Are you homeschooling your boys and wondering how to do it without losing your mind? As a homeschool soccer mom to five boys, I've learned some tricks along the way. Here are my tips that I hope help you enjoy learning at home with your boys 🙂
As a mom of five boys, I often get these observations. Maybe you can relate?:
- Your hands are full!
- They never stop moving, do they?
- Do you ever get to sit down?
- How do you get them to ________?
- What is your food bill like?
- Do you have a urinal in your house?
A Real Look at Homeschooling All Boys
When others find out that I homeschool all 5 boys, reactions that I often get are:
- Jaw dropped and silence
- How. Do. You. Do. It. ?
- A ton of questions about how I make sure my boys are getting the education they need
- Do you enjoy torturing yourself? (Yes, I have actually heard this one!)
- You must be so patient!
To be honest, some days I wonder how I do it. And then I remember-lots of coffee that transitions into wine. Chocolate is also a tremendous help 😉
Some days, I've got it all together and our homeschool life runs as smooth as a baby's bottom. Not many of these golden days but I'm a glass half full type of gal!
More days than not, this all-boy homeschool is its own circus.
Xman is our acrobat. He's often found climbing any object and attempting a death-defying leap only to have Mommy rushing in for the rescue.
Bear and Smiley are our little clown act. They never fail to put on a silly show filled with dance and song.
Captain is our ring leader. My micro-manager who barks out directives and makes sure everyone is doing what they should.
So, how do I homeschool boys without losing my mind? I think it's a mix of some of the above observations (patience, constant motion) plus a whole lot of love and creativity.
Also, I admit that I'm always learning during our homeschool adventures. As my boys get older and our homeschool evolves, I find that I'm trying new things and practicing flexibility. Oh, and incorporating fun into our homeschool day whenever possible!
**I just feel that I must add this: I honestly believe that many, if not all, of these tips apply to homeschooling girls, too. Since I don't have a girl, I can't test this theory. However, last time I checked (and my boys have reminded me!), I'm a girl and know that I enjoy learning in these ways too. I'd love to hear from homeschool families with girls if it's true!
Tips to Help You Homeschool Boys & Not Lose Your Mind!
1. Get moving!
Boys tend to be active. Energetic is another positive way to phrase it.
My boys are often bouncing off the walls. I think it is crazy to expect boys (kids for that matter!) to sit for an extended period of time.
I've found it helpful to start our day off with some type of warm-up exercises. Brain breaks are also a great time to pop in some movement. Another fantastic time to burn off energy is at the end of the day.
What types of indoor movements can you include to help your homeschool boys? Here are a few ideas :
- jumping jacks
- head, shoulders, knees, and toes
- Hokey Pokey
- Mother May I?
- Simon Says
- Shake Your Sillies Out!
2. Be Flexible When You Homeschool Boys
In your expectations, that is 😉
Pay attention to your boys' behaviors, reactions, and expressions to determine how they are doing.
If you notice tension, distraction, or frustration, suggest changing up activities. There's always time (either that day or later in the week) to come back to written work. Some ideas include:
- Sit on the floor instead of a chair
- Practice math facts while shooting basketball hoops
- Use their fingers to draw letters in sand
- Make a lapbook instead of writing a report
- Create a song to remember important facts
- Throw a ball while we talk about a subject
- Doodle during read aloud
- Play with Legos or other building toys while listening to music
3. Use Manipulatives
Manipulatives are a great way for boys to use their hands to learn. You can buy manipulatives or get creative and use what you have in your home.
Here's a list of manipulatives that we've used with success:
- pom poms
- toy cars
- toy trains
- bouncy balls
- plastic animals, insects, and dinosaurs
- rocks and sticks
- cotton balls
- snacks (pretzels, animal crackers, grapes, etc.)
- stuffed animals
4. Include Their Interests
I have found that selecting themes that one of my boys is particularly interested in greatly helps to capture their attention.
If they like to play with it, chances are that they will be much more likely to learn when they use it!
For example, Professor is a history buff. I can relate anything to history and it will immediately get him interested. He was struggling with math a bit but once I had him using historical facts and figures, no more fuss! Professor got plastic Civil War figures (like those little army guys) and used them to talk about multiplication (5 groups of 4 Confederate soldiers = 20 Confederate soldiers type of thing).
Bear is our little bug guy. He loves all insects and will sit for hours looking through insect encyclopedias. He uses his plastic insect toys to count, add, and "help him read".
5. Go Outside
Fresh air and movement!
I think this goes along with Get Moving! and Be Flexible! Why not take learning outside?
What are some ways to take the learning outdoors?
- Play hopscotch and count, skip count-or do with sight words!
- Use sidewalk chalk-endless ways to use!
- Play catch while practicing math facts
- Science observation and informal experimentation
- Bring books outside and do a read-aloud
- Art (perfect for any messy projects)
- Squirt guns to draw letters, numbers, measure distance water is shot
- Snowballs: Who can build the biggest one? How tall is it? Creative construction of snow people and forts.
- Water play
- Nature walks
6. Play Games
Boys love to have fun. Use that to your teaching advantage! Each of these could have a ton of subcategories. Look at what your boys are studying and see what's out there to play.
- Outdoors-hide & seek, tag, see #5
- Board games-depends on age but a few ideas are Candyland, Monopoly, checkers, chess, Life
- Cards-think of all the math that is used when playing cards! Black Jack, War, Crazy Eights
- Trivia-my boys love trivia games!! We often grab a deck of Professor Noggins cards and quiz each other during meals.
- I spy
- Charades: Act out books, historical figures, and more.
7. Encourage Teamwork
Encourage boys to work together and work with them. I think this idea works on different levels.
Working as a team helps them learn how to cooperate. Boys learn how to share their ideas and communicate.
8. Have Fun As You Homeschool Boys
Boys can be goofy! Use their sense of humor to make learning fun.
Let them entertain you with puppet shows reenacting mythological tales. Have them design and create the puppets!
Write and direct a play. Give boys the great experience of creating costumes, practicing lines, and applying what they have been learning in a dramatic performance.
Grab a cardboard box and let them go to town! Maybe your boys have been studying Ancient Rome-have them build a chariot! Want a cool math game? Use a box and make a lemonade stand or grocery counter.
Want a smaller scale idea to keep those busy hands, well, busy? Give your boys a shoebox. Help them create a diorama or their own slideshow. Make a precious memory box to store the results of their hard work.
When we started homeschooling, I was pretty uptight. I was so worried about curricula, schedules, checklists. I had to take a step back and realize that my tension was not helping my homeschool boys at all!
When I began to ease up (and drop about 5 of the extras I had build into our homeschool plans), miraculous learning began to happen! My boys would ask me to continue with our read-alouds. We could jump in the car and go to the park for some much-needed physical activity and mental break-and come back more eager to get to work.
Boys will pick up on how you are doing. They're sensitive little creatures (don't let all that talk about rough and tough tumble fool you!) who can tell when you are stressed. If you relax, chances are that your boys will relax, too. And your homeschool experience will be that much more successful!
10. Talk With Them
Sit down and ask your boys what they think will help. You may be surprised at the insight they provide.
My oldest, Captain, was really procrastinating! I let it slide a few days and then asked why he kept putting off starting his homeschool day. He told me that he preferred to do math later in the day and tackle his history and reading first. No big deal! Changed things up and I had much better cooperation. I would have continued to plow on if I hadn't taken the time to ask him what was going on.
Ask your boys what they're interested in studying. Find out how they'd like their schedule to look. Obviously, you are the adult and have final say. But, you giving them a chance to add their 2¢ may be all that it takes.
I'm sure there are many more ways you can homeschool boys without losing your mind. I'd love to hear your experiences and what you've found to work in the comments area below 🙂