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Trying Out Homeschooling

Education Expert Advice from Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Q: My six-year-old son attends a private school that insists he take medication for ADHD in order to remain in the school. He started taking these drugs two years ago and has had all kinds of side effects from the medication.

There is no other school in our rural area. Would my child be better off being schooled at home where he would feel more comfortable and wouldn't have to take medicine? His high level of activity doesn't bother us in the least, and it is so much fun to show him new things and watch him actually catch on. How would I go about "testing" him to see how he would do in a homeschooling environment?

A: The decision to homeschool a child is not an easy one to make. Before jumping ahead and testing how homeschooling works with your son, there are several things that you can do to determine whether or not it is likely to be successful. Take these steps:

  1. Read as much as you can about homeschooling. Look at books such as The Unofficial Guide to Homeschooling by Kathy Ishizuka, and visit the following websites: FamilyEducation.com's homeschooling homepage, www.home-ed-magazine.com, www.teachinghome.com, and www.homeschool.com.
  2. Find out what the legal requirements are for homeschooling in your state.
  3. Talk to as many homeschoolers as you can to learn more about what homeschooling is really like. You might start by visiting the homeschooling message boards at FamilyEducation.com.
  4. Consider carefully if you have the time and patience to work closely with your child and the organization skills required to handle homeschooling.
If your son is part of planning how your homeschool will work and understands its advantages, the more successful the homeschooling experience will be. While you are talking to parents who homeschool, let him talk to children who are being homeschooled. Their enthusiasm should spread to him.

Homeschooling children with ADHD has several advantages. First of all, it is essentially tutoring as the teacher student ratio is 1 to 1 instead of 20 or 30 to 1. The curriculum can be tailored exactly to your son's needs and learning style. Also, homeschooling will let him have the breaks that he needs.

If you believe that homeschooling is the right education option for your child, give it a try this summer after your son has had several weeks of vacation. Not only will you learn what is required of you, but also how well it works for him.

More on: Expert Advice

Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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