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Old 07-02-2016, 10:15 PM   #1
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Homeschooling ADHD children

I am just looking to chat with some moms who have experience homeschooling hyperactive, unfocused children.

I have gotten a sensory pillow for her to sit on and that helped a little while, but only to keep her in her chair - it wasn't overly effective to help her with focus. Most subjects are not an issue because she loves to sit and read, but when it's time to write - a simple 3 sentence writing can literally take an hour and I'm constantly having to refocus her.

I worry because she doesn't do well sitting pretty much anywhere. Luckily her Awana teacher this past year had a lot of experience with young children and finally decided to keep a small group (including my child) of them behind during the big lesson time to do a smaller group lesson. but I worry that as time goes on, she's just not going to know how to sit and focus in a group.

and I worry that homeschooling - while better for her overall - is going to take away opportunities to learn appropriate behavior in group settings.

We have noticed that she does not take many social cues from what's happening around her. Everyone being quiet does not at all give her the idea that she should do the same - peer pressure has no affect on her.

Anyways. I worry. I worry that homeschool isn't giving her enough opportunities to learn these skills.

I've read many many blogs on why homeschooling children with these needs is best for everyone - but want to hear personal wisdom.

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Old 07-02-2016, 10:52 PM   #2
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Re: Homeschooling ADHD children

Both of my boys have special needs. My oldest is ASD, ADHD, GAD, SPD, and really I could probably go on for quite a while listing. My youngest is Bipolar, ODD, and arguably ADD (I think it is the bipolar). He wiggles, bounces, fidgets, and will not listen if he is not interested. I homeschool both of my boys. A couple of things that I do, make sure he has plenty of physical activity, give him breaks when he is fidgety, remember it is normal for kids to not be able to sit and focus for extended periods of time at a young age, allow him to develop at his own pace, and plan our school so it works for my kids. Both of my kids have slightly different needs, my oldest is fidgety and looses focus but would rather just "wander in his own head" than go run or move around the room. I let him do what he needs to do, even if that means he stares at the wall for a good chunk of the day. Holding his dog while he works helps him, she helps remind him to get back on task. He is also 14 and is starting to get his stuff together. Having lists and planners helps him. My youngest is 10, standing up, pacing, fidgeting, all help him keep on task. He plays roller derby and I ensure that he skates at least twice a week. His school day needs broken up into hands on and movement based activities or he loses interest quickly. He can follow directions, but he needs to A) respect the person and B) be interested. He will never be the child that sits quietly and listens but if he is skating in a circle he hears everything and can repeat it. He knows more about roller derby than most top tier adult skaters, he knows all of the rules and penalties. That isn't to say that he doesn't act out at practices sometimes.
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Old 07-02-2016, 11:00 PM   #3
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Re: Homeschooling ADHD children

thank you for your response - sounds like you have a bigger task ahead of you than I do.

I like the list idea - perhaps that will help her see what she needs to get done in a day.
Another mom had given me a timer idea - get done what gets done before the timer goes off and when it's done, it's done for the day.

I worry that she'll just stress and stare at the timer.. or that, alternatively, she'll decide to just wait out the timer on things she doesn't enjoy.

I'm struggling with knowing when it's time to tell her that it's school time and when to be like 'well, I think we need a break'. I try to only have her do one school thing between breaks and we get gross motor exercise as often as possible.

but it is difficult knowing when the answer is increased discipline and when the answer is grace.
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Old 07-03-2016, 12:10 AM   #4
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Re: Homeschooling ADHD children

You daughter is still very young. (I have a March 2010 child) writing out three even short sentences is still a lot at this age. Honestly my not ADHD child wasn't really ready for much of any kind of formal schooling until she actually turned six. We then basically flew through a full years curricula in less than none semester.
Now realizing mine isn't ADD but is still a full of energy young six we tend to find an overal stricter school routine works best for us.
She knows that school is from 9am-12pm.. That means anyone visiting (common in the summer months) goes home come 9am.. She knows we may or may not actually work those 3 hours but she is expected to give her cooperation.
We also work in similar order.. Handwriting is ALWAYS first. Its the one thing I require she sit feet on ground proper posture etc the work. Lessons are short ones that could be finished in less than 5 minutes when it comes to writing... But I figure closer to 15-20 with focusing issues common for the age.

We do Handwriting/Phonics Reading and a rotating subject (usually art or Science) then she get a 30 minute "recess" and I provide a snack.
After we come back and do Math/Religion/ and then rotate Social studies and project work. We work about 20 minutes per lesson and I try really hard not to go over 30 even if she is into something.

Her seeing a to do list helps, her knowing the routine of order and how long we work helps.
IF I see she is getting wiggly then we get up and stretch or do some jumping jacks or I send her to jump on the trampoline for 1 minute.... etc but just enough to work out some wiggles not enough to derail us. (something I know may or may not work for an ADHD child)

If I see her pulling attitude as in flat out refusing to work talking back etc then she can go sit on the floor in our hallway or in her room (timeout basically) until she is ready to listen. I wont drag the school day past noon but a poor attitude than causes enough disruption we derail our schedule means a loss of afternoon privileges, such as TV time, going to the Pool, playing with friends etc.. I totally understand fussing happens and kids have melt downs at times. So if she needs to go sit it out for 5-10 minutes get out some frustration and then compose her self enough to work well then we just move on.
Were very careful to make sure we catch the good as well of course.
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Old 07-03-2016, 12:29 AM   #5
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Re: Homeschooling ADHD children

thank you - that's very helpful as well

I think a list is maybe a must for this next year. and perhaps a time limit for the day.
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Old 07-03-2016, 07:41 AM   #6
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Re: Homeschooling ADHD children

One of the things we found that helped was to not overload with subjects. At your daughter's age, all we did was phonics, basic math, and handwriting. We chose a hands-on math program and a phonics program that works with multiple learning styles (has music, a workbook, games). School took no more than an hour tops, and if she just could not focus, we would take a quick break, do something active, and come back.

Sometimes I would write the work and she would tell me what to write. That way, I knew she understood it, but she didn't have to write. Also, for my daughter, giving her some control over her day made a big difference. I would seek her input on curriculum, and when we would sit down to do schoolwork, I would give her a choice on what got done first.

I will also point out that a lot of her issues are quite possibly just due to her age. No, I'm not a doctor, but I do have a child that was diagnosed at an early age with ADHD. If she had been tested at 10, instead of 5, I highly doubt she would've been diagnosed. There are a few things that we have found affect her behavior negatively, but those are easy to limit. A lot of her issues resolved themselved as she got older. She's now almost 16 and will be a junior in high school this fall. She's a leader in her youth group, writes for fun, and is all around just a great kid. My other daughter was very similar when she was younger (not quite as active, but quite close), and I had people that had worked with children in education for decades telling me she had ADHD, but she doesn't. She just needed more time to mature and be able to focus. I say this not to make you doubt your doctor or to say that ADHD doesn't exist, but to help you be aware that a lot of the issues she struggling with will quite possibly resolve themselves as she matures.

Oh, and a lot of people assume that ADHD children need hands-on activities, but don't assume that hands-on is how your daughter learns best. My oldest does well with hands-on in many things, yes, but she is also a very visual person. So long as she had plenty of opportunity to burn off excess energy, she didn't need, or necessarily prefer, hands-on schooling.
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Old 07-03-2016, 02:28 PM   #7
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Re: Homeschooling ADHD children

No official diagnosis with my son. Just strong suspicion. Anyway, what works best for my now 13 year old son is frequent breaks. Fill with activity. Short and sweet. No timer. That doesn't work for my son. Then constant redirection.

At 6 my son could not have written 3 sentences. Going to be honest, at 6 I highly doubt I could have written 3 sentences and I am not adhd.

As for whether or not homeschooling is best for your daughter, I don't know. I do know my son was not only miserable in public school, he was failing spectacularly.
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Old 07-04-2016, 02:11 AM   #8
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Re: Homeschooling ADHD children

thanks - all good things to consider
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Old 07-30-2016, 09:59 AM   #9
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Re: Homeschooling ADHD children

I have ADHD, DH has ADHD, and three of the 6 kids do. It's important to keep in mind that people with ADHD have an interest-based neurology. In order to engage and learn, they must be interested in what they are learning about. This is true for everyone really, but it's essential for success for someone with ADHD. In fact, people with ADHD tend to hyperfocus on things that interest them and there is no distracting them from it. That can be our greatest strength when harnessed in positive directions!

For this reason, our greatest success has been in using an interest led, unschooling approach. Hands on experiences, lots of time in nature and green spaces (so nourishing for an ADHD brain). Learning to read comes through reading interesting books together. Math happens naturally as we play, go shopping, play with blocks. We allow educational TV and apps, mostly PBS. As they get older they watch documentaries and YouTube videos on topics of interest. Most ADHD people are highly visual so technology can play supportive role in learning...it can also become an unhealthy hyperfocus so we do limit it. Too much screen time leads to overstimulated negative behavior here so that is another thing to watch out for. We all follow an ADHD diet that for the most part prevents out of control behavior. My 7 and 15 year old are very sensitive to food induced hyperactivity!
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Old 08-03-2016, 10:52 PM   #10
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Re: Homeschooling ADHD children

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlissfullMom888 View Post
I have ADHD, DH has ADHD, and three of the 6 kids do. It's important to keep in mind that people with ADHD have an interest-based neurology. In order to engage and learn, they must be interested in what they are learning about. This is true for everyone really, but it's essential for success for someone with ADHD. In fact, people with ADHD tend to hyperfocus on things that interest them and there is no distracting them from it. That can be our greatest strength when harnessed in positive directions!

For this reason, our greatest success has been in using an interest led, unschooling approach. Hands on experiences, lots of time in nature and green spaces (so nourishing for an ADHD brain). Learning to read comes through reading interesting books together. Math happens naturally as we play, go shopping, play with blocks. We allow educational TV and apps, mostly PBS. As they get older they watch documentaries and YouTube videos on topics of interest. Most ADHD people are highly visual so technology can play supportive role in learning...it can also become an unhealthy hyperfocus so we do limit it. Too much screen time leads to overstimulated negative behavior here so that is another thing to watch out for. We all follow an ADHD diet that for the most part prevents out of control behavior. My 7 and 15 year old are very sensitive to food induced hyperactivity!
I would love to hear more about your approach. My son unarguably has ADHD. He has been in a wonderful Montessori school for the past couple of years but we aren't sure if we can afford it going forward. If not, we'll be homeschooling. But his (also ADHD) father has to do the schooling while I work (love my career). He already reads years ahead of his age & understands add/subtract. How much screen time do you allow? We also get negative behavior with too much.
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