If you’re homeschooling your ADHD child or children, odds are you’ve had an off day … or 20. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Those days when 1 of 2 things happens–either your child sits and stares for hours at the work in front of him/her and takes about 6 hours to do 20-30 minutes worth of work or the days your child is adamant he/she knows nothing, winding themselves up to the point of being unable to complete the school day.
That was about 90% of our first school year his first year homeschooling (1st grade). I briefly discussed a bit about why we chose to homeschool and some of the events that led up to that decision, so it’s understandable that his first year was this difficult. His second year was better, but we still seemed to have those days a bit more frequently than I would have liked. This year, his 3rd year, we hadn’t had a single super difficult day … until today.
Today my oldest sat for twice the time it normally takes him to complete all of his work. Keep in mind, he wasn’t toiling away. Most of that time was spent staring at just about everything but the work in front of him. He had been going at a decent pace for the most part, but the second he hit his math work (his hardest subject by far) it all came to an end.
You may be wondering why I let him sit there instead of just giving up for the day. The reason being, so much of this is a game of wills. My highly intelligent, stubborn, independent, firstborn ADHDer will test the boundaries like the Velociraptors in Jurassic Park–systematically and calculatingly. The second he detests a breach in my will, he will take full advantage. Part of it is his age, part of it is his personality and part of it is a mystery to me. I can’t begin to understand what may have triggered today’s persistent lack of doing and you can’t actually make a child do anything (not in a healthy manner anyway), so what do you do?
Here 5 tips I’ve learned over the last 3 years on how to healthily and positively deal with those difficult ADHD homeschool days (many of these could be applied to homework time for those who aren’t homeschooling their ADHDers):
1. Don’t Get Upset
2. Don’t Take it Personally
3. Try to Determine if There’s a Reason for the Behavior
You should also consider if the actual program or curriculum is simply not working for your child if he/she can’t seem to progress through the materials. We’ve changed curriculum as needed throughout the last 3 years to adjust to our son. Sometimes what once worked or what worked for someone else just won’t work for you.