1. We don’t homeschool. What can we do?
Of course you homeschool. You just call it helping with homework. All of the tactics and strategies that work for me when I teach my ADHD son at home can be applied in your home as well. The suggestions I make on my teaching tips page and in my books about incorporating motion and games into learning can be used with any subject you’re attempting to teach the ADHD child. I know that you are trying to teach this child at the end of what is usually a VERY taxing day, when he or she is tired and less likely to be cooperative. But that makes teaching with motion all the more important. Do your best to find your child’s predominant learning mode and incorporate it in every learning moment.
We need to appreciate how VERY difficult it is for our ADHD kids to keep control of their impulses in a traditional classroom setting with many children. The noise level and the panorama of things in motion will elevate their level of excitability. The distractions are almost dizzying. They are practically destined for trouble. I’ve heard it said that trying to teach this child in such an environment is like trying to thread a sewing machine while it’s running. Some school systems will really work with you on these issues and others will simply claim you’re not parenting right.
For help in a traditional classroom setting, I recommend that you get your hands on a book called “How To Reach and Teach ADD/ADHD Children” by Sandra F. Rief. It is written by a classroom teacher for classroom teachers. It is full of incredibly practical ideas to use in the typical classroom setting. There are an awful lot of books out there with totally useless and impractical information — this is not one of them.
2. How do I get started in homeschooling?
Home schooling is a BIG undertaking, there is no denying that. Yet, there are many resources available to assist people who are considering getting started.
For advice, check out a couple of these links:
Home Educating Family’s Getting Started Page—these folks also provide one of the most successful national homeschooling magazines.
Getting Started: homeschooling high school-HSLDA’s site – this is a big resource, which includes among other things, a list of online distance learning options.
Ten Day Preparation to Homeschool – This Christian mom created a series of posts on how to get started, including some charts and templates you can use to get organized.
For ideas on curricula, take a look at what parents in the Sizzle Bop community told us when asked the question “What materials do you like to use with your distractible child for each and every subject?” Their answers can be found HERE, on our blog. But be warned, homeschooling curricula choices have exploded in recent years. It can be overwhelming. If at all possible, try to attend a state homeschool conference. There you can actually walk through the vendor hall and see the materials available, often even talking to people who either use them or sometimes even created them. There’s no substitute for this.
Find a support group. They are invaluable. Some people think that a support group is primarily to provide field trips and opportunities for kids to socialize with each other. Many see this as their purpose and you will most likely find this as a component of most support groups. Others think it is a support group is for the moms. I personally find the mom support aspect to be my greater need. I need to bounce curriculum ideas off other moms. I need to ask how they handle the two years old’s needs when another child is being instructed. Many people attend our local support group just to determine if they really even WANT to home school. You don’t have to be an active homeschooler to attend most support group meetings or functions.
Legal Issues: Check out the Home School Legal Defense Association’s web site at www.hslda.org. This is an organization that does nothing but protect the rights of homeschoolers nationwide (actually worldwide). They can inform you of your particular state’s laws regarding home schooling. Be assured that home schooling is legal in all 50 states. I have always been a member of HSLDA but I came from a state that was particularly hostile to homeschoolers. Through court action supported by HSLDA, that state is now one of the best for homeschoolers.
Some big suppliers are
Rainbow Resources (these folks are far and away the largest single provider. Ask for their catalog. It’s HUGE!)
Some materials are sold by the individual companies that make them and won’t be available through a big supplier. But many are. Take your time. You don’t have to figure everything out all at once, or even all in the first year. Homeschooling is incredibly efficient and forgiving.
Don’t Worry. Expect it to take time. For our family, home schooling has been the best situation in which my son could learn. We have had a ball. It took me about 6 months to “find our groove,” to decide that I could be teacher and boss as well as MOM. So don’t be in too big of a hurry. Home schooling is very forgiving while you and your child find the right niche for yourselves.
3. What if I don’t have the patience to homeschool?
I must tell you that this strikes most homeschooling moms as funny. That’s because the question assumes that all of us who do homeschool must have patience. If patience were required before homeschooling begins, virtually NO ONE would be homeschooling today. It’s a day-to-day process. It’s a growth process for mom and dad as well as the children. It is a quality that develops over time. (But is never fully acquired!) I believe it is part of God’s plan for how families, being drawn together, bring out good in each other and improve each other, often by exposing our weaknesses. The world’s view is that families need more time away from each other to properly “socialize.” But I find no merit for this view either Biblically or in the way it has played out in the world. So it’s okay to leap into homeschooling and learn patience along the way. That’s how the rest of us did it.
4. What about treating ADHD kids with medications?
Let me give you a romp through my thoughts on all the negatives of drugs. But. . . read through the whole answer, because there’s a however at the end.
Without a doubt, drugs are highly over-prescribed for ADHD kids. There are many other alternatives that could and should be tried first. I once heard a question that struck me. Where are the young Einstein’s and Thomas Edison’s of today? Chances are that we are keeping them medicated to the point they may not produce the kind of creative-based innovations that they otherwise would have. While homeschooling is not an option for many families, it is nonetheless, an outstanding environment for the ADHD child.
Properly executed, one-on-one at-home learning is education at its best. Instead of medically altering the child into a state where he can fit into and function within the “traditional teaching approach,” homeschooling instead allows the education to be constructed around the child. I strongly believe that many children are simply high-stimulation-needs children being forced to learn in the worst possible environment for their learning and living style.
(Now…all that said, here comes the big however .)
However, I have read of families with ADHD children who have startling symptoms. And I know that if I had a child with such symptoms, I would run to a doctor seeking any kind of help, including drugs. So while I am highly cynical of the current level of drug use for these kids, I am still firm in my belief that it must be determined on a case-by-case basis. Not only are some children more severe in their symptoms, some families cannot withstand the added stress that even mild ADHD brings. ALL factors must be weighed. And I am not willing to condemn other families for making a decision to use drugs. There are simply too many factors involved.
5. I want to order your books, videos or CDs on teaching add/adhd children. I can’t find them on your web page. Where do I get them?
Just hop over to our online store. You’ll find all our products, along with descriptions of each one.
6. How can I get in contact with Carol?
Drop Carol a note via email at Carol@CarolBarnier.com