I am no expert. I have no training, certification, or degrees relating to homeschool & ADHD. This is not an article for how to successfully homeschool your child with ADHD. I am not qualified to provide such advice to anyone looking for help. This is about my child with ADHD and what homeschool looks like for us. I hope it provides hope.
My Kid with ADHD
My youngest, Brooks, has Inattentive ADHD. I HATE labels and I hate even more that I’m writing this with these labels. But how would you know what this article was about without the dang label attached to it?? Since I’m now on the topic of labels, let me share my personal opinion about them based on what I know with how I have educated myself in that area. I think most of them are terrible. Maybe they are necessary, but I think people begin to identify with their label and not who they actually are. Brooks is not an ADHD child. He is a beautifully created, wonderful child that has behaviors that the medical establishment has labeled as Inattentive ADHD. We label it as a superpower. Society labels it a disorder. That’s such B.S.
Yep, we tell him that the thing that provides so much daily frustration is a superpower. My husband also has this amazing gift. We explain this gift like Superman’s Heat Vision. When learning how to use it, he was probably frustrated and perhaps even laser-beamed right through some things and destroyed them! It takes time to really learn how to use it.
It can be super frustrating because he has to get school done, and it’s definitely a challenge in that area. I certainly refuse to have him think that he has a disorder because his brain works differently. Some of the most successful people in the world have ADHD. Many go so far as to say it is the very reason or their success. That’s freaking amazing!!!
Yet, it’s still widely believed that children, especially those in public school, should be medicated so the symptoms can be “managed.” Sometimes their behaviors can be disruptive in the classroom if they are hyperactive or impulsive. Other times they might be labeled as slow because they show no interest and lack the discipline to pay attention. My brilliant husband was almost put in remedial reading in elementary school. He was just bored out of his mind. In high school, he was finally evaluated and was placed in the gifted class. He has some wicked ADHD, too!
I Know What Doesn’t Work
I did not really know Brooks had ADHD until after we started homeschooling. My five years homeschooling him have been a learning journey for sure. I’m still learning every day. I have no answers and no solutions right now. I’m still trying to figure out what will work best for him. I’m in it for the long haul. I’ve made the commitment to be there for him as his biggest fan through all of this, and I’ve made him the promise that we will figure this out together. I have mostly discovered what doesn’t work! That’s progress 🙂
I remember one day standing in my kitchen (which is where I spend most of my day) and looking over at Brooks playing with Transformers and Legos and shaking his leg. It appeared he wasn’t doing school. I turned and said, “Why can’t you just….”, and I finished the rest of the thought in my head. In that moment I realized that he can’t.
He can’t JUST do most of the things I want him to do in the way I want him to do it. He’s not capable of sitting still and doing school. He needs movement. He needs something in his hands to help chew up the extra cycles in his brain so he CAN focus. What looks like a complete, unfocused mess is him really doing the work. I looks NOTHING like paying attention, but it works for him. He requires more breaks and down time than Bryce. They are completely different!
I Let Go of the Ideals in my Head
I say all this to let you know that homeschooling a child blessed with ADHD is a process. It is not something you figure out all of a sudden. It’s a partnership with your child. It requires more patience and more strength and more grace. For me personally, it’s been more about letting go than trying to gain control. The more I let go of the “ideals” in my head about the way he should be, the more beautiful he becomes each day.
The same holds true for my oldest. The more I Iet go of how he should be and how he should act and perform in school, the more brightly he shines. Our kids are far more brilliant than we often realize. They just need space to shine.
I write this to encourage you on this journey. If you find yourself in tears almost daily over the struggles of homeschooling a child with ADHD, you are not alone. I’m working on it and it gets a little better each day as I discover new ways of letting go and equipping him with tools so he can be his best self. It can be a beautiful process if you let it.
I am learning more and more about how his amazing brain works. I am trying new things all the time. He has yet to take medication, and it is my goal that he NEVER has to. Given the proper environment, ADHD is absolutely a superpower and a blessing. With help, he just has to learn to harness it and use it well. It really is a blessing.
Make sure to check out my top 12 homeschool tips. I even threw in a bonus tip for you!