Homeschooling ADHD kids is possible. It isn’t always easy, but I’ve discovered simple ways to homeschool a child struggling with ADHD with joy and love.
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My daughter is lovely, creative, quirky, intelligent, with a GIANT heart for others, but she also struggles with ADHD. Being an energetic kid is normal; however, as she reached school age, we knew attention issues were affecting her ability to learn and became a large part of our decision to homeschool.
I craft her school days around all her educational needs and abilities, including ADHD.
My first tip for homeschooling ADHD kids is managing expectations.
Dealing with my own expectations and frustrations he hardest part of homeschooling my daughter. My mental picture was shattered by the reality of homeschooling through the mental noise of ADHD.
My mental picture of homeschooling was shattered by the reality & ADHD. I had to adjust my expectations. Click To Tweet
Instead of quickly finishing, she would stare and doodle, spending hours on something that should have taken minutes. She needs lots of my attention, shorter lessons, and frequent activity breaks. However, once I had realistic expectations for our school day, I was able to stop getting frustrated and enjoy our unique journey.
My second tip is control the controllable!
While embracing the freedom homeschooling allows, I learned (the hard way) that having a fairly predictable routine is crucial. Structure and routine help her mentally prepare for the next activity without an emotional outburst.
Healthy habits matter. When she is running low on energy, her attention span is more challenging to manage. Having a regular sleep schedule has made a huge difference. We can have some flexibility with the hours we chose, but we try to keep close to the same time everyday.
I also manage her diet quite a bit. I’ve not gone full-crunchy mama, but we have high protein, low refined sugar, and complex carbs for meal times. Fruit, nuts, cheeses are great quick snacks. The right fuel makes all the difference.
My third tip is behavioral interventions.
Most children have an attention span that lasts 10-20 minutes, at best. My daughter’s was often less than 5. I had to find ways to help her make the most out of her educational time. I . . .
- Chose a quiet place with minimal distractions for her work space and mindfully structured our daily schedule around when she is most productive.
- Use coloring, mazes, word searches, and handwriting tasks to help her settle for more focus intense lessons.
- Keep lessons short with frequent breaks for physical play or exercise.
- Alternate learning methods between workbooks, videos, and computers (but limit fast-paced screen time with quickly changing images which may actually make attention issues worse)
- Use hands on activities & play to combine learning with sensory experiences.
My fourth tip for homeschooling ADHD kids is finding useful tools like the Revibe.
Eventually, the behavioral strategies at my disposal weren’t enough. She should be able to independently complete a developmentally appropriate worksheet in less than an hour without arguments or tears.
But she couldn’t.
If I sat with her, she could work, but the minute I let her work independently, she was daydreaming, playing with her pencil, doodling.
It was excruciating for both of us. My entire day was just managing her attention span.
When the Revibe vibrates, the wearer is supposed to mentally assess if she is on task. If not, quickly get back to work.
After researching the science behind the Revibe, I was really interested to see if this would work for us. I did receive a sample product in exchange for this objective review. But the opinions are genuinely from our experiences using the Revibe.
We began using it during meal time. She normally got so distracted that dinner took forever and often felt like a battle. The very first night, gentle vibrations helped her to remember to eat every few minutes. Dinner was stress free for the first time in a long time.
We began using it daily during school. She had to learn to respond to the vibrations and remind herself to get back to work, which took a little practice, but overall, it made a difference right out of the box.
The REVIBE teaches kids to monitor themselves.
What I love about the Revibe – It teaches her self-regulation. She has to respond to the vibrations and monitor her own behavior. I get to let her be more independent. The vibrations even change patterns so her mind won’t begin to ignore them.
The homework setting lasts for 15 minutes, reminding us both when it’s time for an exercise or play break.
It is whisper quiet and discreet, so any traditionally schooled kids won’t have to explain it if they’re sensitive about having ADHD.
The Revibe is definitely part of our homeschool. I highly recommend it for anyone homeschooling ADHD kids.
We also make use of a timer app, KazuTime that has barking pups which help her mentally keep track of her time. She is awarded stars for finishing before the timer ends. Using a timer helps drive her desire to focus.
Between the Revibe and KazuTime, we have some really great tools to help her focus.
My last tip is to be willing to consider all options.
While special needs may be part of your reasoning behind homeschooling, special programs or specially trained teachers at a traditional school might be best for your child and family.
Medication is often a last resort for parents, but might be part of a solution for your child. We found that we needed ALL these interventions and medication, but made such a huge difference for our family.
In the end, you have to find what works for your family, but these tips and tools can bring love and joy back to homeschooling ADHD kids.
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