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Let’s talk about reasons to homeschool a child with ADHD. Many parents of children who’ve been diagnosed with ADHD wonder if they should homeschool their children. If you are the parent of a child with ADHD, you may wonder if you even could homeschool your ADHD child because of behavior issues, learning difficulties, etc. Maybe you think that you should leave the job to an expert–someone who’s been trained to work with special needs children.
All of these thoughts ran through my mind when my fist child began having difficulty in a public school setting. I never planned on homeschooling, but the trouble he was having made me explore homeschooling as an option.
He was very special. He had a heart of gold, but saw the world his own way. It didn’t take long for my husband and me to start hearing about problems from the teachers because he wasn’t conforming to their standard. Of course, I felt horrible. I could see he needed extra discipline and that the current mold we have for public education just wasn’t working for him.
So I researched and started considering homeschooling. I wanted what was best for my child. I knew I could adjust my expectations, schedule, and curriculum around my son’s needs, so I decided to do it.
There are many reasons more than these to homeschool an ADHD kid. And perhaps there is someone out there who is ADHD to whom these thoughts don’t really apply…I can reason that. But over the three or four years that I became sold on homeschooling my ADHD kid I have found them to be true in my experience. If you’re having trouble taking the leap, my homeschool success story may be an enouragement to you. In addition, perhaps the reasons below will help you to make the decision.
Reasons to Homeschool Your ADHD Child
1. Your time shows your child that you care.*
(*DISCLAIMER-This does not mean I think people who don’t choose to homeschool an ADHD kid can’t show their child how much they love him/her. For some ADHD kids it may not be possible to homeschool. Ultimately YOU know what is best for YOUR child.)
2. It ensures that your child will not fall through the cracks.
Homeschooling enables you to concentrate on what your child needs. You will be there to make sure your child is learning and not missing out because of a short attention span or because of being distracted. While all students get distracted or don’t pay attention now and then, if it happens constantly, your child will miss out on information that is necessary for learning to read, understanding important math concepts, and so on. When you homeschool, you can adjust your pace and work toward success since you don’t have to teach 22 other kids or use a curriculum that’s all wrong for your child.
3. You can design learning goals and curriculum to match your child’s needs and interests.
You can pick topics your child loves and would be interested in learning about. Then set goals for what you want him or her to learn as far as skills and information go. It’s easier for an ADHD child (or any child, really) to learn when the topic is of particular interest.
If you can’t find a certain topic that your child just loves, or if you simply have to study something that he or she isn’t very interested in, it may help to let your child be part of the planning process. You might be able to give him or her choices of topics to learn about or even choices about what order you have class that day (which subject you do first, second, etc.). These kinds of choices can help children feel more empowered. And they can help ease frustration and that feeling of lack of control. Of course these choices won’t magically cause your child to be completely compliant and eager to work, but they can help.
4. You can train your child’s mind over time in the appropriate way.
What I mean is that it takes a long time for ADHD children to develop skills for learning, especially about things they aren’t particularly interested in. But as part of your homeschool time, you can help your child develop the needed skills. You can work daily with your child to build his or her ability to do things such as study, take tests, write essays, remember math facts and processes, and so on. When you homeschool, you can take the time to work on the specific skills your child needs to develop. In school, the teacher just can’t stop and spend that much time working with one individual child.
5. Your child won’t be singled out or labeled as different.
This is another huge benefit! Your child won’t be labeled. It is an unfortunate reality that, in schools, children must be labeled and diagnosed in order to receive extra services they may need. They are also often taken out of class or required to attend special classes in order to get more personal instruction (if they can receive it at all) when necessary.
Though I understand that these things are done in an attempt to help, it is still wrong. Kids can be mean sometimes. Feeling unaccepted by peers is hard on kids. Being singled out among siblings is not the same. ALL of our children will likely receive some one-on-one time with us at home when we homeschool.
In fact, had I homeschooled from the beginning, I’m not sure I ever would have heard about ADHD. I would have just accepted my child’s learning style, adapted for it, and that would have been all that was needed.
6. You and your child set the pace.
This is good for all kids. But for the ADHD child, it’s especially good. You can decide how much time to give each subject, curriculum, project, problem, or assignment. You can take into account your child’s needs, strengths, and weaknesses and plan accordingly. And you can change plans as needed too!
7. You can enhance your child’s learning experience.
Most ADHD kids are gifted in some way. Most are very intelligent. They may be different or even be slower than other students in some ways, but in other ways, they soar to great heights!
My son was very gifted in imagination and creativity. He is a wonderful writer now because of that. He had a great ear and learned to play the piano by ear though he had never been taught and reads no music. In fact he can figure out how to play songs just by hearing them. He learned to play the guitar in just a few months using only a few chords to begin with. We were able to emphasize his art, music, and creativity while still reinforcing the basics.
8. You can choose whether or not to use medication.
It is my opinion that schools prefer for us to medicate our children because they are easier to manage that way. Even when my child was getting good grades, they pushed me to medicate him because “it took him too long to get his work done.” I recognize that some children require medication, and that’s ok. We parents have to make a decision about this according to the needs of each particular child. I believe that, when used correctly, medication is good and helpful. However, I don’t think schools should push us to medicate our children if we don’t feel like that’s what’s best.
When we homeschool, it’s easier to make adaptations to help our children be successful without medication if possible. For example, some children respond very well to changes in diet, to getting plenty of exercise, and to behavior modification techniques.
9. You can apply “out of the box” methods that help your child learn.
There are so many things you can do to help your child learn, keep his or her attention, and keep him/her interested. You can have your child take oral quizzes while doing jumping jacks, practice math facts while tossing a ball back and forth, listen to you read aloud while he or she jumps on the trampoline, or write spelling words in shaving cream or outside with sidewalk chalk. These are just a few ideas that may help your child learn and remember better!
10. Prayer is allowed.
This is my favorite reason. Without prayer, I am not sure I would have lasted as a homeschooler, and certainly not as one with a special needs child. God is my strength and my encourager. He is always with me. You can incorporate prayer into your homeschool. You can teach your child that God will be his or her strength. ADHD doesn’t really go away, though it often improves with maturity. But just as you will train your child to use methods to help him or her to cope with ADHD throughout life, you can teach your child that prayer will also help.