When Traditional Schools Fail Your Child

When a child is left behind, ignored, or frustrated in a traditional classroom setting, many parents begin researching alternatives. Homeschooling a child with ADHD or learning disabilities is not easy, but it can a student build skills, gain confidence, and love learning again.

Online Homeschool Courses for ADD/ADHD Students

Many children with ADD/ADHD are drawn to computers and are skilled at using them, making online home courses a natural fit. “Some educational software is engaging, using sound and animation to attract the ear and eye. Some programs incorporate games or offer a few minutes of game time as a reward at the end of a session,” Kuhl says.

Parents can supplement other forms of homeschooling with online courses, or have their child take all courses online. Homeschool Your Child for Free, by LauraMaery Gold and Joan Zielinski, recommends online curricula and gives tips for Internet learning.

“The nice thing about online learning is that educational software is patient, and never sounds annoyed because it is tired or busy cooking dinner,” adds Kuhl.

How Do Homeschooled ADD/ADHD Children Make Friends?

Some parents worry that homeschooling may mean their ADD/ADHD child, whose social skills are marginal at best, will be unable to make friends. Not true, says Kuhl. “Home-schooled children are not anti-social weirdos who sit in the house all day.”

In many communities, students attending homeschool join together to participate in activities, co-ops, volunteer programs, and other social events. Groups regularly schedule activities, such as proms, plays, spelling bees, chorus practice, debate leagues, art classes, sports outings, as well as the all-important graduation ceremonies.

In fact, some experts suggest that a child taught at home has more opportunities to interact with people of all ages, compared to a school’s structured environment with only peers around. An added benefit is the social training parents can provide on the spot. “Parents who home-school have one-on-one time with their child, to coach him in social skills before and after he plays with friends,” Kuhl says.

Melinda Boring is proud of Josh and Beckie. “Josh says he wouldn’t have learned nearly as much in public school, and Beckie, while having many public-school friends and attending homecoming events in high school, prefers to work at her own pace at home,” says Boring. “I always knew they were smart. Schooling at home proved it.”

8 Helpful Tips To Keep Your ADD/ADHD Child Learning

Melinda Boring found that using the right materials and techniques will help children better retain information. Here are eight items she recommends:

1. Post-it tape -- to cover part of a chart, so the child isn’t overwhelmed by too much information on a page.

2. Foam earplugs -- block out background noise while allowing a student to hear what you’re saying.

3. Colored overlays -- to frame material on the pages (a rectangle to cover a paragraph, a square to cover a math problem)

4. Block-out reader -- a colored strip of see-through plastic that allows the student to see only the text that he is reading and blocks out lines above and below.

5. Tri-fold display board -- blocks out visual distractions when placed on the student’s desk or work table.

6. Peanut butter dough map -- enhances geography lessons for ADDers; mold cookie dough into the shape of a state, using colored sugar for rivers, large M&Ms for cities, mini M&Ms for smaller cities.

7. Colored notebook paper -- each subject is assigned a different color, allowing the child to find and file loose papers quickly.

8. Post-it arrow notes -- helps a child to locate an answer in a page of text without having to re-read and allows him to highlight areas in which he needs assistance.


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This article appears in the Spring issue of ADDitude.
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TAGS: ADHD in High School, Learning Disabilities

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