ADD, Parent and child!

by Sarah

I am a mom of 4 kids, ages 2-11. Just this year I decided to keep my 10 and 11 year old daughters home and homeschool.

My 10 year old is ADD and had to do two years of 1st grade and barely made it through 3rd grade with out meds. (her teacher referred her as a "failure to thrive" student)

My 11 year old has had some social and math anxiety. She couldn't understand why kids were so mean sometimes and it really bothered her. Math is just plain HARD for both her and I, we just don't get it and its a daily struggle.

As for me, school was always hard. I am ADD, never taken medication for it but always struggled with focus, and organization issues. I LOVE to be organized but have trouble GETTING and STAYING organized and on task.

I am really struggling with what I should be doing with my kids. If I left it up to them, my 10 year old would watch TV all day or read, as long as the books are easy reads or comics. She won't pick up a book if it seems too challenging. Just recently will she read a book without pictures. I can not find ANYTHING that motivates her or strikes a passion. If you ask her what she wants to learn, she says, "nothing". My 11 year old is better about finding her passions and will look things up and do some research. She will do well being self motivated, as long as the subject interests her.

I really think un-schooling sounds best for us, but I struggle with myself. How are they going to learn proper punctuation? Synonyms? Antonyms? Spelling? MATH? How to write properly? Vocabulary? etc.

My daughter with ADD is not one to seek out knowledge. She is perfectly content sitting around doing nothing. She HATES research, HATES worksheets unless it is something very easy. Hates work in general. She is afraid of failure, and won't do anything unless she knows she can do it right. I know this is lengthy, but I don't know where else to turn.I am beginning to think i should put them back in school, but I know that will set them up to fail.

What are your thoughts on homeschooling with a parent and child who struggle with ADD? I have downloaded your workbook and your free ebook and they have been a help. This ADD issue has me stumped!

Hi Sarah, Thanks for your questions. I am sorry to hear about your girl's experiences at school.

I too find it hard to 'stay on task' as you put it. My daughter is much more disciplined than me. But I have found ways to tailor my homeschooling style to work with me - rather than against me.

You know, I think if your daughter has had a bad experience with learning, then she is not going to respond positively with a question about what she wants to 'learn'. I think the girls probably need a chance to deschool. Try asking her what she would like to do, or have or where she would like to visit. It can be very frustrating when they are being like this, but I am sure if you give her some space and some time she will begin to get interested in other things.

If you are interested in unschooling then I would recommend Sandra Dodds book The Big Book of Unschooling - I found it a very interesting read.

I don't have any experience of homeschooling ADD children but lots of families do it so I am sure you can find a way too.

There is some good information online. Try some of these sites:

  • There is some interesting information here about homeschooling the adhd child.

  • There is a blog here that covers a lot on the subject.

  • A-Z Home's Cool has a list of resources on this page that you might find useful.

  • I hope that helps. I wish and the girls much joy in your homeschooling.
    best wishes, Julie.


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    Comments for ADD, Parent and child!

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    Dealing with ADD
    by: Pat in AZ

    I am homeschooling two of my grandchildren. Each of them has unique challenges. The 7 year old boy has mild Aspergers, ADD and Sensory Integration Disorder. The 9 year old girl is dyslexic and also has sensory issues.

    I have experimented with various ways of teaching. I found the children did not resond well to straight unschooling because they didn't have focus. They do better following a flexible routine where they know that school is at certain times, but we do different things on different days. Establishing the routine can be a challenge and you will have to get yourself very organized. Homeschooling is a commitment. Your kids might prefer to be parked in front of the TV or video games, but that's not what is best for them if you want them to actually learn things. While I appreciate some aspects of unschooling, very few children will choose what is best for them.

    I have chosen a blend of Charlotte Mason, the Well Trained Mind and some unschooling elements. To me, Charlotte Mason is too light on Science. My grandchildren love Science, and I encourage this. My husband is a retired math teacher, so I'm fortunate enough to have him handle their math. I am a big believer in strong literature, reading, language arts and history as well. We round these out with art. I bring art into their lessons wherever possible, plus there is straight art time. We combine handwriting/copywork and spelling. We are adding music this semester.

    My tips to you...
    1. Keep the lessons short. Ours range from 10-15 minutes for spelling/copywork/phonics to 30-45 minutes for the rest of the classes. Rarely do they go for 45 minutes, but most last for at least 30.
    2. Give them a short break (10 - 15 minutes) after each 45 minutes to an hour. ADD kids need to move their bodies.
    3. Alternate a physical activity with a mental activity. If they have been sitting for a while, when that lesson ends do some kid yoga. There are some great kid yoga cards on Amazon. If the children are trying to learn some math or spelling words, turn it into a physical game.
    4. Watch what they eat. There is a huge correlation between ADD and diet. You certainly don't want them to have sugar during school (maybe limit it to very rare occasions) and I'd take a look at other foods like wheat.
    5. Be flexible and use your instincts. If they seem to be having a bad day, acknowlege it with words (I can see you are having problems trying to focus today, and I am so proud of you for trying. Let's take a little break.) You might want to just stop and let them have a quiet activity or get out in the yard and play. You are homeschooling, so it's ok to be flexible.

    This is my 3rd year homeschooling, and it does get easier. If you get yourself organized and stay at least one step ahead of them, you will do just fine. Good Luck.

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