Unleash the Superpower of ADHD in Homeschooling | ADHD Education and Support

Unleash the Superpower of ADHD in Homeschooling | ADHD Education and Support



Have you ever wondered what it's like to see the world through the lens of someone with ADHD? If you're here, you might be curious, concerned, or even a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of homeschooling a child with ADHD. Well, you're in for a treat, because I'm here to share my personal journey and insights into the incredible strengths and unique challenges that come with having ADHD and homeschooling.

I'm really excited about this topic because I grew up, I am ADHD. I was actually taught my whole life that I was just a mess in school. I thought I was smart, but I kept getting on all of my little grade points or my grade comments from the teacher were things like: can't focus, can't sit still. And I was like, but I thought I was doing so well. And so I grew up feeling pretty bad about myself until I learned what the strengths of ADHD are. So I'm going to dig in here.

Mother and daughters playing with block with text that reads"unleash the superpower of ADHD in Homeschooling

First of all, I want you to understand, that I hate the word ADHD. I find it to be a derogatory term aimed at people who think differently than whoever created it. In my world, there are only two kinds of people, those with ADHD, and those without, and I kind of find that it's half of the world, half and half, and those of us with it tend to marry those who don't. And so we make a great couple that way. We even each other out that way, and my sweet husband, who sometimes really struggles with me and the kids who have it also keeps us grounded and keeps us moving.

I'm going to go through a bunch of the pros and cons of having ADHD or ADD, but first I want to show you why it's a problem in public school. So for those who have an ADHD child, you're probably going to be like, yeah, I totally get this. And for those of you who don't, I'm going to explain to you how your children think because most of my children think this way and so do I. So in public school, okay, wait. We're going to go backward. I'm going to explain why this doesn't work when I go over the cons because you have to see the pros first.

Pros of ADHD: People who have it are extremely creative. Our brains are constantly trying to create something new, and because of that, we tend to be a little squirrely, right?

Because that made me think of this and that made me think of this. And so we are very creative, though, unorganized and messy, but we do focus. So we are very squirrely. However, once we get into our focus zone, which is generally triggered by our own personal interests, we have a hard time coming out of that focus zone. We're so focused, we hear nothing else. We can't see anything else. We are just blinders on. And when you rip us out of that, it's like somebody threw cold water on your face. It's just a shock, and then it's too hard to get back in.

So see, I'm having it now. So that hyper-focus is one of the reasons it doesn't work in public school, which is kind of funny really because in school everything's run by a clock. You do math for 30 minutes, not until you get it done not as long as you need. You have your timeframe for math, you have your timeframe for English and you have your timeframe for history. So I loved history and science in school, but I got really frustrated because they wouldn't let me really learn it. In my opinion, I had 30 minutes to look at whatever the worksheet was and I had to move on. That's not enough for me to get hyper-focused, therefore, it's not enough for me to learn. So that's how ADHD brains work. If I'm going to really learn this, it has to be something I love, and I have to have an unlimited timeframe to learn that.

You don't get to choose my timeframe. So you're going to have your children get up and they're going to be working Legos, and they're in the zone, and then you're like, Hey guys, time for math. Guess what? You got nothing but fights now because they were in this zone. And so what you are telling them is, my schedule is more important than yours. What I think you need to learn is more important than what you want to learn, and it's a confusing message because you're constantly trying to tell your children that they need to learn, they need to be educated, but while they're trying to educate themselves in their zone, you keep pulling 'em out. So if you have a child with ADHD, you have to let them pick their topic, have them help you decide how it will be learned, and then let 'em go.

Because an ADHD kid is hungry for learning, but not your schedule. And that's one of the issues they have with public schools. We all want to learn. We love it. We just don't want somebody else to tell us when is appropriate because our brains cannot function that way. So ADHD kids are generally C and D students in the public school system, but once you pull them out and give them freedom to learn to truly investigate and create, they become innovators. They become entrepreneurs, they become business owners. They become the people who fully changed the world because somebody finally gave them the wings to do so. Public school for an ADHD kid is like stuffing an adorable, boundless puppy in a box and saying, “if I keep him in the box, I'll keep safe and I'll be able to, I'll enjoy him more if he's in the box.”

You can't do that to a puppy, and you can't do that to a kid with ADHD. So ADHD kids tend to be tinkers, right? They love to work with their hands, their inventors. They're fun, okay? They're probably the ones making you laugh the most often. They make excellent public speakers. They're energetic, they're optimistic, they're multitaskers, they're passionate, they're visionary, they're spontaneous, they're generally hard workers, and they're dreamers they love to envision. So when they're tuning out and they're not seeing whatever it is you're trying to get them to focus on, they're actually working. They're envisioning, they're dreaming, they're creating, you're seeing nothing. You're single, but inside their brains, it's going like this. So as a homeschool mom, now that you're homeschool mothers and you have children with ADHD you, okay? This is going to be the hardest thing in the world.

For those of you who don't have it, if you can back off, what will happen is magic. Now, I'm not saying back off is turn your back on your children and abandon them. Step back, get a book in a corner, and watch. And what you'll see is your children will hyperfocus on something. You let them, they'll get up in the morning. Mornings are, for some reason the best hyper-focus time for my kids. So I let them get up on their own. I allow them to work on whatever project they just couldn't wait to wake up to work on. If they wake up with that kind of enthusiasm, you need to let it go. Even if you don't see an educational value, I'll tell you what the educational value is. They get up in the morning, they work hyper-focused, and then they get hungry. Sometimes they'll work for hours, and then when their tummies get hungry, they come and they start to get grumpy.

Then they have breakfast. Sometimes it's 8:00 AM and sometimes it's 11, and that's okay. I try not to ever interrupt because of the brain work that's happening. But then they'll come to me and say, “Mom, I've run into a problem. I can't figure out how to blah, blah, blah, blah.” For one kid, it's jewelry making. For one kid, it's coding, whatever it is. And so we'll talk out the problem, and then they might go back that afternoon and work it, or they'll do it again in the morning. But what they're learning is number one, how to schedule their time according to what they want to learn. Number two, they're learning how to fix problems. A child with ADHD is a problem solver. They love a good problem to solve. So they're learning to solve those problems, and then they come to you and say, this happened with my older one just recently. “Hey Mom, I have this issue, but I've realized I don't know enough math to make it work, so I need to learn this math issue so that I can fix this problem.” Oh, ding, dinging, ding. He came to me and said, “Please teach me.” That's what a child will do when left to their own devices or even with your guidance to choose their own.

You'll have a kid who will be completely obsessed over World War II for three months and everything's World War ii, and they're wearing costumes and they're watching movies, and then all of a sudden they drop it and they're done. Let them, it's okay. They learned all they could. They're over it. They need a new topic. Help 'em find the next topic, and then let 'em delve in and let them tell you when they're done. If you will allow this flow of your children, you will have children who are problem solvers, who know how to manage their own time according to their needs. They will be hardworking, they will be passionate, and they will find their own passion to pursue as a career. You don't have to start telling 'em, well, Lego building isn't going to make you a doctor, so you need to not do that.

They will discover their own talents, and their own passions by doing this. Then they will ask for the educational components that they need to make their ideas work, reading, writing, math, and science. They will request that information so that their ideas can keep moving forward. You won't have to do a lot. You won't have to schedule. We didn't start out this way. We started out a typical schedule that didn't work. It took me 10 years to figure out I needed to let my kids follow their own passions. Once we did that, they started to come to me to ask how to learn, spell math, all of it. And now they see why they need to learn reading, writing, math, and all that other stuff. They do it knowing. So they've been given a purpose for it, why? Because it allows them to pursue their goals, their passions, and their dreams.

If you can do it in that order, you will never fight for an education with your children. But if you do it the opposite, first we need to teach you how to read and how to write, and they're going. Why? If they do it in that order, they will learn to hate that. Let them pursue their passions. So the cons, I forgot to go over those. One of the cons of ADHD, is they're not organized. I am the least organized person in this house. I have two daughters who love to organize. Thankfully, they go behind me and do that. That's okay. It's called balance, right? My husband is the opposite of ADHD, but we have a thing between us. He keeps my feet on the ground and I keep his head in the clouds, and it keeps us balanced. So don't try to shut down a kid with ADHD.

Don't try to drug 'em out of it. Give them wings and let them investigate the beauty that it can be so we can be forgetful. Sure, you've dealt with quite a bit of that. Don't be angry at the forgetfulness. It's not intentional when we forget. It really is just something that our brains do. Don't take it personally. That's a hard one. We're messy. We don't want to be. We prefer a clean house. It just isn't something that we find valuable enough to take our brain space onto the next idea. We're bad with money. We are. So get a good Dave Ramsey program. Do your best. We stress out those who aren't ADHD. We drive you crazy. We know this. We'll make jokes about it, right? Try to be patient with us. We do struggle to finish projects. I think I have a hundred projects around this house that are 78% done.

So my husband used to drive him crazy for the first 20 years. Now he goes around and he sees it as a service to me and to the family, and he helps me finish. So I'm getting better at it. I'm 45 years old and just barely starting to finish projects. So instead of being angry about leftover projects, sit down with your child and say, “How can I help you finish this? Is there something I can do?” And it will become more of a bond for you instead of a frustration. So I very much appreciate when somebody comes to me and says, I see that you got it done. Why? Because we love the beginning process. Follow-through is not our strength. So go in and help the child follow through. That is a taught skill. And as a mother, you can sit down with your child and let that be a bonding for you. Help them finish their projects or be okay throwing them away. If they're done, it's okay. They don't have to finish every project. Sometimes it was just about the creation, just so you know. If it's something that can be thrown away, throw it away, and don't stress about it.

We space out. We are trying to focus. We are. But once again, if you as an adult, it's hard to focus for long periods of time on something someone else told you was important. So I don't know how many of you sat through a board meeting or PTA meeting or any meeting, it's someone else's agenda on what's important, and it's hard to focus. Well, a child is the same way. If you are telling them what's important, they're not going to focus for you. But if they feel it to be important, they'll focus like nobody's business. So the spacing out is a sign that they're not interested. And when they're little, change it as they grow slowly before eight years old, that's okay, move on. Because they're suffering from childhood, not suffering, but that's what it is. They're suffering from childhood. Let them not focus when they become 10, 11, 12. Their focus muscles should be getting a little better.

By the time they're teens, that focus, they should be able to hyperfocus for days on a project. So a few ways to help your ADHD children is number one, make a list. Actually, have them make a list. Take that. Take my homeschool planner. That's part of what this is for. Make a copy for them. Let them fill 'em out according to what they need. Have them make their list for the day and have them check it off, and you'll find that they can control things a little better. I will write lists for myself every day to make sure it gets done. But if somebody else makes me a list, there's no way. So we're kind of independent. We don't try to be rebels. We just really have to do it our own way. And then, oh, the number one way. If you have a child who really needs to learn something and can't find it, audio and take him on a walk.

Once I finally discovered this, I have finally been able to learn. So I have always struggled to sit long enough to read a book. I love books, but sitting for long periods of time to read them is really hard. So I started putting 'em on audio and getting on a treadmill. I will walk for two hours on a treadmill to finish a chapter, but I won't sit for an extra 10 minutes to finish a chapter. So I find that my children are the same way when they really just struggle. We don't learn sitting down, I don't know an ADHD kid that can learn sitting down or sitting still. But there are so many ways to learn chalk outside, to do your writing and math run around the house. I have one child to get him to learn to read this letter. Now, run around the house once.

Come back now, read this word, and run around the house once. It's part of how it's done. So get your children moving while they learn; they won't forget what you're teaching them. That's something I wish I had learned a little earlier for both me and my children. It's okay to move and learn at the same time. 

So this is my little spiel on ADHD, and hopefully, this helps you as a mom. Remember, this is a superpower in homeschooling. It's the parent that struggles because we were public schooled in a public school way. But these things don't work in a public school. An ADHD kid doesn't work in a public school because we can't move while we learn because they're constantly interrupting us with another schedule because there's somebody next to me poking at me and bugging me. So I can't focus, and there are so many things to see that I can't focus either. This is why in the public school system, ADHD is considered a disorder.

It's not a disorder. It's a superpower when put in the right environment. So you are in the right place. You're doing the right things. If you have more questions, come to the group and ask them. I hope this helps you and good luck.

In conclusion, embracing ADHD as a superpower rather than viewing it as a disorder has been a transformative journey for me, and I hope it will be for you too. Growing up, I struggled with the conventional school system, constantly feeling like I didn't fit in. However, as I delved deeper into understanding the strengths of ADHD, I realized that it's not a limitation but a unique way of thinking and learning.

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