You can’t homeschool a child with ADHD in a traditional classroom setting. If your visions of setting up your homeschool room include recreating a one-room schoolhouse filled with desks lined in a row and maps on the wall, your chances of success while homeschooling ADHD are virtually zero.
A child with ADHD will hate sitting at a traditional kid’s desk.
Because they can’t move their legs or sit in weird positions. That chair will crash to the floor in seconds.
Your ADHD child will also find wall posters distracting. You think they are working on a math worksheet when, suddenly, they are telling you about the agricultural imports and exports of Idaho.
You will probably also find ADHD homeschooling easier if you keep your ADHD child’s homeschool area away from windows.
So, what does work for a homeschool room for a child with ADHD?
Any area free of distractions that provides space for independent learning and movement should work well.
Luckily, the trend in all classrooms in recent years has been to allow more freedom of movement. This has made it much easier to find items for your ADHD homeschool room at any store.
How to Set Up an ADHD Homeschool Room for Hands-On Learning
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You will have greater success when homeschooling your child with ADHD when you keep the following criteria in mind:
Remove General Distractions
It is incredibly hard to focus my child with ADHD. She finds the slightest thing distracting, like the click that the coffee pot makes when it turns off. She (and Bo as well) has been known to bolt out of bed, run across the entire house to our bedroom when we are sleeping to ask about a small squeak or rustle.
My kids are distracted by movement, sounds, smells, each other, and their own thoughts.
To get our homeschool to work, we have to remove as many distractions as possible during school time. At various times, we have implemented all or some of the following:
- Turning off the dishwasher, music, dryer, and anything else that makes noise.
- Not hanging any sort of visually stimulating poster in our homeschool room.
- Putting up study carrels around each child’s work to keep them from distracting each other.
- Keeping a ton of extra pencils and school supplies around so the kids don’t waste time looking for the item they just had and managed to lose already.
- Only bringing out one subject at a time.
- Trying not to look like what I am doing is in any way interesting.
Provide Easy Access to Materials
I’ve found that for Monkey, she loves feeling in charge of her education. We do this by allowing her free access to school supplies, particularly our STEM supplies so she can make her own STEM activities. We are eventually planning to move entirely to a cubby system for our school supplies (I’m eyeing those fancy Ikea cubbies), but for now, we just have a makeshift cubby arrangement in our closet.
Make Your Homeschool Area Comfy
It’s pretty much torture for any of the members in our family to sit on uncomfortable chairs. Monkey and Bo fall out of our dining room chairs at a ridiculous rate. We much prefer doing on school on comfy surfaces. I only make Monkey do table work for writing and occasionally math if she starts to get sloppy. Monkey and Bo have beanbag chairs that they love sitting on for school work. Monkey will sit and look at her science books for an hour or more in her beanbag, and miraculously, she hardly moves.
Create a Specific Distraction-Free Zone for Each Child
When you homeschool multiple ages, your ADHD child will need extra alone time for some tasks. I’ve set Monkey up with a little study area in her room where she can go to focus. We also let her do work alone in my office, which has a traditional desk that makes writing assignments easier. In my dream house, I have a closet desk set-up for my kids.
Don’t Include Toys
I’ve seen some combination homeschool/playrooms, and they look awesome, but for the ADHD kid, this style of classroom would be torture. Keep your toys put away when homeschooling an ADHD child.
Provide a Space for Hands-On Learning
Make sure you provide a large workspace, such as a table or open area of the floor, for hands-on learning. If you do a lot of science projects or STEM activities for kids, place your table on a hard floor, or even move it outside.
Examples of Awesome ADHD Homeschool Rooms
We live in a small house. Our homeschool space consists of a small closet, a bookshelf, and a cubby. Consequently, our homeschool room is the entire house. But if I had my way, our ADHD homeschool room would look like some of these awesome homeschool workspaces:
This quite reading nook from House of Papaya would be perfect for a child with ADHD.
A closet study area is what I’m hoping to build for Monkey’s quiet study time one day like this one from I Heart Organizing.
This minimalist homeschool classroom from All Things G&D would be perfect for a kid with ADHD.
I could see this homeschool classroom set-up from Right Where We Are working well for several kids who have to work in the same room. Facing the wall eliminates some sibling bickering during school.
Essentials for the ADHD Homeschool Room
We’ve found these items to be extremely helpful in our ADHD homeschool room.
- Bean bag chairs
- Cubby storage
- Extra pencils and pens (so many extra)
- Fidget toys (these work best when the child is listening to lessons, not when trying to complete an assignment)
- Study carrel
- Progress/reward charts
- Extra pencils and pens
- Homeschool curriculum for ADHD
Brain Break Cards for Kids with ADHD
Kids are easily overwhelmed with work if they have ADHD. One simple way to help a kid with ADHD reset is to implement brain breaks. These 60-second or less activities help reset a child’s brain and gets her out of the flight or fight mode. You can use these at home or in the classroom!