The list of what Wikipedia can’t tell you about ADHD homeschooling is lengthy. Of course, that’s because Wikipedia doesn’t even have a page about ADHD homeschooling. Even if it did, there’s a few things that probably wouldn’t be included.
Here’s what I think the nonexistent Wikipedia page about ADHD homeschooling wouldn’t be able to tell you:
- It’s easier than public school. Public school, in order to run smoothly and be effective, requires comportment. It requires students to be quiet, to pay attention, to sit still, to not distract nor be distracted – all things that, as we know all too well, kids with ADHD struggle with. At home, we can give our children more flexibility. We can change the way we teach to allow them to move, we can create lessons that allow them to talk or make noise, and we can take breaks when we can see that they are distracted and not able to pay attention. This makes their education easier, both on us (no more calls from the school) and them.
- It’s also harder than public school. Yeah, I know. Contradiction. Sorry about that. But it’s true. While it is easier because of the flexibility, it’s also harder because everything’s on us. We have to figure out what learning style they have so we can figure out what teaching method we need to use. We have to decide on a curriculum, and do all the lesson plans, all the teaching, all the grading. There’s no homework, but there’s also no ability to rely on someone else to do all the hard stuff while you just help out a little here and there.
- You might not need to use the meds anymore (or at all). If you’ve put your child
on medication for their ADHD at the school’s prompting, or if they’re prompting and your resistance is wearing thin, homeschooling might allow you to avoid or stop the meds. This is not always the case, and should not be done without consulting with the child’s doctor, but it can happen. It happened for my sons,and I know plenty of other people who’ve found their child didn’t need meds once they came home. It is important to keep in mind that much of this is due to our ability to allow more physical activity and breaks in the school day, so if you intend to essentially recreate school at home, with limited physical activity and few to no breaks, then you may not be able to eliminate the meds.
- Your child might learn much faster than you anticipated. With or without meds, you may discover that poor grades or other struggles your child had in public school quickly disappear. With the tailored, one-on-one focus your child will get from you, you will often see that your child not only begins to pick up on things faster, but they will understand them more fully and remember them better/longer.
- But you might have to go backward before you go forward. Yep, I’m going to contradict myself again. You might realize that your child’s teachers have passed him on without the foundation he needs in some (or even many) areas. So you might end up with a 5th grader doing 2nd grade math as you attempt to give him that foundation he needs so that the later math makes more sense. This is not necessarily the horrible thing you might initially think it is. Aside from the fact that it will benefit him later (again, building that foundation is hugely helpful), you’ll also likely find that since it is stuff he’s been exposed to before, he should learn it fairly quickly.
- Doctor visits are no longer a big deal. I don’t know about you, but my kids had to see the doctor every 3 months, and when we switched doctors, it became once a month. And, of course, those visits always had to be scheduled during school hours, never after. So aside from the trouble learning due to the ADHD, they were missing at least two hours for each appointment. With homeschooling, you actually never have to worry about this again. Yes, if your child is still on meds, you’ll still need to see the doctor. But you can either take school with you or rearrange your day to work around the appointment. No more missed school!
- More sleep, better nutrition, overall better health. When my kids were in public school, I had to get them up by about 6am to have enough time to fully wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, etc. and still get to school on time at 7:45 – and I drove them! That wasn’t even riding the bus. They’d get out of school around 2, but by the time we got home, did homework, played outside (a requirement since PE was only once or twice a week), ate dinner, and took baths, they never got to bed before 9 – and usually stayed awake until 10 because they were still pretty wired. They were always exhausted. Lunch had to be something they didn’t have to refrigerate, which limits the options, and breakfast had to be fast and easy, which often meant cereal. Once we started homeschooling, though, all that changed. I can prepare all our meals when we’re ready to eat, and there’s no rush to finish them. My kids are able to sleep until they wake naturally, which isn’t too late, anyway. They go to bed at 9 still, but because they get outside every day for at least 2-3 hours, they’re ready to sleep. All of this leads to better overall health, both in relation to their ADHD and just in general. It’s a major win, in my book.
Making the decision to homeschool when your child has ADHD is easy for some, and more difficult for others. The things I listed above might make it a little easier for you, or they might not help much at all.
What else have you, as a homeschooling parent of a child with ADHD, discovered about ADHD homeschooling?