Homeschooling Special Needs

Homeschooling Kids with ADHD

I remember vividly the sting of the knowledge of this fact: My child has ADHD.  Knowing there was a problem was the easy part. Anyone could see his hyperactivity. It’s not that he was a bad kid. He just couldn’t focus.  I could see that the current mold for public school just wasn’t working for him. He needed something different.

Information for parents who are considering homeschooling their children who have ADHD.

Yes, my child has ADHD. Now what?

But where should I begin? I had never even thought about homeschooling. I began to seek out resources and read everything I could about ADHD.  This is the way our children teach us. They teach us to be be bold, courageous, better than we ever knew we could be. They also teach us to do things we never desired to do or thought we could do if we wanted to. Why? Because we love them so deeply. We so desperately want to guide them and give them the tools they need to be successful. This makes parents their children’s best teacher, regardless of whether you homeschool or not.

Homeschooling  Kids with ADHD

Things you CAN do:

  • Educate yourself.
  • Gather resources.
  • Employ methods and routines.
  • Consider medication- if appropriate.
  • Research diet and other factors that may contribute to hyperactivity.

I wish I knew then what I know now. I’d probably do a few things differently. But I know I gave my child the best possible education. Homeschooling was the right decision for us. It really ensured that he didn’t fall through the cracks. The extra time I spent working with him one-on-one required him to do the appropriate amount of work. We could take extra time on areas where he needed work and accentuate his gifted areas too! The time I gave him showed him how much I cared. I was able to discipline him and apply consistent behavioral modification methods. Over time he was able to develop life skills essential for success.

A diagnosis is not a label.

A diagnosis should identify the needs of a child and give us the tools and resources to help him or her. It should never replace that child’s identity or take away his or her individuality. Your child’s diagnosis shouldn’t label him, and it certainly shouldn’t define him as a person. It’s not who he is. He is a unique individual created by God. No two children with ADHD are the same. Every circumstance is entirely different. Many children with ADHD have a secondary diagnosis as well or even multiple other disorders.

Instead, a diagnosis helps us to know what the trouble is and where the challenge lies. It should also help us to be more compassionate and understanding when dealing with our children on a daily basis. It should give us the resources and tools we need to successfully prepare that child for life. I also want to mention that the uniqueness of each circumstance may also mean that what works for one child may not work for another. This is why I encourage you to seek the answers to helping your child out for yourself. Trust your heart and try what you think will work. Then make the necessary adjustments. As parents, we are not born knowing how to help the children we’re blessed with. Parenting ADHD is an ongoing labor of love and is a process that never ends.

Preparing your child for life.

My ADHD child is now 23 years old and a college graduate, so I am writing all this after having experienced it.  My son still struggles with ADHD, and so I am still the parent of a child (now an adult) with ADHD. It is not something your child will outgrow either. It’s not something she needs to outgrow. Don’t worry, I promise she won’t still be climbing on furniture inappropriately at 25 or spilling her milk every time she goes out out eat. She will grow up. But ADD is not something to outgrow; it’s something to live with. No situation is perfect. You will likely make mistakes. I did. Do not be afraid. Do the best you can and never get discouraged.

In summary.

Giving it a name did at first help me to identify the problem. But beyond that I found the label ADHD stifled us more than it helped. Homeschooling was a wonderful means to break free from the stigma surrounding ADHD, and it offered the option of adapting the learning environment to meet the needs of my child. There was absolutely no way that a public school could provide the dedicated instruction I gave him on a day-to-day basis. It was incredibly tough at times to homeschool my ADHD child, but it was so worth it!

What does this mean for you and your child?

If you have a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD, I think you can see why homeschooling is a great option for that child! As you’ve learned from reading my article, it’s not necessarily the easiest road, but at least for us (and maybe you too), it was definitely the right one. More and more parents are learning that homeschooling children with ADHD is doable and is beneficial for so many reasons.

Here are links to a few more articles about homeschooling children who have ADHD. We hope they’ll be helpful to you! And if you have questions or would like more information about something related to homeschooling your ADHD child, we’d love to hear from you! Please leave your comment or question below in the comments.

You CAN Homeschool an ADHD Child is a quick synopsis of my years homeschooling my son who has ADHD. Even though I was new to homeschooling and didn’t really know what to do or how to do it, homeschooling still turned out to be a wonderful thing for my son! In other words, you don’t have to have it all together or be an expert to homeschool your ADHD child. You just have to care enough to be willing to put forth the time and effort it will take! And, like most things, it’s easier said than done, but you really can do it! Don’t give up!

Dill Pickles, Hedgehogs, & Lemon Trees: Unexpected Keys to Supporting Kids with ADHD is another great article! There is so much more information about essential oils available today than there was even just a few years ago! It turns out that essential oils can be great help for children (and adults!) with ADHD. This article shares some of the essential oils that may be helpful.


Disclaimer* I am not an expert on ADHD. I am the parent of a child that has it. The following opinion is expressly my own and is not intended as professional advice. Instead, it is offered solely to encourage you as the parent of a child with ADHD (or another special need). In regards to treatment, you should seek the advice of  medical professionals.

About the author

Stephanie Harrington

Stephanie was a military spouse for 20 years and has homeschooled for more than 17 years. She and her husband of 25 years retired from the military and settled in their native state of Iowa where they continue to homeschool their youngest child. Her homeschool style is eclectic with Charlotte Mason and classical influences. She continues to encourage and support homeschoolers through her writings and curriculum development.
When she isn't teaching or writing she enjoys sightseeing, gardening, and cooking.

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