There are some homeschoolers who don’t use worksheets at all. There are some who use them all the time. Then there are homeschoolers like me. I use them with my kids, but only at certain times.
When I first started homeschooling Tigger, I was much stricter about using worksheets. “No, you can’t get up until you finish ALL of the problems!” I can’t remember how many times I uttered that sentence. Of course, at the time I had no idea that she had ADHD.
Now that I know more about what happens inside the mind of a child with ADHD, I’ve adjusted the way we use worksheets. We still use them, but with a different goal in mind.
Rather than using worksheets as the basis of our lessons, I use them to reinforce concepts and to help my kids get used to the structure of sit-down learning. There’s a possibility that they may go to school eventually, and I want them to be at least be familiar with this style of education. So, here’s a look at how we use worksheets with our ADHD kids!
Image: bigandt / Dollar Photo Club
How to Use Worksheets with ADHD Kids
Assign one worksheet at a time.
When you’re first starting out, it’s probably best to assign no more than one or two worksheets at a time. Kids, even kids who don’t have ADHD, can get overwhelmed by the sight of several worksheets to do. We can keep them from mentally checking out by giving them one assignment at a time until they adjust to them.
Depending on your child’s style of ADHD, you might even have to break up that single worksheet into sections. And that’s perfectly fine! If Tigger has a math worksheet with several rows of problems, I usually tell her to do two rows and let me check them. After a break, she completes more until we get them all done.
Keep the atmosphere light.
Don’t make completing the worksheet the measure of your child’s understanding. I’ve done this before and it was a disaster. There have been several times when I thought Tigger should have been able to complete the worksheet in a timely manner if she truly understood the lesson. So, I would make her do assignment after assignment after assignment until she could complete them quickly.
When I finally just started asking her to tell me about what we covered, I found out that she could practically recite it from memory. She could express the concepts verbally but the requirement of sitting down and writing it on paper was not her thing.
Now, I use a teaching style that is more conversational and I notice that she pays attention better and she remembers the concepts better. (We’ll talk more about teaching tips for ADHD in tomorrow’s post.)
Make room for movement.
Don’t forget to let your kids move! If they sit down for 10 minutes to do a worksheet, they’ll probably need to get up and take a brain break soon afterwards.
Depending on your child’s age, they may even need to take a movement break in the middle of the worksheet. After a little movement, they may actually have a clearer mind and complete their work more accurately.
Do you use worksheets in your homeschool? Have you made adjustments so that your kids with ADHD can complete them? Do you absolutely hate worksheets? Tell us in the comments!
This post is part of the 31 Days of ADHD Homeschooling series! Stop by tomorrow for Day 21: Teaching Tips for ADHD Homeschooling!