Q: “What Homeschooling Tips Will Keep My Kids Engaged?”
“Neurodivergent students need to place the same importance on homeschooling schedules and classes as they would at an in-person school.”
Q: “Do you have tips for multi-grade homeschooling? I have four boys in three different grades, and we all have ADHD.”
Since children of different ages have different needs, here are some homeschooling strategies to help.
1. Schedule “Class Time”
No matter their age, keep your students on a school schedule. If they had to be physically present for class outside the home, they would set their alarms and get themselves out the door on time. Neurodivergent students need to place the same importance on homeschooling schedules and classes as they would at an in-person school.
2. Have Your Children “Body Double”
For some children with ADHD, working in the same room as others helps them stay motivated and on task. With that in mind, create a common work area for all your children. The only rule is that this is a time for working, not talking. Place an inexpensive tabletop presentation board on the kitchen table so everyone has some privacy. Make sure you provide plenty of snacks.
3. Infuse Learning with Movement
Homework is boring and doing it in the same place all the time can get old quickly. Changing your children’s environment will keep things interesting and fresh when they start to lose focus and attention. Games like “Hide the Homework,” where kids search the house for hidden assignments (They complete them where they find them.), helps to add an element of fun and surprise to the daily routine. Spelling words can go in the bathtub (No water!), and math problems can go under the kitchen table. Or play “Beat the Clock” by setting up subject stations around your kitchen or dining room table. Place a timer in the middle; when it goes off, your child moves to the next station. Incorporate younger children into the mix with art or reading stations.
Get outside! I have students doing math homework with sidewalk chalk or learning vocabulary words while jumping on a trampoline. Have a dog that needs walking? You grab the flashcards, your child grabs the dog, and by the time you’re back, they’ve studied for the exam.
4. Create a Playlist
Music helps the brain plan, focus, and initiate. Have each of your children create a study playlist of music they love. The key is to start the same playlist every time they sit down to work. Eventually, the music will act as a motivator — hearing it will signal to the brain that it’s time to get work done.
5. Designate Different Areas in Your Home for School and Homework
Any way you can set up their environment to provide motivation is a win.
Homeschooling Tips: Next Steps
- Download: A Sample Schedule for Learning at Home
- Learn: When Traditional Schools Fails… How to Homeschool
- Watch: Lessons Learned — and Shared — by Homeschool Families
ADHD Family Coach Leslie Josel, of Order Out of Chaos, will answer questions from ADDitude readers about everything from paper clutter to disaster-zone bedrooms and from mastering to-do lists to arriving on time every time.
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