Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD have trouble focusing, listening and putting effort into schoolwork but given the right nurture and care they often go on to achieve great things in life. Homeschooling a child with developmental disability like ADHD is often the right way to go about the child’s education. You get to personally understand your child’s needs and personality in a way that school teachers can’t understand and therefore you don’t compromise on your child’s learning. Some schools do offer dedicated curriculums for children with special needs to help them catch up to their peers; these facilities, however, are generally limited and overcrowded.
Homeschooling children with ADHD also comes with its own set of challenges. Without the usual structure of the classroom rules and environment, and the constant supervision of a professional educator it’s hard to keep track of lessons and homework let alone the discipline required to help your child focus and learn. But don’t be discouraged, homeschooling a child with ADHD may sound difficult to achieve, but it’s not impossible.
Here are three ways to support your child with ADHD during online schooling:
- Learning Techniques That Work Best for your Child.
Long and repetitive lessons require constant mental effort, and are difficult for most students especially for those with ADHD who easily get bored or distracted. Research shows that introducing another activity that employs a different sense during the learning process can effectively increase students’ attention spans. For instance, listening to soft music while doing math exercises or standing up while listening to a lecture in a virtual meeting will help your child focus better.
Sometimes it’s best not to force your own techniques to engage their attention towards learning. You should sit with your child and brainstorm what works best for them when it comes to learning, ask them what learning environment makes them feel comfortable and helps them focus better. You need to understand that every child is different and following a standard learning technique might not work in your child’s case.
- Keep Track of Time and Schedules
It’s tough work for students with ADHD to keep track of time and schedules. Setting reminders and alerts on the phone regarding class schedules, deadlines and other tasks can make it easier for them. Not only that, but breaking up the day into several tasks separated by timers can help them stay focused for longer periods of time. Applying the Pomodoro Technique, which basically involves focusing on a task for 25 minutes and then taking a 5 minute break can really give a boost to their productivity.
Creating easy-to-read and clear schedules is also of the utmost importance. Schedules need to be written concisely with only the most important information. Make use of sticky notes to jot down tasks or use sticky notes apps. The schedule needs to be kept in sight so have the schedule placed at eye-level in your child’s workspace or have it on the homepage of the digital device in use.
Having a clear idea of tasks in hand will help your child not feel anxious or overwhelmed. They’ll always know the next move and work efficiently towards their goals.
- Factor in Mental and Physical Breaks
For kids with ADHD taking regular breaks is crucial for maintaining their focus. Limit study time to chunks of 30-minutes and give your kid some time to do other things like gathering study material, taking a bathroom break or getting something to drink. After the break help your child get back into study mode with breathing exercises.
Homeschooling can involve a lot of time sitting passively with no physical activity. It is important that your kid gets the required physical activity to not only get rid of excess energy but to keep the mind healthy and active. Apart from physical activity, consider keeping some time aside for meditation which has been proven to be effective in helping kids with ADHD regain their focus and calm.
Online schooling for kids with ADHD can be a demanding task, but know that you’re not alone in this. You can make use of the information online on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to homeschooling a child with ADHD. Consider connecting with people facing the same situation as you on social media groups and forums to gain practical insight and advice. With a little patience and commitment you can help your child be the best version of themselves. Need support? Talk to our counsellor.