They have boundless energy. (Wish I could bottle some of that up.) They’re enthusiastic. They’re spontaneous. They’re humorous. They’re just downright fun! (Wish I could bottle that up too.)
You can take advantage of those wonderful qualities when helping them learn.
On the flip side, ADHD children also have many challenges to deal with such as learning self-control and increasing their attention span. It is possible to help them improve in these areas. While they may never have the degree of long term focus that some other kids have, they can increase their attention span.
In order to homeschool ADHD children effectively, you have to perform a balancing act. Yep. Just like a tightrope walker. Welcome to the Homeschool Circus.
You need to balance:
1) encouraging them to have self-control
2) making accommodations for their needs and learning styles.
Up for the challenge?
Great! Here are some tips on how to homeschool ADHD children.
ADHD Children Thrive On Positives
You can attract more bees with honey than with vinegar, right? Well, you can get more out of the boisterous bees in your homeschool by using more positives than negatives.
ADHD children love praise and rewards. Applaud their efforts on their school work and they will do a happy dance. Thank them for something that they did and their little hearts will jump for joy. They’ll also be more inclined to do more of any good behavior they are recognized for.
On the other hand, nagging will often result in them shutting down and refusing to work. It’s better to set up specific goals for them to achieve. Then compliment them when they achieve them.
Use Goals and a Timer
Speaking of goals, if you want to expand the attention span of your little flighty flowers, set goals for the length of time they spend on doing school work.
For example, you could set a goal for your rosebuds to work for 15 minutes on math and get at least 10 problems done in order to earn a break. When they get good at that, you can expand the length of time and number of problems.
A timer will help you and your little buds keep track of the time. My personal favorite is the Time Tracker. It has a green light for starting, a yellow light which can be programmed to go on as a warning a few minutes before the time is up, and a red light for the end. It also has several different sounds and voices to alert you. I loved using it with my kids.
All children benefit from taking study breaks. (Adults do too ) ADHD children may need them a little more frequently than other children. The length of time a child can study before needing a break varies. You’ll just have to kind of feel them out to see when they are in need of a breather.
Make It Fun
As I said before, ADHD children are fun! They love fun-oriented learning. Try making a game out of learning something. Create a puzzle. Buy educational games like Quick Pix. Do what you can to make learning something fun and it will stick better in the minds of your kids.
ADHD has been tied to some food allergies. Wheat, dairy, and artificial food coloring have been found to make it difficult for these kids to focus. You might want to check to see if dropping any of these foods from your child’s diet is helpful.
Some kids benefit from having coffee on a daily basis. Stimulants like caffeine tend to calm down children with ADHD.
Make the Curriculum Fit the Child
One of the blessings of homeschooling is that you have flexibility with the curriculum you choose or create. You can make it fit the learning needs of your kids. You can shorten assignments. You can have oral discussions instead of just written work. You can let your feisty flowers type their papers instead of writing them. (This is really good for ADHD children) You can use more kinesthetic activities and games such as the Math Mat. Homeschooling enables you to really mold your lessons around the learning styles of your tadpoles. Take advantage of that.
Give Them Something to Play With While Studying
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I must be crazy to recommend that your child play with a toy while doing his school work.
That’s okay. I don’t mind.
Now let me explain myself. Sometimes these kids need something to keep their hands busy while they are working. It helps them to focus. I know it seems odd, but for some kids it really works.
The best kind of toy for this is Silly Putty. It gives them something tactile to manipulate with one hand while reading or writing with the other. Plus it doesn’t dry out like some other clay products do.
You will have to share some ground rules with your child on using it while studying so that it doesn’t end up stick on computer keyboards or squished inside of text books. Just a thought.
Let Them Stand While Studying
Did you know that some famous people like Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Jefferson worked while standing? It’s true. They used standing desks.
I’m standing at my computer as I type this post. I love it. It helps me think better. I’m not famous though. And I don’t have ADHD.
But back to your child.
Standing increases blood flow to the brain. It’s also a good way for your child to expend some of his energies.
And would you believe that some children actually like to stand while studying? Yep. It’s true.
Of course your child doesn’t have to stand all day. But part of his study time can be spent on his feet. Experiment to see what works best.
Let Them Sit on an Exercise Ball
When your child does sit to work, you might try letting him use an exercise ball for a chair. It will help him to discharge some of his vast amounts of energy. It’s good for developing core muscles. It encourages good posture. It’s been found to helps kid stay focused. In fact, you might try the exercise ball with all of your children to see if there is an improvement in their work.
Those are my tips for how to homeschool ADHD children. You can learn more about the tools I recommended by clicking on their pictures. Have a great homeschool year!