Homeschooling a child with ADHD is a challenge. The biggest challenge with ADHD kids is their difficulty in focusing on lessons. If you cannot focus on school, you do not do as well. In our family, we have found that certain steps work better to help kids with ADHD focus than others.
Read the entire simple, no-nonsense guide to homeschooling ADHD here!
The Best Ways to Help Kids with ADHD Focus on Homeschool Lessons
These tips work to keep our ADHD kids focused and on task. We have found the great success implementing these tips for homeschooling a child with ADHD.
Of all the ways to help kids with ADHD focus, the most effective method for my ADHD daughter was to remove as many distractions as possible. A lot of ADHD blogs I’ve seen recommend giving an item for kids to play with during lessons, but that is detrimental to our success. I’ve found that the fewer things she has to distract her from what she is supposed to be doing the better our lessons go.
I think it might have something to do with how she hates to be bored.
If the only way to cure boredom is to do the lessons, then she’ll do her school without as much conflict.
Engage Their Interest
Most children with ADHD are perfectly willing to do something that interests them for hours. The more effort you put into planning lessons designed for the ADHD brain, the easier it will be to get your children to focus on learning.
Put some time into creating fun, hands-on homeschooling lessons together and you’ll both have the time of your life learning about anything.
Keep Lessons Short
Long lessons are torture to a child with ADHD. Don’t torture your kids. Keep lessons short. For young kids, spending about 20 minutes per subject should prevent many attitude and attention problems. Older kids might be able to handle 45 minutes per subject.
Personally, I usually halve whatever the suggested assignment is, unless it is incredibly important or something Monkey excels in.
Include One-on-One Time
Self-focus is difficult for the child with ADHD. Children with ADHD can learn to self-motivate and self-focus (which is one of the biggest advantages to homeschooling a child with ADHD), but it takes time. The more time you spend directly involved with each subject and individual assignment, the less chance there will be for distraction. My kids excel with one-on-one teaching time, which is on of the main ways we help kids with ADHD focus.
When Monkey was formally evaluated by a psychologist, she told us the best thing we could do for Monkey was to spend most of our time focusing on the positive aspects of ADHD. This advice has really helped cut down on the number of rough homeschooling days that we face. We try to praise Monkey and offer rewards for effort rather than achievement. This has helped encourage Monkey to make efforts on her own to conquer the worst parts of ADHD.
Encourage Activity Before Lessons
A study from 2008 found that children with ADHD were able to focus better on lessons if they first spent time outdoors. It is unclear whether it is simply any form of activity before lessons that helps, or if there is something specific to outdoor time that helps children focus better. Regardless of the reason, letting your ADHD child run around for a few minutes before lessons will help them focus better on seatwork. Try having your ADHD child run around the house three times before each subject, or you can try backyard races or jumping games. If you are also active, you just might find that your mood improves, too!
Show Progress Visually
My ADHD daughter will work hard to accomplish a goal she can see. She prefers visible, tangible rewards. For example, this summer, although she hates reading, she is reading 10 books so she can earn a Girl Scouts reading patch. We track her progress on a chalkboard to record how many books she has read, which helps her stay motivated to finish. Positive rewards are one of the most effective methods I’ve found for getting her to work hard to focus on school.
What tips work for helping your child with ADHD focus on homeschooling? Share your advice in the comments!