Teaching to a child affected with ADHD is enough to challenge as it stands, as well as entrusting him/her to an actual school, but weighing the pros and cons of doing it yourself is a whole other story: from supplies to the actual relationship with the subject, there are many factors involved.
Andrew Adesman, MD, Chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, stationed at Steven and Alexandra Cohen’s Children’s Medical Center of New York, cautions prospective homeschooling parents that “it is not for the faint of heart.” Also, he said that “It requires a fairly substantial commitment on the part of the parent.” He adds that even in the best of households, homeschooling may not be what a child with ADHD needs.
An Assessment Before Homeschooling
According to Kathy Kuhl, who authored “Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner,” the said parents and guardians planning on homeschooling should ask themselves these four questions before they pull their children out of formal school.
Do you want to teach? The first question that should be asked is whether if you’re up to the task. Do you like explaining how things work, like how cookies are made? Have you got the patience needed for this task? Those are the first questions you may want to ask.
Can you afford it? With homeschooling, the least that may happen is that one parent may have to stop work to attend to the child in question. However, homeschooling still entails the expenses for equipment in an actual school: books, school supplies, and the like. Kuhl even observed that everyone she knew who homeschooled has bookshelves installed.
Do you have the kind of relationship that will accommodate homeschooling? Parents/guardians should assess how they are with the child in question. Can they rely on them to do simple tasks? If the answer is no, they may have to reconsider about homeschooling. “Parenting in general is hard these days. Parenting a child with special needs is often harder,” said Dan Peters Ph.D.
Are there useful local resources available for the homeschooling parent? Depending on where the household is located, there may be excellent homeschooling resources, Kuhl relates. State or local sources may help you with advice for this endeavor.
What Homeschooling Can Do To Your ADHD Kid
Homeschooling has been reported to have multiple benefits to a child with ADHD. The benefits are as follows:
- Customizable curriculum, fit for the child’s needs. You can hasten the subjects at will, in sync with how fast the child learns. According to Dona Matthews Ph.D., “You can make time for creativity, play, outdoor time, nature exploration, community involvement, the arts, science experiments, or project learning.”
- Customizable schedules, unlike a regular school, to accommodate the child’s quirks and needs
- No set criteria to follow, so the child isn’t stuck in the same routine for too long.
- Limited, if no distractions.
What Can Happen If You Choose Homeschooling
As with everything, homeschooling also poses several pitfalls to the household in question. Here are some of them, enumerated:
- Marital strain. Homeschooling demands for the parent to do the homeschooling his/her time, which may dig into the couple’s “alone time,” related Kuhl.
- Double the strain; instead of only filling for your child’s educational needs, you would also need to adapt to his/her psychological needs
- Lack of access to facilities such as gymnasiums, science facilities, art studios, and the like, hindering the child’s learning opportunities.
- Dimmed social skills. As with every disorder that can isolate the patient, they may feel cut off from the outside world, from their peers.
Overall, as with all things, balance is the key to making sure homeschooling works out for you and the child in question. You will have to make sure your child gets to still have the best of both worlds, despite the condition at hand.
“A child’s ability to overcome daily challenges are best met when parents, educators, and mental health providers are on the same page”, said Annabella Hagen, LCSW, RPT-S.