Hands on Homeschooling

Hands on homeschooling is a great way to teach children who have special needs. It can be used with children who are visual-spatial learners, have attention disorders, struggle with reading and writing, and are high energy. For your child, the approach does not feel like school.

By "doing" a subject instead of just reading about it your child will remember more. Most children who have learning disabilities are visual or Kinesthetic (hands on) learners.

It has been said that only 10% of what a child reads is retained. 20% of what a child hears he remembers. 30% of what a child sees is retained. If a child sees and hears he will remember 50%. If a child discusses what he is taught he remembers 70%. But, if a child uses his hands he will retain 90%.

When using a hands on approach to learning a child is able to see, smell, hear and feel so they can make a connection. When a child can visualize the concept in his mind the concept becomes real and the child is able to understand.

An Example of Hands on Homeschooling

You can use a hands on approach to incorporate all of the subjects and make a unit study.

A unit stuy on the Oregon Trail:

  • Language arts: Listen or read a story about the Oegon Trail
  • Geography: Make a map.
  • Math: Add up what it will cost to travel to Oregon
  • History: Go to a history museum about the Oregon Trail
  • Other projects: Make a covered wagon, a patchwork quilt or have your children dress up like pioneers and put on a play
The idea of hands on homeschooling is to be involved with the subject that you are learning.

If you do not like the unit study approach you can use hands on homeschooling in each of the separate subjects.


Use Linking Cubes, blocks, or stuffed animals to learn addition and subtraction. Teach multiplication using arrays. Give your child 24 M&M's tell them to arrange the M&M in as many equal ways as possible. Like 1 x 24, 2 x 12, 3 x 8, etc. Use maniplatives to show fractions. Cut an apple in half. Using four paper plates cut one in half, cut another plate in fourths, the third plate cut in eights, leave the last plate whole. Let your child experiment with the plates. How many fourths in one half? How many eights in a fourth?


Use a lot of experiments. Experiment with water, yeast, and mold. Observe bugs and animals. You will need to have your children read science books after your experiments, so they will know why something happened. If you can not observe science first hand watch science videos.


Make a map using clay. Paint the mountains green and the water blue. Draw in the major roads.

History/social studies

For young children role play what it is like to be a police officer, mailman, fireman or doctor. Read or watch a biography about a famous person in history. Reenact a portion of his or her life. Research what it was like in an early American school. Pretend for a day that you are going to that school. Visit a history museum. Try to find one that has reenactments.

Language arts

Use different colored legos to diagram sentences.

A fun way to for your children to learn writing is to use sentence building dominoes. You can read a review at Smart Kid Educational Games.

After reading a book find out about the author. Maybe write the author and tell him you liked his book.

Hands on homeschooling take a little more planning on your part. If you are not using a unit study you will have to think of ways to use manipulative to make learning meaningful. Benjamin Franklin said it all when he said, "Tell me....and I forget, teach me.....and I learn, but involve me.....and I remember."

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