There have been multiple instances where the traditional school approach has failed children with ADHD, leaving parents to scratch their heads in frustration. There is always a hungry search for the perfect schooling alternative that works for your child, but it doesn’t always lead to a good match. This leads to transferring schools, registering your child in special-needs class, or worse – letting go of education. But, there is no need to fret; many studies have shown that homeschooling a child with ADHD is very effective and benefitting to the student.
First and foremost, what is ADHD? In short, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral disorder distinguished by a persistent pattern of inattention and impulsivity. It affects people of all ages, but it is the most commonly diagnosed disorder in children (in boys more than girls). In fact, according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 11% of children (ages 4 to 17) have been diagnosed with ADHD. “For kids, ADHD can interfere with their school work, their relationships with other people, and how they view themselves in the world,” Kathleen Smith, PhD, LPC says.
Here are some of the symptoms of ADHD found in children:
Extreme hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity
Interrupting and butting into conversations or games
Difficult in following instructions that require planning
Conventional Schooling for Kids with ADHD
Traditional education for children with ADHD has been a hot topic between parents, educators, and professors of psychology. According to research, alternative schooling such as “unschooling” or homeschooling has been proven to be more effective than conventional schooling. This is because conventional education keeps students sitting in seats for a long period of time while listening to a lecture, which requires focus and attention — skills that individuals with ADHD evidently lack. These diagnostic symptoms are often pointed out by teachers or school counselors, implying to parents that their child may have ADHD.
According to multiple studies, some parents have made their children start medication just to succeed in school and comply with the school’s standards, be it through behavior or academic excellence. However, parents who have homeschooled their children said that they learned well without any sort of medication, while some mentioned that they were medicated previously only when they were traditional school students. Majority of the parents who have children diagnosed with ADHD commented that their kids also learned well as long as they had charge over their own education or learning. This is not offered by conventional schools, which follow strict and organized systems that all students have to follow.
Advantages of Homeschooling
Expanding off the previous topic on conventional schooling, here are the following advantages and benefits of homeschooling a child with ADHD:
Again, there is no need to have your child take medications once he/she starts “unschooling.” With this, he/she can avoid harmful side-effects such as:
Moodiness and irritability
“ADHD-diagnosed kids seem to do especially well when they are allowed to take charge of their own education,” Peter Gray Ph.D. wrote. Parents are free to choose any form of education that suits their child’s abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.
It does not only create a stress-free curriculum for your child, it will also ease off the pressure of getting caught up in parent-teacher conferences and diminish the feelings of anxiousness caused by not knowing what your child is doing in school
No problems on catching deadlines and paying for high tuitions. But Andrew Adesman, MD reminds that, “Homeschooling, I would suggest, is not for the faint of heart.” He adds, “It requires a fairly substantial commitment on the part of the parent. Even in households with the best of intentions, it may not adequately or fully meet the needs of kids with ADHD.”
Tips in Homeschooling a Child with ADHD
When you finally decide to homeschool your child, there are a number of tips that parents need to remember:
- Understand your child
Every child has his/her own learning style. Does he/she learn better through hands-on activities or presentations that require visuals and images?
Some children need to be called or drawn out rather than volunteering themselves
It is also good to know if your child works better in a group or independently
List their needs such as the environment they need to stay in or if they need step-by-step instructions to execute a certain activity
2. There is no need to follow the traditional school’s techniques in teaching
When homeschooling your child, you are free to create a curriculum that suits their needs. For example, if you are explaining the concept of oxygen (O2), you can either present it using colorful markers or even use educational jingles, instead of the traditional “open the book and read” or “write down what’s on the board.”
3. Take your time
It is okay if your child is taking time to process everything. One child may learn years of science in just months while another may be the opposite.
The important thing is that however long your child may take to grasp a lesson, it is better for them to learn than to take time forgetting it.