve movement and they do NOT involve continued learning. There may be times in your day when your child simply needs a break from learning and there may be other times when a movement activity can actually help them learn. Kids Freeze Dance creates content themed freeze dance videos for grades K-3 and align with state standads. What that means is that these freeze dance videos actually back up the lessons you are teaching!
Instead of just teaching the Multiplication Facts, why not mix in a freeze dance video that challenges your child to say the answers out loud in between doing a silly dance? In the video below, check out how there is a designated to time to dance or move and then as the child freezes, they read out loud the multiplication fact they see on screen! The mix of movement and learning can't be beat and this has proven to be a popular choice for hundreds of homeschooling families.