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How to Engage Your Active Homeschooled Child

It is impossible to ignore the fact that the diagnosis of childhood ADD/ADHD is growing at an alarming rate in this country. There are many reasons that are presented for this epidemic; some even rooted in science!

On this site, too, we often write about the role that dyes and food additives may play in children’s behavior, leading to the development of ADD/ADHD behaviors.

How to Engage Your Active Homeschooler

Unfortunately, but to some extent understandably, the method of management that traditional school settings have taken is medication. Having their child diagnosed with – or even being “suspected” of having – ADD/ADHD and thus facing the inevitable, has led many parents I know or have spoken with to begin homeschooling.

It is not the intent of this article to discuss, explain the cause of or offer treatment approaches to this condition; but I DO wish to offer resources, encouragement, and tips to help the homeschooling parent “keep on keepin’ on” educating their very active child!

Some helpful strategies for teaching active children…

Below are listed some teaching strategies, adapted from classroom management techniques, that can be used at home:

  1. pay attention to good behavior
  2. ignore minor misbehaviors
  3. provide feedback on behavior
  4. provide specific feedback as often as you can
  5. provide positive reinforcement first
  6. develop routines
  7. post house rules (keep them short, simple and few) let child help decide them with you
  8. plan ahead for problems
  9. consider instructional need – acts out in public, ask: what have they not learned about anger, expressing wants, frustrations, etc
  10. and most importantly: don’t give up!

Other ideas, and additional resources

11.  Allow healthy snacks while working, jaw movement stimulates the brain and they develop a pattern of working/chewing/working/chewing, which develops a rhythm; studies have shown that rhythm enhances learning. Eating is also a relaxing activity for many, and this helps with the ability to concentrate and learn.

12. Rubbing textured objects help kids listen better, and helps calm those who are anxious. Provide double stick tape with textured pieces of fabric, sandpaper, etc on one side and let your child rub them while they’re working.

  • HelpGuide.org  describes themselves as “a trusted non-profit resource”. Their page “Helping children with ADHD succeed at school”, lengthy and rather detailed, is directed at success in a traditional classroom setting. However, you might want to take some time to read through it and see if there is something you can adapt or use in your own home.
  • Time 4 Learning has an online curriculum directly dealing with the unique challenges of teaching a child with ADD/ADHD. I have no personal experience with this provider, but have read some good things about them. Their site definitely has some good information about teaching challenges presented by ADD/ADHD, so you may want to check them out at least.
  • LearningRx is a science and research-oriented “brain training” program that may offer help for students diagnosed both with ADD and/or ADHD. You can chat with someone online on their site with any questions you might have about their methods for either diagnosis.
  • Learning Disabilites Association of America has loads of information regarding everything from assessment and evaluation to resources and strategies to help your child get a solid education.
  • Although targeted to teachers in traditional schools, there is much information to be gleaned from TeacherVision. They have an entire section of articles on teaching and reaching the child with ADD and ADHD. Note: This is a subscription site, but they allow you to view 5 items for free before allowing you full access via subscription. The articles I read that were most helpful, found on their “Teaching Strategies for Students with ADD/ADHD” page were “Modifying Instruction…”, “Teaching Children…” and “The Art of Teaching” (the last one led to a bunch more articles!!). The cost is $39.95/yr, but they do have a 7-day free trial and a free newsletter that you can receive.

Another section that I appreciated was the “Top 15 Pieces of Advice from Veteran Teachers”. Here is an excerpt of the list, relevant to homeschoolers:

  1. Keep a sense of humor
  2. Realize that you will make mistakes
  3. You can’t do it all at once
  4. Buy a large scrapbook
  5. Leave your personal problems at the door
  6. Find a mentor
  7. Accept help whenever it is offered
  8. A smile or kind word first thing can change the pace of the day
  9. Start the school year the way you want the rest of the year to progress
  10. No matter how hard you try to please others, never stop trying to please yourself…

Additional helps for homeschooling families…from other homeschoolers!

We are truly blessed to be part of the iHomeschoolNetwork, an association of homeschool bloggers who approach homeschooling from a host of angles and have a wealth of combined experience.  The following list is a collection of activities, ideas, commentary, and encouragement they have shared with us for those families loving and teaching their children with ADD or ADHD at home.

iHomeschool Network

Please feel free to check out their information…glean what you can and pass over the rest!

Our Questions Surrounding a Child with ADD/ADHD – StartsAtEight.com

Homeschooling with ADD/ADHD Children – TeachBesideMe.com

Advantages of ADD – CurrClick Blog

Essential Supplies for Homeschooling Fidgety Kids – SchoolingAMonkey.com

BrainTraining: Fun Ways to Build Stronger, Active Brains – OurJourneyWestward.com

Tips on Teaching Highly Distractable Kids – AdventuresInMommydom.org

How I Teach Active Learners – AdventuresInMommydom.org

The Best Sensory Gifts for Kids – MyLittlePoppies.com

Sensory Stuff – MyLittlePoppies.com

Homeschooling Children with Sensory Stuff – YearRoundHomeschooling.com

31 Days of ADHD Homeschooling – LookWe’reLearning.com

ADHD e-books – LookWe’erLearning.com

5 Things That Make ADHD Homeschooling Easier – LookWe’reLearning.com

3 Tips for Raising Boys with ADHD – LookWe’reLearning.com


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Pat is a Yankee city-girl who has been adopted by the sleepy, sunny south. Married for 30 years and the mother of 5, she woke up one day recently to discover she reached the stage of life where she is the “older woman” described in Titus 2:3-5. A coffee lover, the purchase of a coffee shop a few years ago was her personal foray into the small, family-owned business arena.Today, PatAndCandy.com is her outlet for packaging up and sharing the nuggets of wisdom God and life experiences have taught her.
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2 Responses to How to Engage Your Active Homeschooled Child

  1. Tonia February 3, 2016 at 9:00 am #

    Great tips. I have a wiggly daughter – I don’t know how often she’d fall off her chair in the middle of working on grammar or math. I’d like to try a balance ball for her to sit on during school – I think that may help!

    • Pat February 3, 2016 at 9:59 am #

      I’d love to hear how that works for you, Tonia! My friend’s son used to sit upside down on the couch with his feet bouncing in the air when she read to him. I don’t know if I could have stood that, but it worked for them!!
      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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