Are you homeschooling a kiddo with ADHD and struggling to keep their attention?
Then you realize how tough it can be. Trying to keep their attention while making sure they’re learning to their full potential is incredibly challenging, to say the least. Personally, as a homeschool mom to a son with ADHD, I feel like I’m constantly trying to keep him on task, keep his attention towards his homeschooling, and the list seems like a million miles long! I mean how many times do I have to tell him that he needs to get his work done before the end of the day? Am I talking to a brick wall?
Over the years, I’ve discovered quite a few things that help when it comes to homeschooling and boy it makes a huge difference! Here are some things that have been lifesavers to keep attention when homeschooling an ADHD child.
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Ok, I have to admit this isn’t the only thing that has to be done when it comes to homeschooling and ADHD child to keep their attention, but it does make a difference. Try to keep the distractions to an absolute minimum if you can. Try these tips for keeping distractions out:
- Take away the electronics when they’re working on homework (unless they’re schooling online). If they’re schooling online, make sure they are staying on the sites they’re supposed to. That was a tough one when I started homeschooling him online.
- Music. I do have to say I let him listen to music and that really seems to help as well, but make sure they’re not high energy songs because that just sparks his high energy back!
- Keep siblings separate as needed. My son doesn’t have any siblings, but I can only imagine what it’d be like if I did. That would definitely be an essential one for me.
Consistency is essential! Period. Have a set schedule. Of course, homeschooling an ADHD child, you have to learn to be flexible, but a routine is absolutely key to having a successful homeschool and to keep their attention. ADHD kids thrive on routine. They have to know what to expect. Here are some tips on having consistency in your homeschool:
- Have breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time each day.
- Post a schedule of what assignments they have to do so they know ahead of time what they’re doing.
- Write checklists for everything! A checklist for homeschool, a checklist for morning routine (breakfast, make their bed, brush teeth, etc), a bedtime checklist, and so on.
- Have a consistent bedtime.
- Set a timer for each homeschool subject so they can keep track on how much time they have left on one topic.
- Let them help plan the schedule & assignments. Sure, you can’t let them plan every little thing, but involve them to see what they’re interested in learning.
- Don’t overwhelm them. I know if my son has too many things to do, he will break down and not be able to focus. Keep things simple. I know a lot of homeschool parents that do one subject a day for their ADHD kiddos. It doesn’t work for us, but every child is different. It may work for you so it’s definitely something to try.
- Change things up. Yes, it’s key to have a schedule so they know what to expect, but you can change things up in the schedule. Maybe a different way of learning the subjects. If you mostly homeschool inside, maybe take a day out of the week and homeschool outside. On Fridays, we either do a nature study, do a virtual field trip, or do a unit study from a movie or Netflix documentary and once a month on a Friday, I treat him to a regular field trip of some sort. It gives him some extra motivation to get his work done during the week/month.
Keep Them Active
It is essential to keep your ADHD kiddos active if you’re going to keep their attention! They need to get out that energy so they don’t lose their mind sitting in one place homeschooling. My son has so much energy, he needs to get it out so he can focus on the important stuff! The following are tips that really have helped in homeschooling my ADHD son:
- PE. Yes, physical education! Since my son is such a highly energetic kid, I put P90X or a similar-type workout on and have him get it out. I make sure he burns that energy with a fast-paced hard workout. Sports are also a great way to burn the energy, although, I think my son needs something to burn off the energy after lunch so that’s when I have him do his PE.
- Get a wiggle chair or a Sit-Around Cushion. I got my son a yoga ball to sit on instead of a regular chair. That way he can move around and stay a bit active while still maintaining focus on his school work.
- Get chew toys. My son would constantly chew on the collar of his t-shirt so I got some of those chew toys for his schooling and it’s worked wonders…both for his attention and keeping his shirts from needing to be replaced so often. I don’t do fidget toys, but that’s just my preference. I find that it becomes more of a play toy & distraction rather than a fidget tool.
- Essential oils. Ok, I admit that I’m still learning about essential oils, but I did some research and got an essential oil called Attention Assist and it seems to help quite a bit so it’s definitely something to consider.
- Take plenty of breaks. We school for 1 hour on math and English, and 30 minutes for all other subjects and take a 10-minute break between subjects. This is a great time to fit small chores in as well.
Keep Them Interested in Learning
This one is absolutely key to homeschooling an ADHD child if you want to keep their attention! If they’re not interested in the subjects they’re on, it’s going to be extremely tough to get them to not only take in the information they learn but also ENJOY learning! If they like video games, try to incorporate them into your homeschool routine. The video game loving child might be interested in Minecraft so search on Pinterest for their plethora of ideas on Minecraft homeschooling.
You’ll be surprised of all the options you have. Have them write a story of what they did in their video game. It’s a good way of getting them creative and using their imagination! Here are some other great ways of teaching your ADHDer:
- Unit studies
- Printables & worksheets
- Learning games
- Short-colorful lessons
- Hands-on learning
- Visuals & visual cues
- Verbal directions
- STEM/STEAM projects
- Task cards/demonstrations
- Read-Aloud Q’s & singing lessons
- Learning through play
- Keep lessons short
- 1-on-1 teaching time
- School at child’s best time of day when they’re willing to work
- Show progress visually
- Sing Spell Read Write learning program
Well, there you have it ladies & gents!
I hope this helps and inspires you to make sure you’re maximizing your homeschool time. Keeping distractions at bay, staying consistent, keeping them active, and ensuring they interested in what they’re learning are all essential pieces to the puzzle when homeschooling your ADHD child. If something isn’t working, change things up and try a new tactic and most of all don’t give up!
What did you think about this article? Was it helpful? Have you tried any of these homeschooling tactics? Drop a comment below and tell me your thoughts! If you like this article, you can also head check out my other post on How ADHD Impacts Social Skills & Practical Tips to Overcome It!
Don’t forget to get your FREE Editable Daily Routine Checklist & Task Cards here.
Your Minnesota Country Girl, Sharla
More about Sharla
Sharla blogs at Minnesota Country Girl. She’s an Air Force veteran, single mom, homeschooling mom, gardener, hunter, fisher, explorer of new & exciting places and a little of everything in between!! Visit her site for homeschooling and homesteading inspiration! You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
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