“Mama, do you hear the birds singing?” “Can you feel the cool breeze as it comes through the window?” Obviously, homeschooling with the window open will not work as there are too many distractions for my son who has a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). When we first started homeschooling, it was difficult as I learned what would distract my child and what would help him stay focused and on task. For example, my son cannot have more than one pencil in front of him when writing as he will begin to use his imagination and have two pencils sword fighting or talking to one another in the blink of an eye. Contrastingly, when listening to audiobooks or lessons being read, my son stays better focused if he has a worksheet to color or notes to take. Each child is different. For example, I have a friend whose daughter has to dance while doing her spelling words or she loses her train of thought. It will likely require trial and error to find what will work best for you and your child. The longer we homeschool, the more I realize we don’t have to fit into a certain mold. As long as my son is learning, growing, and thriving, then we are successful in our homeschool journey.
As the parent of a child with a diagnosis of ADHD, I know how frustrating it can be to have to repeat your instructions for the third time because you lost your child’s attention by about the fourth word in your sentence. Honestly, some days I have patience and can wait through his myriad questions and interruptions. Other days, I feel like I could scream because I’ve already repeated myself too many times and would like to finish one task without interruption. On the days I want to scream, I pray for God’s peace over both of us. Then, I give us both a short break to regroup before we try to work on lessons again. On the really difficult days, I will change the subject to something I know will keep his interest or a preferred activity. This way, we still accomplish lessons for the day while neither of us ends up miserable. One of the blessings of homeschooling is the ability to be flexible.
One pointer I can share with you from my own expertise is to limit your child’s intake of foods and drinks with sugars, food dyes, and caffeine as these tend to increase hyperactivity. Limit the number of distractions (visual, auditory, olfactory, and tactile) in your child’s work area. Ensure that your child gets a proper night’s rest and is well fed before beginning lessons for the day as these can influence focus. Another pointer I can share from my own experience is to give your child frequent, short breaks throughout your day. This will allow them to focus better while working on lessons. Finally, I would encourage you to seek other parents who are raising children with diagnoses of ADHD and with whom you can talk and share ideas. Support from others truly does help one to keep their sanity.
Please remember that your homeschooling journey is your own. You and your children do not have to fit into any predetermined molds. See what works best for your child and you through trial and error. Happy homeschooling journey fellow travelers!
Kelly Kiggins-Lund @ God’s Writer Girl