Unlocking the potential of homeschooling for ADD/ADHD students

As if trying to get any student to focus on long lectures wasn’t hard enough, trying to get a disinterested ADD/ADHD student to do it can be nearly impossible. Maybe that’s why more and more families prefer that their children pursue an online education solution.

Homeschooling is rapidly becoming recognised as a reasonable option for disgruntled parents who can’t get their local schools to provide the special services their ADD/ADHD children must have in order to succeed. To these families, home education is the last resort.

It’s becoming increasingly common for parents to pull a miserable ADD or ADHD youngster out of school in the middle of the academic year. It’s as though something suddenly snaps. The family may have quietly endured years of IEPs, long conferences, tears from the child, notes from the teacher, promises from the administrators, and bad report cards. They may have come to think of it as normal to feel trapped and helpless. But one day, in a sudden moment of clarity, they realize that their child’s curiosity has disappeared, that he or she no longer has the impish zest for life that used to be such a charming part of his or her personality. When that moment of truth arrives, parents have no trouble severing their ties with the schools with just one word: Enough.

The decision is terrifying, but it is usually based on one absolute certainty: “Surely, we can do better than this!” Homeschooling is not for everybody. But in the hands of the right kind of family, it can prevent many painful and destructive situations from developing and can bring healing to children who have been all but crushed by the system.

Many parents shy away from the thought of educating an ADD/ADHD child at home because of the frustrations they’ve went through trying to help the child with homework. Homework is always tackled at the end of the day when the child has already had all he can stand of teachers, books and frustrations. It’s usually conducted by a parent who is tired from a long, hard day of responsibilities. As often as not, the parent and the child both resent the fact that they must get enmeshed in assignments that are inappropriate, with directions that are not clearly understood, in books that are too difficult.

One of the more obvious advantages is the fact that online classes are designed for those who need a more flexible schedule. It is well known that students with ADD/ADHD are easily distracted by noises, lights or even their own thoughts. This can result in hindering their ability to retain vital information conveyed in the classroom. For some ADD/ADHD students, there could also be a certain period of the day where they can’t focus at all. However, online education provides an outlet for students that need a more flexible schedule. It gives students the opportunity to be able to work when they can focus at their best.  If a distraction does occur, which they most likely will, the student can simply rewind to the pre-recorded portion of the lesson that they missed and listen to it again. It’s important to note that online classes are just as rigorous and complex as school room classes, but the ability to re-evaluate missed portions of lessons can be very beneficial. ADD/ADHD students who pursue an online education platform will be able to learn in a more comfortable environment in their homes or at tutor centres.

The ability to focus and to sit quietly at a desk is often associated with a student’s level of academic success. For students with ADD and ADHD, however, these are near impossible tasks. Listening to directions, retaining information and completing assignments are daunting experiences for them, as their minds wander, and they attempt to take in everything going on around them. It’s common for them to absorb only a fraction of the information from their daily lessons.

The advantages of home schooling

  • Less Distractions: Working from home may help eliminate distractions. The school environment itself can be a distraction for ADD/ADHD students who have been bullied or who have anxiety towards school. An online school environment may provide a new outlook on school.
  • Work at their Own Pace: Students with ADHD may need more time on assignments, especially in topics they may not be interested in or are struggling the most in. Online schools usually allow students to work whenever works best for them. This means being able to walk away and come back to complete a task later.
  • More One-On-One Attention: Depending on the online school that you choose, there may be a teacher available to help with assignments or you may be the teacher! Either way, your child will likely have more opportunities for one-on-one attention and may feel more comfortable advocating for this need.
  • New Learning Environment: Having a new learning environment will hopefully alleviate the stress and frustration an ADD/ADHD child has previously associated with school and provide them with a fresh start.

Many ADD/ADHD students can be victims of teasing in the classroom (even at a collegiate level).  This can create low self-esteem.  Most students are not educated about ADD/ADHD disorders and do not have a high tolerance for some of the outbursts that may occur in the classroom. However, with online education, students with ADD/ADHD are not placed in an environment where this kind of teasing would occur. In fact, through online education they most likely will be able to gain more one-on-one attention from their teachers and won’t get into trouble for disrupting the class. If they get anxious and need to move around, they can also do this without any repercussions or punishment.

The traits that make a parent suited to the task of homeschooling have more to do with temperament than background or education. Planning and carrying out a good educational program for a child requires patience, courage, creativity, determination, persistence, energy and more patience.

As a parent you have tough choices to make, home schooling is just one of them, but it could be the one that sets your child up for life. Once you have made that decision you and your child can have the opportunity to create a learning environment that works best for you, which is a huge benefit of homeschooling. This really gives your child a life lesson in setting them a path for success. Colleges, universities and the working environment all require people to figure out how and when they concentrate best. As your child gets older, it will be an advantage that he or she has worked continuously on these issues as a home schooler.

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Unlocking the potential of homeschooling for ADD/ADHD students

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