Homeschooling ADHD and dyslexia is just another way of saying that my kids are highly active, easily distracted learners. And while worksheets often seem like a time-saver, by the end of the struggle it has rarely saved us any time. Which means, I need to be constantly thinking of hands-on ways to tackle learning. Or, I put their ADHD creativity to good use and allow them to come up with the solutions for me. The result — over 100 hands-on ways to homeschool!
Just because a child is a “hands-on” learner, doesn’t necessarily mean he likes all the same hands-on options. One of my kids loves drawing and drama, another child loves songs and puppet shows, while the other loves crafts and cutting and 3-d Models. So I’ve organized these ideas by interest, that way you can quickly scroll down to the type of “hands-on” that your child enjoys.
100 Hands-on Ways to Homeschool
Draw picture and caption comic strips for history.
Draw picture and caption comic strips for reading comprehension and story plots.
Use a light table to trace famous artist pictures.
Use a light table to trace complicated science diagrams.
Draw and sketch nature.
Build numbers, letters, or words with legos.
Build numbers, letters, or words with cuisenaire rods.
Build numbers, letters, or words with popsicle sticks.
Build a sentence with legos or cuisenaire rods.
Build a fort or battle scene with legos or cuisenaire rods or sugar cubes.
Build an ecosystem from natural items.
Build a human body or organ from card board boxes.
Build nature from your nature study with legos.
Build a piece of art from recycled materials.
Build a computer model for cardboard and paper.
Build a volcano from legos, recycled items, or clay.
Build a map with legos.
Build geometric shapes with legos or popsicle sticks.
Build a sugar-cube structure (pyramid, castle, colosseum, etc.)
Build a lego trench.
Build lego tanks.
(Build anything with legos—you get the idea!)
Songs and Chants
Leap Frog (early learning letters, numbers, and basic math)
Ditty Bugs (chants and songs for various subjects)
YouTube (find songs for multiplication facts and skip counting, science facts, history timelines and more)
Pipe frosting letters or spelling words.
Bake anything to teach fractions and measuring
Count food (chocolate chips, sprinkles, goldfish, etc.) and eat it!
Spell with noodles or other food and eat it!
Plan and cook a feast for a particular time period: (Ancient Rome, Medieval Feast, Depression-era, etc.)
Plan and cook a feast for a particular country or culture.
(Let your active kid design his own “shooting range” and targets using these ideas.)
Identify a letter or number and shoot it.
Read a word and shoot it.
Spell a word and shoot it.
Answer math facts and shoot them.
Shoot different numbers and add or multiply those numbers to get the points.
Put history, science, or reading comprehension questions on 3×5 card targets: answer and shoot.
Put answers on targets and have your child ask the correct question (Jeopardy style) and shoot it.
Re-enact a historical event or battle scene.
Perform a skit of Shakespeare.
Perform memory work (dramatic recitations: poetry, speeches, timelines).
Perform a puppet show of your history or reading.
Perform a “science show” and let your child be Bill Nye the science Guy or the Wild Kratts brothers.
Perform an art show and let your child teach you about the art and artist.
Re-enact with legos or mini-figures.
Code a Scratch video from history or science.
Create a lego movie of a history scene or event.
Create a lego movie or stop-motion of a science mad-professor teaching a concept gone awry.
Create a movie of a fiction narrative as a writing exercise.
Create a powerpoint slide presentation.
Create interactive notebooks for any subject.
Create paper models of computers, engines, wind mills, turbines, etc.
Create an ecosystem or habitat.
Create paper models of an imaginary world.
Create a diorama or paper model of settings from a novel.
Create dioramas of a historical culture or time period.
Create dioramas of an ecosystem.
Sculpt famous sculptures from clay or soap.
Give them clay or play dough for any lesson and see how they recreate what they’ve learned.
Watercolor wash spelling words.
Watercolor wash memory work.
Watercolor wash grammar and sentence diagrams.
Paint a history scene or cultural setting.
Paint a habitat.
Practice handwriting or spelling with glitter glue.
Practice handwriting or spelling with glue and colored salt.
Trace handwriting, spelling, etc in a salt tray.
Create letters or words with play dough.
Create letters, words, or numbers with wikki stix.
Create maps with wikki stix.
Create science diagrams with wikki stix.
Create sentence diagrams with wikki stix.
Practice calligraphy for spelling words, copywork, handwriting, etc.
Nature walks and nature study.
Take a walk and do a Letter Hunt.
Take a nature walk and do a Noun Hunt (I’ve got free printables in the works! Subscribe so you don’t miss it.)
Take a nature walk and do a Verb Hunt. (These are in the works, too! Coming soon!)
Measure outdoor items and compare (sticks, leaves, earthworms, snails).
Compare living/nonliving things.
Compare sizes/textures/colors of rocks and leaves.
Do a venn diagram with side walk chalk and nature items.
Practice memory work on the trampoline.
Practice memory work or math facts while on the swings or playground slide.
Re-enact outdoors (see drama for ideas).
Ancient culture dress-up party
A Boston Tea party in a wading pool
Circle the Wagons pioneer party
Roaring Twenties Dance Party
Depression-era Hobo Party
60’s style Hippie tie-dye party (with fake-mustaches)
Around the World dance party
*This could be a post all by itself! So this is not an exhaustive list, just a jumping off point. See my post for more educational games by subject.*
Bananagrams for letter recognition, reading, and spelling
“I Spy” for spelling and vocabulary
Math War (players lay down two cards each; add or multiply the numbers of the two cards; high pair wins the stack)
Red Light, Green Light fact review (answer the fact to go on Green)
Simon Says fact review (answer the fact to get directions from Simon)
Twister fact review (tape facts to the each spot; spin, answer, and twist!)
Hop Scotch for letter recognition and math facts review
Basketball/Soccer/Hockey review (answer facts to shoot a hoop/goal; 1 point for correct answer and 1 point for the hoop/goal)
There are so many possibilities for hands-on ways to homeschool—unit studies, sensory bins, field trips, experiment kits, and so much more. My goal is not necessarily to list them all, but simply to inspire you to see that you can create your own hands-on homeschool with what you already have in your home. Let your kids come up with some of the ideas, too. Creative, busy kids usually have their own very original ideas for how to incorporate some fun learning. Run with it, and enjoy the perks of those ADHD minds.
Got some more hands-on ways to homeschool? Feel free to comment, add a link, and grow the list!