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Old 08-10-04, 02:50 PM
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Impatience Part 2 -- Homeschooling by/for ADHD

Well, there hasn't been a home schooling post since March, unless in my impatience I overlooked something (wouldn't that be a shocker).

I have ADD (though not officially diagnosed yet as my doctor wants to start dealing with the bipolar first and then go from there); I suspect my 5 year old has ADHD, but I have not had him tested mainly because for right now he is also being all boy and all the distracted, active things that go with it.

My 7 year old starts second grade this year. (I home schooled him from Kindergarten, and first grade he did well on his testing.) He is a bright, self-motivated person, creative and intelligent. Every parent should get at least one this easy. His biggest challenge is math. I am happy to home school as I get to spend so much time with my kids. Honestly, though, I don't know how public school teachers do it. I only have 3 kids (more if I babysit) and getting them to cooperate, sit still and follow directions is no easy feat. How do they do it with 20 or more?

My 5 year old, the one I suspect of ADHD starts kindergarten with me this year. I really think I have a well-planned year. I have an unschooled approach with some structure thrown in, I try to keep it relaxed. Otherwise, if my expectations are rigidly high I lose my temper, and I have a nasty one. One thing that I am concerned about is my patience. I'm not a naturally patient person. Home schooling requires a certain amount of organization and planning ahead. When I'm in manic mode, sure, it gets done. When I'm a scatter-brained flake head I can't find breakfast makings, let alone do school. I'm trying to pick up ideas and techniques for calming down. So far I do deep breathing, yoga, and lowering my expectations to a smiling level.

Second concern is no matter how I notice the need, my middle child (the 5 year old) seems to always get short changed. With possible ADHD he doesn't need to be pushed aside ( what child does?). I'm trying to work out a routine so that he always has a chance to be with me and learn one on one and time with his big brother. Consistency and self-discipline are as always and forever my biggest challenges.

If there are other home schoolers with ADD or a child with it, I thought we could help keep each other stay on track, share tips. I love my home schooling group here in my area but I gotta admit, these chicks have huge houses, with pristine housekeeping skills, and fantastic organization. Who's from another planet, them or me? I can learn from them, definitely, but I don't think my hodge podge life is going to make sense to them. Are all home schooling Moms type A personalities? Look forward to chatting with you. Love.
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Old 08-11-04, 04:08 AM
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Chel, I am a hodgepodge single mom of one who homeschools what I consider a high maintenance Adhd 8 year old. He has tantrums doing the teeny amount of structured work I ask of him. He is very bright so keeping up isn't much of a problem. As far as the structured work goes I am findng out it is easier to just do one subject daily for a couple months or less. I also tell him (make up) adventure stories daily and include tons of moral lessons and tricks to dealing with situations. He is a wonderful child. I call him high maintenance because he is very oppositional and impulsive and hyper. Luckily he is generally jumping with happiness.
Consistancy and discipline are my Challenges too. And the occassional temper outbursts when he gets in a nonstop defiant mode.
I also use an unschooling approach.
I'd like to hear more about your reasons for homeschooling and everything else.
I also don't really join in with the homeschool groups. We just don't find the time or miss it, for now.
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Old 08-11-04, 09:01 AM
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Reasons I home school (long, sorry)

Even though I live in Virginia, and the majority of home schoolers do it for religious reasons, I am not among them. Now that I know I have ADD I can look back and understand my problems in school.

Mainly I do it for my kids because I want that time with them, giving them the attention they need. As I said earlier, I find three kids challenging, so I can't imagine what 20 or more is like. For example, my oldest really didn't grasp the fundamentals of math this past year. While he did great in everything else it was our weakest subject. In public school he would simply have to do the best he could, move on with the class, and still learn the subject in the style the teacher has taught, even if he didn't understand it. Rather than pushing him ahead to second grade math, which he is clearly not ready for, I can take the time to pick out a different curriculum, and try again with the basics, moving him forward at his pace.

I think there is so much pressure in school socially; clicks, same age group competition. I prefer that my kids have the emotional security of Mom close by (but not hovering), and a small, diverse group of friends in age, ability, religion, etc. I want to support my kids' emotional needs and natural abilities. For example, when I was in school I really loved theater. But the only kids who were allowed in that school to do plays, etc, were those in the enrichment class. Why? Were my B's and C's at 12/13 a sign that I was incapable of the liberal arts? At home my 7 year old can draw, paint and mold 50 super heroes in a day if he so chooses, all the while learning about texture, color and art technique. Life is filled with teachable moments, and even at 32, I love learning and relearning. I hope my children will also grow to love and appreciate it.

Their favorite field trip is to the library each week, where they have poured over the poisonous/dangerous animals of the world, and most recently have learned how to catch a crocodile. Maybe there are plenty of other parents who are as enriching with their public/private schooled kids but home schooling is the enviornment that helps me give my kids the best education and care I can.

On a more practical note, my youngest has asthma, and his triggers are viruses/colds and weather changes. This past winter wasn't too bad, but the year before, oi! it felt like every time we went to the grocery store they passed something around and the baby ended up in the ER for an asthma attack. They will be a bit healthier at home. Now that I suspect ADHD in my middle child, he could (probably would) have listening/discipline problems at school. His math is "do 1 + 2 somersaults" or "5 cartwheels". If I have to get the marine's basic training manual to teach them math, or reward for sitting still, I can do it, and not wait for "recess".

As for the home school group, this is my first year (I joined this past spring) and I'm glad I did it. I specifically found a group that did not meet for religious purposes, but were under the "secular" title of the Virginia Educators Association for Homeschooling. They are a diverse group of moms in my area, and we have field trips together (great for discounts) and my kids are in a science club they have started, taught by another Mom. It gives them a little bit of group dynamics and teaches them listening/participation skills they'll need later on. Very hands on. The meeting once a month is a nice change of view, Dad babysits everybody. I get to shmooze with the ladies (at times long winded) and I can participate the minimum or maximum amount. Whatever works for me and our schedule.

I'm sure that was much more info than you requested. With ADD myself I really want to work on being more patient with them, not being easily annoyed, flitting from one activity to another. Maybe this is something for Peer Coaching. Just wanted to see if there were other moms here in the same boat. Good for you for giving your child what he needs. Again, sorry for the long post, it's a manic day. Love.
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Old 08-11-04, 09:17 AM
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I admire you both for being able to do that! I've always kept homeschooling in mind as an option, in case my kids' needs aren't being met by regular school. But I'm afraid my lack of organization, and my own distractibility, might get in the way. We do work in plenty of "enrichment" by going out and doing things. It's the "sit down and write the letter E 20 times" type things that we would all have trouble with.
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Old 08-11-04, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krisp
I admire you both for being able to do that! I've always kept homeschooling in mind as an option, in case my kids' needs aren't being met by regular school. But I'm afraid my lack of organization, and my own distractibility, might get in the way. We do work in plenty of "enrichment" by going out and doing things. It's the "sit down and write the letter E 20 times" type things that we would all have trouble with.
That's the best part of home schooling, you can teach your kid in the style they learn best in. If writing the letter E 20 times is boring for you than why do it? My son practices writing by writing letters to Grammy and a special needs gentleman in the convalescent home where Grammy works. My 5 year old makes letters out of play dough, or glues beans onto paper with it. If I do have to do something monotonous (like yet another page of a math workbook), I reward us after 2 or 3 pages with a game or something and then get back to it. If it's a particularly restless day I send them outside for hours on end, a picnic, and slug collecting (I've got this thing for slugs.) They read the books that interest them, my oldest learned to read with Calvin and Hobbes in kindergarten, it clicked for him. If you have a good imagination there's all kinds of ways to teach your kid. My favorite is the science experiments, once we learned about plasma in blood my making fake blood and scabs! Cool!
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Old 08-11-04, 03:21 PM
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That does sound like a blast! I love science, and really enjoy doing hands-on stuff with the kids. (I personally prefer bugs, reptiles, and amphibians to slugs, but those are neat too. ) It amazes me how early children are expected to sit quietly and work on two-dimensional stuff like writing. I'm probably biased because my 6-y.o. has vision issues, but I think many other children his age aren't ready for that either.
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Old 08-11-04, 04:52 PM
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Well Krisp, the worst we can do is the worst public school teacher could do. I'm taking it one year at a time, if I do a cruddy job I can look at my options. If you're feeling like an adventure, try it for one year and see how it goes. There's more effort involved in socializing but they don't need 30 friends, they need a handful. If you ever get the urge to try it pm me and I'll give you my e-mail. I was made to sit still for what seemed like hours in kindergarten. At times I'm a little frustrated when my kids can't sit still for a short amount of time, it's lack of practice, pick your extreme.
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Old 08-22-04, 04:07 PM
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Top 10 Tips for Teaching ADHD/ADD Children

10 FAVORITE TEACHING TIPS



ADHD Teaching Tip #1 : Making Math Workbooks WORK!

**** Turn a section of math problems into a game. One of the easiest ways to do this is to make a puzzle. My son dives into his math problems whenever I do this.

Take a piece of letter sized paper. On one side, write the answers to a set of math problems (approximately 10). Scatter the answers about on the page in random fashion.

On the flip side of the page, write a note about how special your child is, or give directions to find a secret treasure hidden in the house. Then get out your scissors and start cutting out each of the math answers, shaping each piece in a unique, puzzle-like shape.

Now spread the items all over the floor. When your child completes the first math problem, he picks up the piece with the matching answer. Little by little, the puzzle comes together.

**** Give him work in smaller groups. Place a whole page of math problems in front of these kids and the task before them seems insurmountable. But if they see only one chunk at a time, they don't get overwhelmed by the BIG PICTURE.

One way is to dictate 1 problem at a time. Sometimes I even write 1 problem per sheet of paper if the problem is a bit tedious for him. ( I make each paper 1/4 size of a letter-sized sheet).

Another way is to simply cover portions of the workbook with white paper held in place by that sticky stuff used to hold up posters. Big Post-It notes can also be used. Kids aren't stupid. They know what's under there. But somehow, just having it out of sight often eases the anxiety that a page full of math problems can elicit.


ADHD Teaching Tip #2: Have Them Do Two Things at Once



I used to assume that when I was speaking to my son, if he turned upside down in his seat or began to grab frantically at imaginary flies, then he MUST not be listening. Wrong. Not only is he listening, if I required that he sit perfectly still and look at me intently while I spoke, he most certainly could not listen. In fact, he might implode. He NEEDS to be moving while listening. But if I allow him to choose the motion, it will almost certainly be very distracting to me, or highly annoying to anyone else within range of us (ie. Other children). So I choose the activity. Some of our favorites are:
  • playing with silly putty

    making salt dough maps or structures related to the lesson One of the neatest was a model of an Ancient Egyptian house during one of our history lessons.

    playing with Legos

    screwing screws into wood sweeping & mopping the kitchen floor (this has obvious side benefits.)
ADHD Teaching Tip #3: Allow Them to Respond Orally



Writing is sheer torture for many of these kids. And you will find much out there in educational literature about how writing should be part of the whole splendid mix of education from the moment they can grasp a writing utensil. But there are times, for example in doing math, when my son seems almost stuck when he has to write down what he clearly knows. To jump from the "math calculating" part of his brain to the "put thoughts down in writing" part of his brain, seems an impossible task. It's as though there is a wall between these two areas that he cannot traverse. He can take a section of writing and recopy it with no problem. He can dictate to me each and every step of a complicated math problem with great ease. But tie the two together, and a 5 minute task turns into 45.

Luckily, I've read that for most of these "writing-haters" it all comes together in about 4th grade. So unless you are doing a writing lesson, consider allowing an oral response. In other words, in your math lesson, if your child is asked to write the terms of a multiplication problem (multiplicand, multiplier and product...in case you forgot), keep in mind that the object here is to learn the math material...not to practice writing. Writing does not necessarily HAVE TO be incorporated into each and every learning activity.

Many days I will insist he plod through it. I want these two portions of the brain to eventually learn to talk to each other. But there are days when the goal of the lesson...math, is being lost in my efforts to have him connect math and writing. Don't hesitate to isolate the concept being studied if that's what works for your student. If you are not willing to do this, you may find yourself in an unfortunate situation where your child is falling behind in a subject in which he is perfectly capable because you insist he do it in tandem with a subject he isn't capable of handling with ease.

ADHD Teaching Tip #4: Integrate Motion into Everything You Can.



We often play Mother-may-I in our house. I ask each child an age appropriate question. If they answer correctly, I say that they may proceed (using of course baby steps, giant steps, scissors walk, frog leap, etc.). They MUST respond with "Mother-May-I?", to which I reply "Yes", and then they move forward. If they attempt to move forward without asking "Mother, may I?", they must take 2 steps backwards. The first child to reach "Mother" wins. And we start again. By choosing the types of steps carefully, I can be assured that each child gets to win in each play time.

Hop-on-It works with lots of educational objectives. I put cards on the floor with words on them. In one game I put out cards reading, "adjective", "noun", "verb", and "adverb". The I call out a word and my son has to jump on the correct word type. In another version, the cards read "2", "3", "4", and "5". Then I call out 16. He must then jump on a card that is a multiple of this number.

Some other ideas with this format-
  • Card types: mammal, amphibian, insect, bird, & fish.
  • Call out: "I have hair". "I have live births" "I have scales"
  • Card types: B, P, D, C, SH, PH
  • Call out: the sounds made by these letters. Or a word that ends with one of these sounds.
For information that is linear, you can play Toss-It. For very young children the alphabet is a good example. I say "A" and then throw the bean bag to him. He says, "B" and then throws it back. When we've completed the alphabet we play again but he must start with "A". We've used this to learn the books of the Old Testament (now I finally know them!), multiplication tables, and Spanish numbers.



This game can also be used for information in pairs...for example ,the abbreviations of the states. I toss and call out "AK" and he tosses back "Alaska". In order to keep the flow moving here keep a list of the state abbreviations next to you. Whatever paired information you are using for this game, it is essential that you use information that can be articulated quickly. You don't want long pauses while you say, "What figure in American History is known for his penchant for long and windy speeches and in what time period would you find him?" Toss. The rhythm of the game is lost. Rapid return is the name of the game here.


ADHD Teaching Tip #5: Put Up Visual and Auditory Blinders



We have other children in our home; our own and others we occasionally care for. The distractions for my son are impossible for me to avoid and impossible for him to ignore. One day I remembered how much work I used to get done at those study carrels in the University library. So we put up a big tri-fold, cardboard stand-up in front of him and sort of around him. (These are often used for science fair projects and can be purchased at any teaching supplies store). This was a GREAT help. We also found that earphones piping in certain types of music also kept him focused. What works best for my son is "Promise Keepers" and Mozart.


ADHD Teaching Tip #6: Phind the Phun in Phonics! (And lots of other places)



Without question, the most useful and versatile game we have in our teaching repertoire is called "Roadblock". It can be used for the most basic introduction of the alphabet to more advanced information such as naming human bones. I discovered it in a book called "Games for Learning," by Peggy Kaye. This has been the core of our learning-to-read program. The basics of this sound so simple you won't believe it can carry the results that it does.

You simply create a game board with 20 slots. Ours looks something like a roadway with a gas station near the start area and a little house along the way.

If you're just starting to expose your child to letters, you start by putting 10 or so letters in the spaces, repeating each letter somewhere in the "road" once.

Now your child selects a little car (if you don't have one they're often 2/$1 at local stores) and gasses it up at the pump, invoking whatever "filling the tank" sounds they deem appropriate. When they're ready, they start down the road by attempting to name the first letter. If correct, they progress. When they do get stuck, I put up a roadblock. (We have an actual little plastic roadblock that adds a nice touch but you can just as easily drop your hand down in karate-chop fashion after the difficult letter). We go over the difficult letter several times and in several ways. Then they have to start over at the beginning. When they get to the difficult letter they take great delight in being able to "crash" through the roadblock. I only allow 3 roadblocks so if they don't make it after that, we put it away until tomorrow. When they complete one game, I make a new roadblock and incorporate some of the letters that gave them trouble in the last game.

This game became so VERY popular in our house, I think partially because I took Peggy Kaye's above game a step further. I made little plastic credit cards for each child. (White 3x5 card cut to shape of real credit card, sticker put in center, child's name on top, clear tape on both sides.) After playing Roadblock they had to count up how many spaces they had traversed. Each space equals 1 cent on their card. Now they can take their "money" and spend it in our little Teacher's Store. I set up a small shelf in my kitchen filled with doodads (mostly garage sale finds), some candy and a few items I knew they'd really work for. The store only opens once a day. You can't believe what these children will do to shop in this store. If I forget to do the Roadblock game, the 4 year olds will loudly object until my memory is seriously jogged.

There are many educational objectives accomplished in this set up. The younger children get experience in counting the squares afterwards. As they grow older, they can add the new points to the accumulated points left from before and then of course, they can subtract them as they spend them. They are also learning the important consumer spending lesson that if you want something "Big" you have to save for it.

This game can be used for any age. After letter names we went to letter sounds, then to simple 2-3 letter, phonetically pure words, and so on. My son's last phonics-related Roadblocks contained the words psychologist, hydrochloric, dodecahedron, echolocation, cumulus, tintinnabulation and atrophy. It was somewhere at this point that I determined that he had a pretty good grasp of phonics. (PS. This was in the 2nd grade). So we continued to use the game format and we just shifted to identifying Latin roots, vocabulary definitions, human bones, etc. With my daughter we've just started using it for recognizing cursive letters.


ADHD Teaching Tip #7: Don't Do Everything in Every Book



You don't have to do every problem in every exercise in every book. STOP! Just because there are seventeen problems on long division in today's lesson doesn't mean every child needs exactly that amount to master the concept. Some can do with much less. It certainly feels better to us if absolutely every item has an answer next to it. But you need to constantly ask yourself, "What am I trying to achieve here?" If your child needs to practice this concept 17 times today, then fine. But if he mastered the concept 8 lessons ago, perhaps 5 will suffice as a daily review. We call this "ZIP" math. I go through his lesson and circle the problems he is to do for that lesson. For about 2/3 of the lesson, he does them all. But for about 1/3 of the lesson, I circle just a few in each section for review. I know which ones he's mastered so I'm comfortable with a lessened review. And he thinks he's being given a "break" because he doesn't have to do them all.




ADHD Teaching Tip #8: Give Your Child a Checklist of the Day's Assignments


Present your child with a checklist of the items to covered for that day. The first time I did this it was really on a lark. But my son has consistently requested one ever since. One of the benefits for me is it forced accountability upon me. I couldn't just sort of "wing it" through the day. From my son's perspective, he likes to know what is coming. Somehow it keeps him on a much more even keel if there are no surprises. Also, of course, he achieves great satisfaction in checking off each assignment as it's completed.

ADHD Teaching Tip #9: Watch Your Teaching Tempo



This one is very hard for me. My style is very animated and upbeat. While this is very engaging for many students, for an ADHD child it is often overly stimulating. I've learned over time to adjust my volume and intensity, sometimes to an almost drone-like quality. If you already have a more low-key teaching style and have found yourself wishing for more exuberance...wish no more. You have just the right gift for dealing with your child.







ADHD Teaching Tip #10: Forget what others think...SEE THE GIFT IN YOUR CHILD

You will undoubtedly come in contact with others who do not see your child as a "gift". I know that many other moms watch with horror as I calmly extract my child from the top of the refrigerator upon which he has climbed. They grow weary as he shares with me the 3 millionth thought which just flashed into his head. They even comment that they could never handle a child with the energy level of my son while I harbor the belief that they also think I should just make him "straighten up!"

Others have responded that I seem to hold the reigns of discipline too tightly. I do indeed keep "a shorter leash" with this child, for I know that there is a line of excitement where, once crossed, he will act on any impulse immediately, without concern for consequences or dangers. So to these parents of calm, compliant children, I do seem to respond too quickly to what appears to be a very minor infraction. But I know what comes later, if things aren't kept in check now.

So I have learned to smile politely when their well meaning comments are sometimes way off base. I have learned that my child is special. I really believe that my son is destined for something wonderful...something that would be impossible for those calmer, regular-energy level children. I can think of several occupations where boundless energy would be an incredible asset. I delight in the fast pace of his thought. I am even jealous of his tireless enthusiasm for life and wonder what more I could accomplish if I were so blessed. And I am most especially delighted that I am able to help him reign in and shape this gift of boundless energy.

If he were in a traditional school setting, he most certainly would have been labeled a "trouble-maker" and he most probably would have believed it himself. I am so very thankful that his image of himself is of a creative, innovative, intelligent, can-do child.

("borrowed" off http://www.westfieldacademy.org/adhd/)
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Old 08-24-04, 05:26 PM
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I am keeping the option of homeschooling open. While I don't have a dx for myself or my son yet I will not be the least bit surprised if we both end up having ADHD.

He is just finishing up a year of being in an early intervention class. He was initially there just for speech issues but he is continuing to get services for social/emotional issues. They really streatched the evaluation to get it so he could stay after his third b-day. The school did such a good job pleading his case that we got another year of services. An ADD dx would be needed for another year of preschool though.

In two weeks he will start in an integrated pre-school class. Some of the children are "regular" and some are "special needs" His psych testing put him borderline gifted but the tester had a hard time understanding his anwers due to his speech issues.

I know that I could handle teaching him on an academic level but I'm afraid that my own ADD will cause problems in my losing interest in keeping things going. He is extremely bright and quite a handful so I'm not sure that a traditional classroom is the best fit for him.

I am keeping him in preschool for the time being since it's only 1/2 day and he gets some structure in his life with it. I also think it's good for him socially. Long term, though, I'm not sure what to do...
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Old 08-24-04, 05:57 PM
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Well, fortunately, you don't have to decide right now. It sounds as if he's right where he needs to be, getting the services he needs. As he grows, learns, and develops, it will become easier to see what his most pressing issues are. My older son attended a developmental preschool at age 3. He was talking very little when he went in, but all the individual attention and concentrated therapy made a huge difference. He's still in speech therapy now, at the age of 6, working on pronunciation issues. But I'm sure that he's much further along today than he would have been without the preschool experience.
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Old 01-17-05, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EYEFORGOT
Well Krisp, the worst we can do is the worst public school teacher could do. I'm taking it one year at a time, if I do a cruddy job I can look at my options.
Yep. And for goodness sakes, what can a 3rd grader miss that he won't see again in 4th or 5th? Same with older kids- what can an 8th grader miss that he won't see again in high school? Most schools don't even finish the textbook in a school year.
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Old 04-13-11, 09:24 AM
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Unhappy Re: Impatience Part 2 -- Homeschooling by/for ADHD

I dont think I could home school my son ...its been crossing my mind a LOT lately..I dont like having him on meds and rather have him with me 24 -7 but how do you do it?? any links and ideas Id love to see. He has severe adhd and odd and has to be medicated to be safe to even go to school but i feel sooo guilty sending him he hates it medicated or not! He had a PSA but it was taken without my or mental health's consent.
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Old 04-13-11, 09:33 AM
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Re: Impatience Part 2 -- Homeschooling by/for ADHD

Quote:
Originally Posted by tanyahill35 View Post
I dont think I could home school my son ...its been crossing my mind a LOT lately..I dont like having him on meds and rather have him with me 24 -7 but how do you do it?? any links and ideas Id love to see. He has severe adhd and odd and has to be medicated to be safe to even go to school but i feel sooo guilty sending him he hates it medicated or not! He had a PSA but it was taken without my or mental health's consent.
What's a PSA?

This thread is over 5 years old. I don't know if any of the previous posters are still active members here.

What is it that you don't like about your son being on meds?

We've found that my youngest granddaughter (Atypical Autism) actually likes grade school now that we've found the right meds for her. Before this, we felt guilty for sending her to school as well. And her big sister (severe ADHD) is enjoying middle school much more since she started taking meds.
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