Thursday, October 2, 2014

Homeschooler Spotlight: Homeschooling as a Mom with ADHD


Welcome to Homeschooler Spotlight! Each week I feature a different homeschooler and her blog. This week is Selena from Look! We're Learning! She's sharing how she homeschools as a mom with ADHD.

Selena is a homeschooling graduate, a former tax accountant, and a homeschooling mom to four kids under 10. She and her husband use an eclectic homeschooling style with their kids, which makes it easier for them to homeschool their children with ADHD. Selena blogs about the family's adventures every week at Look! We're Learning! To keep up with Selena, you can follow Look! We're Learning! on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube</ a>, and Google Plus.



My husband and I found out that our oldest daughter had ADHD about three years ago. When the doctor gave us the diagnosis, we weren't surprised. We had noticed her hyperactivity, short attention span, and inability to focus for quite some time. As we started learning more about ADHD, though, we came to a few surprising conclusions. We found out that we both have ADHD as well.

Since we've been committed to homeschooling since we started having children, I didn't change my mind about homeschooling. But I did start to understand why some of the most critical parts of consistent homeschooling, such as a regular schedule, were so difficult for me. To make our learning experience worthwhile, I've had to learn how to continue homeschooling as a mom with ADHD.

Understanding My Major Issues

The biggest ADHD issues for me are consistency and hyperfocusing. I tend to become consumed by one project at a time, which makes it hard for me to give my children my undivided attention. When kids don't get your attention, they tend to act out and demand it. (I'm sure you know this if you're a parent.) For the longest time, though, I didn't understand that my tendency to "zone out" was contributing to their misbehavior.

Another problem for me is inconsistency. If you expect to get any schoolwork done, you have to be somewhat consistent with your schedule. Last year, I had to do double lessons with my oldest daughter in math just so I could bring her up to speed. Between her attention issues and my failure to stick to a schedule, we had fallen significantly behind.

It was clear I'd have to make some adjustments if I expected to continue homeschooling.

Adjusting to My New "Normal"

The biggest obstacle for me as a mom with ADHD was accepting that this lifestyle is my "normal". As much as I would like to be super organized and efficient, that's just not in my makeup. This is one of the many reasons I'm grateful for the opportunity to homeschool. We can use a flexible schedule that makes it easier for me to live up to our school obligations.

I also had to change my view of what constitutes "teaching". I went to public school as a child, so naturally I thought that teaching required sitting down at a desk for long periods of time with a thick textbook and a notebook. That's just not a reasonable possibility for my kids - or for me. Instead, we've learned how to learn in a more natural way.

When the kids show an interest in a topic, I find every way I can to make it educational. From reading books to doing crafts to learning scientific principles, we manage to make just about any interest into a learning experience. Once I discovered the unit study approach, I was hooked, and we still use that for the majority of our school lessons.

So I'm an ADHD wife married to an ADHD husband with three ADHD kids and a toddler. But we're making homeschooling work!
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