Have you ever had a day when your child just didn’t want to do anything related to school? And I mean, nothing. No writing, no reading, no drawing, no math, no nothing.
Since we’re currently homeschooling three kids, there’s usually one that is just not in the mood for school that day. Initially, I thought that I should just give them a day or two off, but when those uninspired days stretch into weeks, then we have a problem.
All kids need to form connections to what they’re learning, but children with ADHD need to do so even more. Developing a strong interest in the subject at hand is generally the best way to help kids with ADHD maintain their focus. (This explains why some kids with ADHD can watch TV for hours on end, but won’t sit still to read.)
What can you do when your ADHD child is feeling uninspired? Here are a few suggestions to help you motivate your ADHD child to learn!
Image: danilkorolev / Dollar Photo Club
How to Inspire Motivation in ADHD Kids
“Strew” Their Path with Various Subjects
If you’re familiar with the philosophy of unschooling, you already know all about “strewing”. (If you’re unfamiliar with it, this is a great book about unschooling.) We’re not unschoolers, but I love the art of strewing our kids’ paths with all kinds of things. I might get a book that covers a new topic or have the kids watch a short documentary about a part of the world we’ve never covered. There’s usually something they see that makes them want to know more.
Strewing is especially helpful for preparing the ground when you’re ready to introduce a new concept. For instance, if I know we’re going to talk about East Asia in an upcoming geography lesson, I might learn how to say a few words in Japanese and mention them at the dinner table. Then, the kids generally want to know more about Japan, which makes the subject much more interesting when we cover it in depth later.
Focus on Their Strengths
If your child has already expressed specific interests, make those the focus of your lessons for a while. The unit study approach is great for this. My boys are in a huge construction phase right now. Just about anything with a dump truck or a cement mixer on it is right up their alley.
So, we’ve been reading books about construction equipment, looking at videos of the building process, and making shape structures. I’ll probably find a way to weave in the history of construction, basic Spanish words and ASL signs about building, and more so I can cover multiple subjects.
Help Them Set Goals
We talked about the importance of setting learning goals for kids with ADHD yesterday. Goals are an extremely helpful way to motivate kids to learn. They can be especially helpful for kids who have short attention spans. When we sit down to go over a subject that I know one of the kids doesn’t like, I let them know right away how much we’ll be covering.
For example, Roo doesn’t have much interest in math, so when we begin a lesson on Khan Academy I tell him, “We’ll do your mastery challenge and then we’ll do review one concept.” That way, he knows how long he’ll have to sit down and pay attention. When I forget to do this, I hear “How much longer, Moooommmm?” for the entire lesson. 🙂
How do you handle it when your kids with ADHD don’t feel like learning? Tell us about your experience in the comments!
This post is part of the 31 Days of ADHD Homeschooling series! Stop by tomorrow for Day 14: How to Get Your ADHD Child to Learn a Subject He Hates!
Try these other tips for teaching children with ADHD!
And see more ideas on my ADHD Homeschooling Pinterest board!
Those are some great concepts! I don’t know much about ‘unschooling’ so introduction of topics regarding it is helpful. Thanks for sharing it. I tend to do ‘movie’ or ‘project’ days for my kids when there is a new subject or stale subject they don’t like. I find with kids if you introduce them to a subject in a different way they get more interested in it. We have two history lessons that are completely movie based. We all lay in bed, watch and discuss the movie. Sometimes go as far as visit a place that is the common theme in a lesson (we don’t do this as much since neither my husband or I can’t always get off work to take them on weekdays).
Selena Robinson says
For someone who doesn’t know much about unschooling, you’re sure doing a great job of using it! 🙂 That’s exactly what it is – a focus on learning through life, rather than from textbooks. I’m not an unschooler, because I feel that my kids need to know how to read a book, answer some questions, write a report, and so on, especially if they plan to go to college or work in an office. But I use a lot of its concepts in our lesson plans.
Another advantage of homeschooling. 🙂
I used those techniques when I homeschooled my girls. One favourite was to pretend to go shopping with their toys with math problems or trivia as the cost per item. This later changed to saving up for and budgeting towards items they wanted. Baking, crafts, woodworking, etc. Any hands-on activity can be used to spark more interest. Passion based learning really does inspire. Find the tiny spark of interest in the boring subjects if you must. Brainstorm together.
Or make finishing the boring work the condition for a treat like getting to watch TV. Creating this sense of urgency can sometimes help.
Making games with timers often helped. Competition with self was always encouraged. Beating their own high scores gave a sense of pride too.