Move the Body, Awaken the Mind

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Reposting an old blog post. I came across this article the other day about why kids fidget in school. According to the writer, studies show that kids who were given time for physical activities were more receptive in class and had their brains “awaken” by the freedom to move. Then, I remembered I had written a similar post way back on how a simple scooter experiment changed my son’s mood for learning. 

To say that our third year of homeschooling is challenging, is surely an understatement. Coby, who is now 8 years old, is still excited but not about school anymore. He is excited to use the computer and play his heart out doing construction games. He is so eager to watch his favorite cartoon shows on T.V.  Sadly, for this third year, I have to compete with these insidious modes of technology.

I find it difficult to “talk about” the lessons with him now because he seems distracted most of the time. Although, these distractions can be good sometimes when he recalls movies or events that is related to the topic. Like when we were talking about MOTION in Science, he would interrupt me and get his matchbox cars to show me that the cars’s position changed because they were in motion. But most of the time, these interruptions are not helpful at all, quite annoying in fact, for the teacher-mom.

His heart has been in the wrong place too, lately. He just seems disinterested and his eagerness to learn is dwindling resulting in the increase of  my emotional outbursts. Because of this, we find each other crying and asking for forgiveness again and again.

Imagine my frustration every time we do school. My student is disinterested, distracted and just have no energy to work at all. Quitting, again, is the quickest solution for me.  I just can’t take it anymore. I have asked other homeschooling moms for tips on how to handle my predicament, which they say is common to all homeschoolers, but the advice just didn’t work with him.

I read from one homeschooling blog that we cannot confine our boys to textbooks and sitting for a long time. They need to move around. They need to burn those tons of energy stored inside their small bodies. The writer suggests allowing these active kids to run around the house and do jumping jacks. One time, I asked Coby to do jumping jacks, he said he cannot do it and reminded me that he does not exercise.

Coby is not a sports person. He does not enjoy any sports activity at all. We tried soccer, swimming and even jogging but he is just not that into sports. Although, he loves to ride his bike and scooter.

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But this morning, I secretly tried something new with him. He woke up early and had his breakfast. Since it was still early to start school and I have not yet completed my morning chores, I asked him to do some physical activity. Since he was riding his scooter inside the house, I asked him to take it outside and just ride it, without him knowing that he was already exercising. He did about 15 to 20 minutes of “scootering” and was huffing and puffing when done.

He said he was tired and wanted to rest first before school. I agreed with him and allowed him relax for a while. He took his bath and was ready for school. We completed all that we needed to for the day and an added bonus was Mama did not get angry! Yahoo! Coby was “pumped up” to work. He completed his work with minimal complaints. I would like to attribute that to the scooter ride. When his body moved, his brain was awakened so to speak. His sleepy mind came to work and it worked well, alright.

A new ritual is now part of our homeschooling day. I am praying that this would really work. I am hoping the effect would not be temporary as he surely enjoys riding his scooter or his bike. Next time, I will let him ride the bike, which would give him more energy, I hope.