For children with ADHD, school is often a struggle. Although ADHD is not a learning disability, many children with ADHD fall behind academically. They might be easily distracted and miss important parts of lessons or have difficulty settling down to study for tests. They might find it hard to stay seated or their lack of organizational skills causes them to forget or lose their homework. Many parents report that working with schools is difficult or sometimes seemingly impossible. Some school districts fight providing extra service or accommodations. Parents sometimes feel frustrated, trying their hardest to work with schools while at the same time spending hours each night working with their child, just to keep him or her afloat at school.
For some parents, homeschooling works well. Their children receive an education, at home, where parents can structure learning to each individual child. But homeschooling isn’t for everyone. It does have it’s advantages and disadvantages. You must weigh the pros and cons of homeschooling your child to decide if it is the best option for you, your family and your child.
The Benefits of Homeschooling Your Child with ADHD
Homeschooling allows you to customize your child’s curriculum on a daily basis. You can work with your child’s moods and energy levels, for example, on days your child is more hyper, you can use active games and hands-on lessons to teach, for example, you can learn to count by jumping or baking cookies. Your child doesn’t need to "fit in" the classroom model. Homeschool allows you to create the classroom to fit your child.
You can incorporate breaks or "recess" time when you feel it is needed. During a regular school day, your child has recess during set times. However, when homeschooling, you can call for a recess break when you feel your child needs to get up and move around and then refocus on schoolwork.
You can set the schedule based on your child’s internal clock. Your child might work best in the morning hours while another child might work best in the afternoon. With homeschooling you can work on the most difficult or taxing work based on when your child’s focus is highest. You can save less challenging work for times when your child is not as focused.
You can work according to your child’s academic level. Some parents complain that their child is more hyperactive and distracted in school when the subject matter is not challenging enough but schools are not willing and able to teach each child on a different level. .With homeschooling you can adapt the material to your child’s level. You can teach according to your child’ ability rather than according to their grade level.
You can limit distractions. In school, many children with ADHD find it hard to focus. They become distracted by the noise, the constant activity or all of the decorations on the wall. When you homeschool you can set up your child’s environment in a way that limits distractions.
The Disadvantages of Homeschooling
Homeschooling isn’t the best option for some families. You might have a hard time controlling your child or you might not have the desire to spend your day teaching your child. You might not be able to provide all the materials needed for homeschooling. Just as there are reasons homeschooling can benefit your child, there are reasons why homeschooling might not be the right option.
Homeschooling requires a commitment of time and money. If you are going to homeschool, you might have to quit your job. You need to commit to spending hours each day being a teacher. You must purchase books and other school supplies. You may need to buy science equipment or art supplies. If you want to take your child to museums or on other "field trips" to enhance their learning, you must pay for these.
You lose "time away from the kids." When you go to work, you spend time with other grown-ups. You might run errands on your lunch hour or stop at the store after work.If you don’t work, you have time when your children are at school to get chores done and socialize with friends. When you homeschool you are with your child, or children, every day. Homeschool can take away from your free time.
Your child might miss out on socialization skills. Many parents who homeschool need to go to extra efforts to make sure their children have time to socialize with other children their age. They might use a network of homeschoolers to form groups and take field trips. They might enroll their children in extracurricular activities (at their expense), such as martial arts, sports teams or art and music classes.
Keep in mind that many children with ADHD also have a learning disability. To successfully teach your child, you must be willing to learn about and deal with all of your child’s learning difficulties. Before deciding whether homeschooling is right for you and your child, take time to find out more about what is required of you and make sure you are able to make the commitment needed to make it beneficial to your child.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.