I think it’s pretty safe to say that being the parent of a child with ADHD can be difficult at times. As the mother of a teenager with this disorder, there is but one thing we’ve done that I truly feel has made a difference in an otherwise volatile situation.
We made the decision to homeschool.
My son was not always homeschooled. He spent several years in public school- long enough to see that it was a terrible environment for him to be in. He was miserable; therefore, the entire family was miserable and trying to cope with an almost unbearable situation.
I don’t want to see other families like ours go through that. Public schools just aren’t cut out for kids outside “the norm,” and that’s okay. There is a better solution.
100 Reasons to Homeschool a Child with ADHD
#1- They are less likely to need medication.
The most common reason children in school need medication is because it is next to impossible for them to sit still for 6 hours a day. In homeschooling, children are free to move around as they choose, rendering prescription drugs to be far less necessary.
#2- Their extra energy is an advantage, not a fault.
My son may be a wiggle worm, but he sure knows how to get things done once he’s set his mind on something. His extra energy is a huge asset in his hands-on homeschool routine.
#3- There’s no need for a dreaded IEP.
I know most parents of kids in school look at these as a good thing, but I just want to warn you- be careful what you wish for. Once you have one in place, the school will try to keep it there, even when it’s no longer necessary. (Remember, they get money from the government for special education students.) And once your child outgrows the need for it, they’ll continue to give your child work that is too easy for them so that they can justify keeping it in place.
#4- Your child will escape the stigma of being “special ed.”
Children with ADHD are not less intelligent. We know that. Unfortunately, classmates and, sometimes, teachers and administrators will begin to treat them as if they are. In a homeschool atmosphere, there is no need for labels.
#5- You can keep the lessons short.
School periods are usually from 45 minutes to an hour long, for which all of the students are expected to sit still, pay attention, and be quiet. We know that’s not happening with our active kids. Homeschooling allows us to give lessons in short spurts, rather than long, drawn-out torture sessions.
#6- Your child can take frequent breaks.
My son doesn’t do all of his schoolwork at once. He does it throughout the day, and that’s okay. He may do math at lunchtime, his grammar before dinner, and the rest at 10 pm. It doesn’t matter when it gets done, as long as it does.
#7- Sitting at a desk for long periods of time isn’t necessary.
Short lessons and frequent breaks come in handy this way.
#8- There is no ridicule by teachers for being unable to sit still.
I do not miss the weekly notes from my son’s teacher letting me know every little thing he did wrong. I know some adults who have a problem sitting for extended periods of time. Expecting children to, even children without ADHD, just isn’t reasonable.
#9- Physical activity can be easily incorporated into their homeschool lessons.
#10- They have more time to spend outside.
What better way to get rid of some extra energy than to be let loose in the great outdoors?
#11- They can wake up when they’re ready.
Unless we have an appointment or somewhere to go, I let my son sleep as late as he needs to. Sometimes he’s up bright and early, other days he may sleep until past 10 am.
#12- They can go to bed when they’re tired.
Some kids with ADHD have a really hard time falling asleep. Having to wake ap at 6am, or even earlier, to catch the school bus will do nothing but aggravate an already challenging situation.
#13- It’s much easier to keep an eye on who they associate with.
Kids are smart. They know who will be easy to talk into doing something stupid. Being more present around your children’s friends will help prevent that.
#14- They can “do school” when they’re ready.
You’ve probably already gathered that since I don’t wake my son up, I’m not nagging him to do his schoolwork at 8am everyday. He does it when he’s ready. Do I remind him? Yes, because organization isn’t his thing. But, as long as he completes his assigned work promptly, he has the privilege of starting whenever he wants to.
#15- They have more time to follow their own interests.
This isn’t even something I purposely incorporate into the day. It’s simply the result of having more time than a traditional school day would allow. Many parents don’t realize how much kids learn when they’re just doing things that intrigue them. Today I actually told my son not to worry about completing his school work because he spent the entire day making homemade play dough, sculpting things with that, watching YouTube videos on origami, making all kinds of beautiful origami art, and finally attending youth group. I guarantee he learned more from those things than he would have from his grammar lesson.
#16- Your child can embrace who they are.
Without the stigmas that can be picked up in school, your child can accept who God created them to be and be thankful for it.
#17- There’s no need to fit into the school mold.
Individuality is a plus in a homeschool setting. There is no need for cookie cutter copies of students.
#18- They can learn at their own pace.
Oh, this is a biggie. All kids develop differently, but for some reason, schools can’t seem to accommodate that without labeling kids according to their own narrow thinking. Homeschooling allows your child to learn the things they are ready for, and not a moment sooner.
#19- It is so much easier to integrate hands-on learning.
Traditional school is at a huge disadvantage in this area because they simply don’t have the time, space, resources, or manpower to let hundreds of students focus on physical learning. Homeschooling is the perfect place for it.
#20- Textbooks aren’t necessary.
If I, as an adult, think that textbooks are dreadfully boring, and I can’t pay attention to them, I would be a hypocrite to expect my son to. Textbooks aren’t necessary to learn. Thank God.
#21- Fidgeting is allowed.
I can’t imagine how hard it is for a child with a short attention span to sit still for hours at a time. It must be a nightmare. That’s why my son is allowed to fidget. In fact, it helps him process information far better than if all of his concentration were spent on trying to stay still.
#22- You can chew gum in class.
I say this rather tongue in cheek, but it falls right in with fidgeting. Chewing gum while working actually helps many kids with ADHD concentrate.
#23- As parents, we can find appropriate textbooks for our child.
As mentioned before, I’m not big on textbooks, but I did find two that are perfect for kids with short attention spans. His grammar book only takes about 5 minutes per day, and his algebra book is very no-nonsense and doesn’t include lots of busywork. (If you’re interested in what we use, the links are in #9.)
#24- They can eat whenever they want.
When my son eats affects his behavior as much as what he eats. Homeschooling allows him to munch on something anytime he needs to.
#25- They can eat whatever they want.
It’s so much easier to keep track of the sorts of food your child is eating if you’re right there with them.
#26- There are no teachers pushing for medication.
This is closely related to #1. Chances are, if a parent of a child with ADHD has opted not to medicate them for it, if they are in school, they will at some point have a teacher pressuring them to change their mind. Unfortunately, medication helps them maintain control in their class, although it can be harmful for their child.
#27- Your child won’t “miss the good stuff” because of being pulled out of class.
Kids with IEP’s are often taken out of their classrooms at least once a day to work with a learning support teacher. Unfortunately, this often occurs during the “fun” classes like art, music, gym, etc.
#28- Your child’s needs can be met as they arise.
If your child is having a tough day, they can take a breather. If they’re feeling especially restless, they can take things outside for some physical activities. There is no schedule that you must follow. Your homeschool is your homeschool.
#29- They can “do school” wherever they want.
Your child’s surroundings can have either a positive or negative effect on their behavior. If your child has the option of learning wherever they feel most comfortable, whether it is the living room, their bedroom, the backyard, or the library, they are more likely to have less trouble concentrating.
#30- Talking is okay.
Blurting out answers is not okay in school, but it is in homeschool.
#31- They can listen to music while doing their assignments.
Some kids need total quiet while they’re working. Others need some sort of background noise to drown out other things going on around them. IPods aren’t allowed in school, but they are in homeschool.
#32- They can choose books that interest them.
Reading can be a challenge to a child with ADHD. They may be the most fluent reader you know but may have no idea what they just read about. Allowing your child to choose their own books makes a world of difference.
#33- Audio books are always an option.
If your child does better with auditory learning, take advantage of the audio section of your library. Some kids do much better with them and improve by simply following along in the book.
#34- You can take full advantage of visual media.
Since homeschooling doesn’t have to be limited to textbooks, resources such as Netflix, YouTube, and various documentaries and movies can be used instead.
#35- Their creativity can shine.
Children with ADHD are innovative thinkers. Unfortunately, in public schools where conformity is expected, this doesn’t always work out very well. Not so when your child learns at home!
#36- Frequent field trips are a great learning idea for kids who like to move.
It’s common for traditional school students to only take field trips 1-2 times a year because of budget limitations. Homeschooling allows the opportunity to get your kids out and about whenever you please. And field trips needn’t be expensive. Trips to the playground, store, creek, and bank all count, too!
#37- Your child can “do school” at night.
A great deal of children with ADHD have difficulty sleeping at night. There are no rules about when homeschooling must be done. If your child is at their best at midnight, let them tackle their work then!
#38- There is no Common Core telling you what they need to learn about.
As of this writing, Common Core does not affect homeschoolers, and it’s a good thing. Rather than having the government dictate what your child must learn about, you can decide with your child’s input.
#39- There is no Common Core telling your child how they must learn.
One thing I’ve learned that a great many parents and teachers despise about CC is the way it dictates certain subjects to be taught- particularly math. Not so with homeschooling!
#40- Children can figure things out in their own unique way.
Since there is no CC looming over a homeschooled child’s head, they can figure things out in whatever way makes the most sense to them. My son amazes me with how he figures out his math. His way totally confuses me, but he gets the right answers, and that’s good enough for me.
#41- There are no requirements to learn math a certain way.
This fits right in with #40. How many times has your child brought home a test where the answer was marked wrong because they didn’t show their work or do it the way it was taught? Learning shouldn’t be about parroting. It should be about having the ability to work things out successfully on their own.
#42- There are no requirements to learn anything a certain way.
The same principles that hold true in #41 hold true for any subject. Take writing for example. Teachers may provide a certain formula to write a report, but in homeschooling, any methods used are valid- even learning writing simply from reading lots of books or doing copywork. Whatever works.
#43- Your child’s uniqueness is embraced.
As a parent, you should be your child’s biggest advocate. What better way to do that than by letting them be who God created them to be? In school, individuality is crushed, not celebrated.
#44- You can change up the homeschool routine as often as necessary.
What works for your child one day may not work for them the next. What works for your child one hour may not work the next. Homeschooling allows the freedom to tweak things whenever and however often you need to.
#45- Behavioral problems can be addressed immediately.
The favorite method used by teachers of informing parents of a behavior problem- the dreaded note home- may be the only option they have, but by the time your child gets home, the best opportunity to nip the problem in the bud has already passed. If your child is learning at home, any behavioral problems can be addressed immediately and in a way that you, as the parent, see fit.
#46- Your child has more time to focus on the “whys”.
When problem behaviors do arise in school, a scolding from the teacher isn’t enough to help permanently correct the problem. At home, you have ample opportunity to not only explain what your child shouldn’t do, but why they shouldn’t do it. Sometimes these things may not be so clear to our children.
#47- Family relationships have time to heal and improve.
Living with a sibling with ADHD can be hard. It is only compounded when they are separated all day long while in school and are only able to interact when they’re both overtired and overstimulated. Homeschooling allows these siblings to learn to live together, maybe not always in harmony, but with better understanding of each other.
#48- ADHD will not be used as an excuse.
I don’t know how many times sub-par work was accepted by my son’s teachers, when I knew he could do better, simply because he has ADHD. As your child’s parent, you know what they are capable of, so this condition should never be used as an excuse for laziness or bad behavior in a homeschool setting.
#49- ADHD won’t be your child’s label.
Unfortunately, in school, once your child is diagnosed with ADHD, your child will be labeled and looked at with that label for the rest of their school career. At home, parents don’t look at their kids as labels. (I hope.) They see them as people who they love and want the best for, no matter what.
#50- ADHD is not the focus of their learning.
Your child can focus on whatever they choose to. Having ADHD doesn’t have to hold them back from pursuing whatever they wish.
#51- They are better able to focus on self-control without the influence of other classmates.
I think we all know what happens when a bunch of bored kids are stuck together in a building all day, everyday. As parents of kids with ADHD, I think we all know that our children are the ones who are usually roped into performing whatever mayhem has been planned, simply because the other students are perceptive enough to see how impulsive our kids are.
#52- There is no bullying. (I should hope.)
Kids who are different tend to get picked on a lot. They stand out and are an easy target. Homeschooling is safer and more peaceful.
#53- There is no desperation to fit in.
Children who are desperate to avoid getting picked on by following the crowd are prone to doing stupid things. Don’t make this necessary. Keep them home.
#54- You can take breaks for however long is necessary to work on character issues.
Sometimes teaching your kids the “whys” takes a little longer to sink in. If you need to take a few days, or even weeks, to work on these things, then you can.
#55- They can take breaks when they are overstimulated.
There are times when endless activities may have been happening over a period of time, and your child reaches a point when they are on the verge of a meltdown due to overstimulation. As with #54, taking a break for however long they need is always an option, and one that should be considered.
#56- Lessons can be tweaked to fit your child’s needs.
Although most curriculums come with a teacher’s guide, in no way does this mean that you must do things exactly as they’re written. Take the liberty of using what works in a resource and ditching what doesn’t.
#57- Lessons can be ditched completely.
If a teacher’s manual says that something should be done that you know would never work for your child, ditch it. Curriculum is a tool. Don’t let it rule you.
#58- Curriculums can be ditched completely.
Sometimes you may find that your chosen curriculum isn’t working at all. Ditch it. It’s okay, and it does happen.
#59- ADHD does not have to be seen as a disability.
This is closely related to #48. In our home, ADHD is never looked upon as a disability, as it would be in school. It is simply part of his personality. Keeping your child home can help you to get this point across to your child. All too often I’ve seen both schools and parents use the “disability” label to the point where the child ended up feeling entitled all the time.
#60- There is more time to interact with nature.
There’s something about being outside in the fresh air, surrounded by God’s creation that can bring a feeling of peace and contentment. Additionally, studies have shown that children who are exposed to nature have less trouble learning.
#61- They can develop self-worth by helping out.
Children with ADHD often feel “less than”- especially those who have been in school. Homeschooling allows ample opportunities for helping out with things like housework, cooking, babysitting, and yardwork. Helping your child to feel needed is an outstanding way to boost their confidence.
#62- They can learn trades.
Homeschooled children are often presented with the chance to learn trades such as car repair, carpentry, and painting, which are all great hands-on learning possibilities.
#63- There is no drill and kill.
The favored method for schools to teach math is through “drill and kill”- endless, repetitious busywork meant to drill the skill into the student’s brain. Drill and kill is awful for the average student and is ten times worse for a child with ADHD. Homeschooling allows the chance to modify these monotonous lessons into short, manageable tasks.
#64- There is no incessant test prep.
I just can’t write about public schools without bringing up test prep. Sigh. Not only is this a horrible way to teach, but it is like nails on a chalkboard to a student with a short attention span. Test prep isn’t required in a homeschool setting. This one reason should be enough for any parent of an ADHD child to seriously consider it.
#65- Your child doesn’t have to be overscheduled.
The traditional school day is too long. It just is. Add to that the after-school programs and sports that so many parents feel obligated to have their kids participate in, that children are reporting higher levels of stress than ever before.
#66- There is more time for extracurriculars.
I know this seems to defeat the purpose of #65, but hear me out on this. Homeschooling doesn’t have to take nearly as long as school does. This leaves the entire day wide open for your child to participate in extracurricular activities without being forced to squeeze it in after a long school day.
#67- They have more free time.
If there’s one thing I know about kids with ADHD, it’s that they are some of the most creative kids I’ve ever met. Homeschooling allows these kids so much more free time to explore and take action on all of the wonderful ideas that pop into their heads at a moment’s notice.
#68- There’s no need for hours and hours spent in front of a screen for computer-based learning.
I think now would be a good time to point out that I am referring to homeschooling in this post- not cyber schooling. Cyber schooling would be terrible for children with ADHD for the sheer amount of time that must be spent being sedentary in front of a computer, doing dull, lengthy busywork. Cyber schools are not the only type of education guilty of overusing computer screens. Our school district has recently begun giving its students a certain amount of online learning to be done at school each day, and some of their standardized tests are also done on the computer. This is torture for an active child.
#69- There is no standardized test overkill.
Speaking of standardized tests…Although they are still required for homeschoolers in many states (thankfully, ours only requires them in grades 3, 5, and 8), we have the option of which test to use and how it will be given. Homeschoolers tend to not worry as much about standardized tests as public schools do but rather look at them as a necessary hoop to jump through in order to comply with state regulations.
#70- There doesn’t have to be any stress from the standardized tests.
Since there is so much overkill of testing in schools, it is a given how nervous children will be that time of year. Because homeschoolers don’t worry so much about test scores, that anxiety just doesn’t have to be there.
#71- There is no ranking by test scores.
One of the biggest mistakes schools make is using these test scores to determine which “track” to put these kids in. Some kids are great at guessing on these tests, while others have a solid knowledge of the material but freeze up at test time. Ranking does not happen at home, thank God.
#72- There is no fear of impatient teachers.
Some teachers just don’t have much patience. Add to that the stress of all that comes with the job these days plus a hyperactive student, and there are bound to be tensions between student and teacher. I missed over 30 days of school in 3rd grade because I was so afraid of my teacher who was constantly screaming at one of the boys in my class. Imagine how he felt.
#73- There is no fear of being held back because of not fitting the school mold.
Children who are homeschooled learn and develop at their own pace. The only mold is the unique one they were born with.
#74- Out of the box thinking is encouraged.
Teachers who are busy with a multitude of students simply may not have the time to accommodate the out of the box thinking that is common in children with ADHD, which is sad because some of their ideas are just brilliant. Homeschooling allows for this type of thinking which can finally be given the credit it so deserves.
#75- Entrepreneurship can be encouraged.
Because people with ADHD have such creative notions, they also devise some of the best ideas for businesses and entrepreneurships. Schools are focused more on teaching compliance so that students may someday be good employees. They don’t often thing of them as future employers.
#76- You can focus on your child’s strengths instead of their weaknesses.
Traditional schools are famous for telling children what they’ve gotten wrong. As homeschoolers, you can help your child focus on what they’ve done right, and go from there.
#77- There is no unfair criticism on their permanent record.
As anyone who has been in school, or has kids in school knows, teachers keep records of their students. These records often include little notes about what the teacher thinks of your child. These records are permanent, and anything written by your child will be seen by a future teacher, so if your student was seen as “uncooperative” or “excitable” or “challenging”, you can be sure their new teachers will make a mental note of that.
#78- They won’t be categorized.
This is a natural result of the records I mentioned above. Children who are placed at “the bad table” by one teacher are far more likely to be placed there by every teacher, regardless of their actual behavior.
#79- There will be no instances of teachers humiliating them in front of their classmates.
My oldest son, who was never formally diagnosed as having ADHD, although I strongly suspect it, was never good with organization skills. (At 23, he still isn’t. Two days ago he was frantically searching for his army hat because he had drill this weekend.) Instead of his teacher attempting to help him with these skills, she decided to assign his classmate, a girl who sat next to him, to pack up his backpack for him everyday. My son was humiliated, and it didn’t help him in the least.
#80- Their interests are supported, not suppressed or delayed until a future time.
When a child with ADHD is interested in something, they delve into it with all their hearts and are brilliant at actually focusing on this one thing, but you never know how long this interest will last. The last thing a child like this should be told is that they have to wait to learn about this topic until next week, or next year. When you homeschool your child, you are free to pursue their interests immediately as they come up, which will achieve the best results.
#81- Their curriculum can be tailored to fit them.
Just remember that you are in charge of your curriculum. Use it as you see fit.
#82- One-on-one time is more readily available.
Sitting down with your child to get through more difficult subjects is often the key to them developing understanding. It’s also a wonderful bonding experience. Take advantage of this.
#83- Homeschooling doesn’t have to look like school.
I think we’ve established that brick and mortar schools aren’t optimal for kids with ADHD. Take this to heart and realize that you can actually make learning fun and engaging for your child by thinking outside the box yourself.
#84- How your child learns is up to you and them.
As long as your child is not beginning homeschool with an IEP, you do not have to worry about the bureaucracy getting too involved with which learning methods you choose. That is between you and your child.
#85- You have your child’s best interests at heart.
Your child may have a teacher who genuinely adores them, but the reality is that they also have 25 to 30 other students and have to always think of the “greater good”. You can think of your child.
#86- Grades aren’t necessary.
Do grades stress your child out? Don’t grade them then! Many, many homeschoolers feel they’re a waste of time and do not give out report cards. I’m one of them.
#87- Tests aren’t necessary.
Do tests stress your child out? Don’t give them! It is far more effective to assess your child by interacting with them everyday and seeing what they’ve absorbed, and what they haven’t.
#88- They can be who they are without fear of repercussions.
Having the freedom to move around, learn how they choose, and pursue what they wish are great ways for your child to learn to express their uniqueness without shame.
#89- They have a say in what they learn.
My son has no interest in chemistry or physics at this time, so we will not pursue them. Ditto with advanced algebra and trig. There is no point insisting upon something that isn’t going to stick and has no real purpose for them.
#90- They have a say in how they learn.
My son loves to watch military history movies, so that’s how we’ve approached history. He loves to catch snakes, frogs, turtles, and bugs, so that’s how we’ve approached science. Ask your child for ideas.
#91- They can grow up away from “entitlement” indoctrination.
Schools today are more focused on teaching feelings than facts, and this has spurred on a generation of college students who are unable to handle any sort of adversity. (Safe spaces, post-election play dough sessions, therapy dogs, etc.) At home you can teach your child to work for what they want and to accept it if it doesn’t work out. This area seems to be a big fail in the education department these days.
#92- You can implement year round homeschooling for some much needed structure.
The need for structure is a biggie for kids with ADHD. Having large amounts of time with no routine can make things very difficult for them. Homeschooling year round with frequent, shorter breaks can easily remedy this.
#93- They can take advantage of opportunities for mentorship.
Kids who aren’t living within the strict school schedule have more time to pursue mentorships with trusted adults. My son recently worked with a neighbor, learning how to repair boats, and my uncle recently offered to show him how to do stained glass. This would have been far less likely had he been in school all day, everyday.
#94- They have more time to learn organization.
Organization is tough for kids with ADHD, and homeschooling provides the perfect chance to work on this. Right now, my son has his own lesson planner, and I have my own copy. He is to check off everything as he’s done it, and he brings it downstairs every night to go over it with me to see if he’s remembered to check everything off. Since I also keep track of what he’s done, it’s easy to see what he’s forgotten, and it gives him a sense of accomplishment to see those check marks.
#95- They have more time to focus on life skills.
As with organization, sometimes basic life skills are a bit more challenging for these kids. Getting easily distracted can be a bit of a hindrance with chores and can be downright dangerous with things like cooking, so exposing them daily to these tasks is crucial.
#96- They can be alone.
This is another biggie. Classroom learning can be especially difficult because you can bet that your child will notice every little thing that happens. A sneeze. Someone sharpening their pencil. The sounds of a classmate rummaging through their backpack. A bird resting on the branch outside. Homeschooling allows your child to find their own personal quiet space, whether it would be a bedroom, a classroom, or even their own office. This does wonders for their concentration.
#97- You can operate on a four day week.
This is something we’ve recently instituted, and it works wonders with our son. He is given his assignments for four days. He can choose to do these assignments at anytime throughout the day, as long as it gets done. Since life happens, there are often times that he doesn’t get to one thing or another on the scheduled day. Fridays are a make-up day on which he can complete anything he’s missed thorughout the week.
#98- You can find homeschooling resources for your child in the most unexpected places.
Sometimes kids can become interested in things that can be very hard to find a curriculum for- and I think this is for the best! I recently found a book that I thought would be a good inspiration for my son for his photography. It turned out that this book also included photography tips and enough additional information to use this as his science and social studies resource, as well. We’ve also already tweaked a unit study intended for my younger kids to match his level more appropriately because he was interested in that particular topic. Use your imagination!
#99- Your child will not be interrupted during their times of “flow”.
It’s hard to concentrate on anything in a place where a bell rings loudly every 50 minutes or so. Constant interruptions take away any inspiration a child has going at the time, and it often never returns. In a homeschool environment, your child can spend as much uninterrupted time on something they’re interested in as they please.
#100- You love your kids best!
As much as a teacher cares for a student, there’s just no comparison to the love of a parent who is concerned for them.
And now the giveaway!!
On Sunday, November 27th, I will be choosing one commenter who subscribes to my blog to win a download of my new unit study eBook based on the book Me and the Pumpkin Queen by Marlane Kennedy.
Simply leave me a comment stating how old your children are and the fact that you’ve subscribed. If you are already a subscriber, have no fear! You are also eligible- just let me know that you are already a subscriber. Easy peasy.
This unit study eBook is chock full of recommended resources, vocabulary words, and contains 72 activities to use alongside Me and the Pumpkin Queen.
Givaway ends at 10 PM EST on Saturday, November 26th!
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