It’s very ironic to be writing this post tonight. (In characteristic ADHD fashion, I’m writing this about four hours before it’s supposed to go live.) Today was the first day that I actually visited an elementary school and inquired about enrolling my kids. I’ve called a few times before, but I’ve never actually gone up there.
And that is just one of the struggles of homeschooling for moms who have ADHD: consistent and unrelenting self-doubt.
In our family, both my husband and I, as well as our three oldest children, have ADHD. Personally, I had no idea that I even had it until about a year ago. That was one of the most jarring realizations of my life, because it caused me to re-examine my “normal” behaviors as more than just personality quirks.
Many of us are homeschooling kids with ADHD. But what is like to be a homeschooling mom with ADHD?
How My ADHD “Hid” From Me
First, I should explain that I am pretty much the definition of the undiagnosed ADHD girl. Sari Solden, in the book “Women with Attention Deficit Disorder“, describes the contrast between girls and boys who have ADHD during their school years.
While boys tend to show their ADHD through aggression and misbehavior, girls tend to show it by daydreaming and withdrawing. In public school, though, as long as you’re quiet and do a fairly good job of completing your work, no one will ever suspect you have ADHD.
That was me. I’m a huge bookworm, which I thought meant I couldn’t possibly have ADHD. I am capable of sitting still for extremely long periods of time, except I’m probably tapping my feet or rubbing my hands together. I daydream, but I would set aside time especially for that each day so it wouldn’t interfere with my classes. (I still do that, by the way.) I got excellent grades in school and I had a pretty normal social life.
What It’s Like to Be a Homeschooling Mom with ADHD
But as I’ve gotten older, my symptoms have worsened. I am chronically overwhelmed, usually due to a tendency to overcommit myself to projects. I tend toward what Dr. Amen calls Type 3 ADD, which means that I go into hyperfocus just about every day.
During my periods of hyperfocus, I block out everything while I work. And I mean, everything. Children run through the house screaming, dishes and laundry pile up, I go without food for six hours or more.
Naturally, this makes homeschooling a challenge. I often forget to plan our lessons in advance, which makes it hard to remember what to cover each day. I tend to be inconsistent in following our schedule, so I have one “good” day, typically followed by one “bad” day. The kids, who also have ADHD, also tend to be inconsistent. Unfortunately, our “good” days rarely align.
I constantly second-guess and doubt myself – not just because it’s hard for me to divide my attention between all four kids, but because my tendency to overcommit makes it almost impossible to live up to all of my obligations. And honestly, as my symptoms become worse, I’m not even sure that I will continue homeschooling for the long run. But that’s a topic for another day.
Generally, I give a few tips or suggestions for managing these kinds of things, but today I just wanted to say a little bit about what it’s like to attempt to manage this disorder in myself and in my kids. We’ll talk about solutions in the next couple of posts. 🙂
Are any of you homeschooling children with ADHD while dealing with the disorder yourself? How does it make homeschooling a challenge for you? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments!
This post is part of the 31 Days of ADHD Homeschooling series! Stop by tomorrow for Day 18: Homeschool Organization Tips for the Mom with ADHD!