15 Reasons Why I Love Homeschooling ADHD

15 reasons why I love homeschooling ADHD

Homeschooling ADHD is no walk in the park. There are challenges, road blocks, and bad days. I have a house full of ADHD, and there are days when I think I may lose my mind. But that’s only a part of our story, only one side of ADHD. Unfortunately, it’s often the side of ADHD that gets the most attention—the struggle. But there is also delight, creativity, and lots and lots of laughter. They are curious, loud, distracted, innovative, messy, and intense. I love homeschooling ADHD!

Whether you are considering homeschooling your ADHD child, in the midst of the struggle, or just curious what it might be like, here are my top 15 reasons why I love homeschooling ADHD.

15 Reasons Why I Love Homeschooling ADHD

  1. Time for breaks. We can arrange our routine around their best times for learning and allow for plenty of movement breaks. (Check out our favorite movement breaks here.)
  2. Customized Learning Plan. Each of my children is very different. Creating a custom learning plan that fits their personality, learning style, interests, and strengths is a highlight of homeschooling.
  3. Whole Family Learning. I love that we can learn together and that my kids can share and help each other in the process.
  4. Ability to Pursue Passions and Interests. My kids have plenty of time to pursue the things that interest them. Our homeschool lessons are short, their busy minds learn quickly, and we move along, allowing for a lot of variety.
  5. Opportunity to Move. In addition to movement breaks, learning at home allows my kids to move and fidget and bounce while they are learning.
  6. Freedom to be Unique. My kids can be just as unique and awesome as they were created to be. They can enjoy what they love, and no one tells them otherwise.
  7. No Bullying. Obviously, I can’t protect my kids from all the bullying that may take place in different social settings, but at home in our learning environment, I can create a safe place for them to pursue their interests, overcome their struggles, and love learning without bullying or shaming.
  8. No Labels or Stereotypes. We talk about ADHD and dyslexia. My kids are aware of the terms and what those particular struggles mean. It helps them to understand what is happening in them and to them in those hard moments. But it’s a well-rounded discussion. They are also aware of the awesome strengths of creativity and innovation that come with this particular way their minds work.
  9. Controlled Distractions. Sometimes, ironically, my kids need more stimulation to focus; they actually need stuff going on around them to help them concentrate. In other subject areas or assignments, they need absolute silence. I can help them navigate this and learn solutions that help them. I’m not coddling or manipulating the environment, but I am helping them to identify what they need to succeed and how to think through a solution.
  10. Creative Learning Approaches. This is my favorite. I love seeing their ideas for how to learn. I determine the “what,” but the “how” is often an area I allow them to have in-put. The result, lots of creative ideas for hands-on learning!
  11. Emphasis on Strengths. The best way to learn is through a strength. My son loves to learn through drawing, building, and technology. My daughter loves to learn through art. My littlest loves to learn through drama and pretend. By tackling their areas of weakness through an area of strength, my kids are able to work through the areas where they struggle or have some anxieties via an area where they are confident and capable.
  12. Room to Improve. My kids’ ADHD and dyslexia forces me to be a better teacher and parent. They force me to do things and find solutions I wouldn’t have attempted on my own. Homeschooling ADHD stretches me and provides a space for me to grow and improve. My kids teach me! And I’m a better person because of them.
  13. Freedom to Be Different. We get to embrace the family that we are. “Your kids are all so very different,” someone recently told me. “I love it. It means you let them be who they are; they are comfortable being different.” Yes, yes, they are. Lol!
  14. Flexible Routine/Scheduling. Mornings with ADHD are tough. It’s our worst learning time. Their energy and creativity are at their peak, their moods are most intense, and morning learning has always been a struggle. So most of the week, we explore and participate in extra-curriculars in the morning and homeschool in the afternoon. We take off the days my pastor-husband has off and homeschool when he works. We create a learning routine that fits our family.
  15. A Place to Thrive. There is no greater joy than knowing my kids love learning and excel at it, in spite of what others may consider a disability or a disorder. That’s not to say that we don’t have our struggles and our bad days. This year, in particular, I’ve had to go back to the drawing board and redo nearly every subject because of struggles I didn’t foresee. But I have the freedom and the blessing to go back to that drawing board any time.

Homeschooling ADHD isn’t easy. Roses have thorns, and rainbows need rain. There’s an undeniable struggle that comes in this journey. But there are roses and rainbows. The daily might be a struggle, but the big picture is that they are thriving and learning and bringing to life all of that creative energy and enthusiasm that makes them uniquely them. And this, my friend, is the real reason I love homeschooling ADHD.

100 Hands-on Ways to Homeschool

hands-on homeschool | 100 hands-on ways to homeschool

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

Homeschooling through a Learning Anxiety

homeschooling learning anxiety

She slumps into the couch, “I hate this. This is stupid,” and she glares at her math sheet. What my child doesn’t say is “I’m scared.” But whether or not she verbalizes it, I’ve learned to recognize her fear. She’s afraid of failing. She’s afraid of writing, especially when things have to be in a particular order (i.e. spelling, math problems, fractions, order of operations, etc.) She’s weary from the effort of trying to sort things out in her dyslexic mind. But she rarely says any of this. Instead, she says, “I hate this. Why do I need to do school anyway? This is stupid.” Her learning anxiety often doesn’t look like anxiety at all, at least, not what I would expect it to look like. Sometimes, it looks more like a pout, a tantrum, even a rage.

It’s taken me awhile to figure this out. And sometimes, I forget and need my husband to remind me. “Ask her if she’s afraid,” he tells me as I recount my latest knock-down-drag-out homeschool day. So, in spite of what my child does or doesn’t say, here’s what I’m learning to say when her learning anxieties have us at a stand-still.

Five things to say when your child has a learning anxiety

I’m here.  I have to assure her that I’m here. I’m going to help her. She’s not alone in her struggle.

I have a plan. After assuring her that I’m here for her, I gently lay out my plan to help. “Here’s what this is going to look like.” I’ll scribe her math problems in much the same way I used to scribe her writing. I do 1/2 to 3/4 of the writing for her and have her try when she regains her confidence. I assure her that we will use the abacus or the calculator or another manipulative for the hard part. When we were struggling through spelling and writing, I found her a Dyslexia Aid app that translates her speech to text. My plan includes ways that she is going to find help for what is scaring her.

Remember when… I remind her of past struggles and past successes. “Remember when you used to be afraid to do this particular subject, and we tried this particular thing to help you. And now you aren’t afraid of that anymore.” Reminding her of what she has overcome in the past, gives her perspective. Yes, this is hard right now, but it won’t always be this hard. Yes, this is hard, but we will find the tools to help you. Yes, this is hard, but this isn’t the first hard thing you’ve done.

I’ll fight for you and with you, but not against you. This is my new line, the statement I use to put the ball back into her court. I can help her in many ways, but I can’t make the decision to try. She has to come to a point of decision. She has to stop resisting, get past her “I can’t,” and decide to try. I’m not her enemy. I am for her and with her. 

I’ll give you space. I WANT to push for a decision. I WANT to pressure her to try again. I WANT to get this done so that I can finish with my other two kids and get dinner on the table. But added pressure is actually the worst thing I can do for her learning anxiety. Trust me, I know. Sometimes, she needs me to back off and give her the opportunity to muster her courage and decide to try. Yes, this takes time. Yes, this often puts me “behind schedule.” But yes, this is sometimes the most helpful strategy of all. Again, it puts the responsibility of learning back into her court. Giving her space allows her to be in control of a situation that often feels very out of her control.

Other strategies to combat learning anxiety

Another strategy that has helped us to navigate learning anxiety are brain breaks. All that mental energy from trying to sort, decipher, and organize information can leave her brain exhausted and in a state of overwhelm. When she is working in an area of weakness, I have to watch her pace and give her brain a chance to break and relax. These breaks aren’t usually long, maybe 5 minutes or so. But yes, this takes extra time. Yes, it may put me a little behind. Yes, it may mean we don’t get as far in the lesson. What we do accomplish, however, is quality over quantity.

Sometimes our brain breaks require some physical activity. (We love Ultimate Brain Breaks for this.)

Other times I give her an art break to go create something. Art is her strength. In essence, what I am doing is giving her a break to do something she’s good at, to relax her and restore her confidence before tackling the hard thing once more.

We try an entirely new learning strategy. Sometimes, you’ve just got to come at it from a completely different angle. My dyslexic child forces me to be a better teacher. She forces me to research and improve how I present things. She motivates me to do what I wouldn’t have otherwise tried to do. Together, we both learn to do hard things.

Need some more help and motivation? Check out my other posts.