Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources
Dr. Mary Kay Clark shares some great ideas for your boys to who don't like to be still during the homeschool day.

Boys Like Active Learning


Dr. Mary Kay Clark shares some great ideas for your boys to who don’t like to be still during the homeschool day.

Many of our calls come from moms who have active boys who don’t want to sit down and do their schoolwork.

Moms—as well as classroom teachers—know that boys don’t like to sit still. Some teachers have even added stationary bicycles and other simple exercise equipment to give boys an opportunity to take a quick minute to get some exercise.

The fact is that most boys need movement while they learn. Studies have shown that babies progress mentally more rapidly if they move around frequently.

Children’s brains work better if the children are moving, if they are physically active at the same time they are studying. This seems to be more important for boys.

Boys like to bounce balls and play with something with their hands or shake a foot while they do their schoolwork or memory work.

My boys would often jump-rope while they memorized their math tables or answered catechism questions.

Sometimes mothers try to restrict this since they don’t see how the boys can learn while doing other activities. If the schoolwork is being done, though, mothers should be open to allowing the student to choose his optimal learning situation.

When I was teaching my boys, I would assign a chore between classes. My boys did not like “after-school” chores.

By three o’clock, they wanted to go outside and play. So I would give them chores that gave them physical activity, such as putting in a load of laundry, sweeping the floor, vacuuming, picking up whatever.

We should remember the need for physical activity when our boys are saying their prayers during the day or at the dinner table.

Why not have the children stand behind their chairs when saying grace before meals, or take a walk while saying the rosary?

Encourage your boys to be altar servers to give them the opportunity to use their natural inclination as active learners to grow more devout in the practice of their Catholic spiritual life.

Boys love serving at the altar as they learn the Mass prayers, and at the same time, they are receiving special graces.

Involve your sons and daughters in not only participating in the Mass with you, but also take them to Baptisms and Confirmations and Weddings.

Because boys learn better by being active learners, we must be sure to have home activities that celebrate the feast days. Religious Customs in the Family is a book by Father Weiser, who writes about the family religious activities which influenced him to become a priest.

For the busy mother, sometimes it is difficult to find the time for active lessons. I found that science projects books and the Mr. Wizard TV shows with home science projects kept my boys busy. (Seton Educational Media sells the Mr. Wizard TV science projects disks.)

The projects were always simple and step by step, using materials found around the house. The Internet provides directions for thousands of free science projects, most categorized by age or grade level.

Let’s be sure to give our boys and girls enough activity to keep them healthy, and use their desire for physical activity to help them learn.

About Dr. Mary Kay Clark

Director of Seton for more than 25 years. Dr. Clark left Mater Dei Academy and began teaching her children at home at seeing firsthand the opportunities and the pitfalls of private schooling. Meet Dr. Clark | See her book
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