Home-Schooling a Child With ADHD
Article by Grey Olltwit
I can only speak from my experiences of home-schooling my ADHD son Richard and it may not have been the right way but it certainly worked for us and we both enjoyed the time together. Home-schooling was forced upon us, when Richard was excluded from a special needs school and we couldn’t place him elsewhere for some time. The following are our experiences of how we coped with that situation and I hope it is useful for others.
WhereWe found the best place was in our dining room, where we had a large table to spread out on and the computer close by. I say ‘the computer close by’ because I knew that Richard, like many ADHD youngsters, was very interested in the PC and I therefore wanted to incorporate it as much as possible as a learning tool, with games as rewards for good work.
WhenI found that the best way of making decisions about any aspect of home-schooling Richard, was to discuss it with him, to see how he felt and what he wanted from his new learning environment. So in effect our first day of home-schooling was to discuss and decide where our ‘classroom’ would be and to make a timetable that we agreed to try and stick to.
Richard’s ADHD meant that his concentration span was quite short, so we decided that short lessons of 15 minutes would be much better than long ones. This proved to be successful. Also we decided that our lessons would take place for an hour in the morning with a short break after each 15 minute lesson, an hour after lunch and then as much time as we wanted for outside activities e.g. visiting interesting places, museums, sport etc.
WhatI felt that Richard needed most help with English and Maths and with his agreement we concentrated on those core subjects. We also had fun with science, geography and history. English consisted of him practising his handwriting, reading to me, me reading to him and writing short pieces on the PC. I wrote out some maths problems for him to do and obtained some books but we quickly found that he was not so interested. We couldn’t afford any software for the PC that we rented at that time and being 1997, there wasn’t much available for younger children on-line. It was then that I found a package called ‘Klik & Create’ which allowed me to create several simple games for him to learn from. I had previously been creating simple games for all my 3 children using Basic on an old ZX81 and then an Amiga. However, the PC and this package, really allowed me to do what I wanted. I created games for maths, english, geography and science, all of which were well received and proved to be extremely useful tools. These and many more are available on my website, detailed below.
Out & AboutRichard wasn’t so keen on sport but we made regular trips to the local sports centre for games of badminton, swimming etc. We also went to the park for football and other games. I found it really useful to visit local places of interest, museums etc., and then once back in the ‘classroom’ it was something to write about, including photographs taken, things collected etc.
Another useful idea was to get Richard interested in a project. Opposite our house there was a large patch of unused land owned by the local council but left to go wild, which meant everyone used it as a rubbish dump. I got Richard thinking about what that area of land could be used for and he came up with some brilliant ideas for a community space. He then was interested in creating a plan of his idea on the PC, and then writing letters to various council officials to see what could be done. The council replied, which in itself was exciting for Richard, even though they were not so enthusiastic about his plans, saying they didn’t have the funds. This then made us write more letters to other groups and local personalities to see if we could raise the money. We never actually received any funds or got anything done while he was being home schooled but Richard enjoyed trying and today, some years later, the area is a nice small community park with a couple of benches.
About the Author
Grey Olltwit aka Simon Hensby is the CEO of Grey Olltwit Educational Software providing a range of easy to use titles covering all the main subjects. Grey Olltwit Educational Software also specialises in programs for special needs students including ADHD, Autistic Spectrum, Aspergers etc. http://www.greyolltwit.com