Hi everyone! Welcome to the next installment in our series “Homeschooling with ADHD.” Today we’re talking about how we can prepare kids to learn.
One of the most common indicators of ADHD is the inability to adjust your train of thought. For ADHD kids and adults, thought patterns are often like runaway engines, speeding down a single track in one specific direction. At times, this can be really useful, especially if there’s a project or task that needs finishing. At other times, though, it can make it almost impossible to perform the simplest task.
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Dealing with ADHD Distractions
We see this with Tigger a lot. On occasion, she’s so wrapped up in her thoughts that she is literally unable to comprehend and follow a simple instruction. It’s not that she doesn’t know what to do.
It’s that, at those times, she is literally incapable of getting it done because she’s so fixated on her own thoughts. Naturally, this poses a real problem during schoolwork.
So, here are a couple of things that we’ve found to be helpful in combating (or accommodating) this tendency.
ADHD Teaching Tips
1. Physical activity early in the day.
I read this in a great article from Additude Magazine and it really does work. Let the kids get up and move around as soon as possible after they wake up.
All of our kids wake up full of energy, but Tigger is especially like this. For a while, we would do a basic workout routine followed by stretching and a song right after breakfast. On other days, we would do household chores before we even sat down to breakfast.
Every time we did an activity like that before school, Tigger had an easier time concentrating. (Before I had Piglet, I was better about following this but I’ve been slacking since then.)
2. Hardest work first.
Tigger is literally afraid of math. She’s quite good at it when she concentrates, but her initial reaction is that she can’t do it or it’s too hard to complete it. Most of the time, she approaches her math work with a “Let me hurry up and get this out of the way” mindset, which results in lots of silly errors and oversights.
So, when we do math, we usually tackle it first. We’ve also learned to assign less work at once. She might complete half of a worksheet in the morning and then finish it later in the afternoon.
3. Short but relaxed lessons.
This one might seem obvious, but I wanted to emphasize the “relaxed” aspect. Previously, I’d read about some parents with ADHD kids who implemented a kitchen timer to keep their kids on task. I tried this once with Tigger and she almost had a meltdown.
Rather than being motivated to complete her work, she was afraid of not finishing before the alarm went off, which just resulted in more hurried work and more mistakes. So I kicked the kitchen timer to the curb.
Instead of timing her, I started timing MYSELF. I set the timer for 20 minutes and did not allow myself to spend more time than that on one subject. That did wonders for her productivity and her overall attitude about learning.
Do you have any pointers for helping your kids get ready for learning? Feel free to share them in the comments!
- Homeschooling with ADHD: Adapting as a Teacher
- Homeschooling with ADHD: Making Lifestyle Changes
- Homeschooling with ADHD: Managing Expectations
- Homeschooling with ADHD: Considering the Other Kids
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