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Homeschooling a Child with ADHD and Vision Problems

Homeschooling Expert Advice from Isabel Shaw

Q: I have a 14-year-old brother with severe ADHD and vision problems, who is having a lot of trouble with homework. Once I helped him do four pages of math worksheets in one night. I simply wrote the problems bigger so he could see them and sat beside him to keep him on-task.

I know public schools don't have the resources to help him like I did, so my mom and I want to learn more about how we could homeschool him. Who is allowed to homeschool, and what is the best method to homeschool a child with my brother's problems?

A: It's difficult to give an answer, not knowing your brother or your family. So I will start with a few assumptions, then respond from there. First, I assume your brother has received professional help, either from a trained counselor or medical doctor. Second, I will assume he wants to turn his life around and work at getting a real education. Third, I assume your mother has the time and energy to help and supervise your brother.

The fact that your brother has had such a difficult time makes me a little uneasy about recommending homeschooling — it certainly is not the solution to all of his problems. On the other hand, your mother has tried to go the traditional school route, and that was not successful. Learning at home, at this point, might offer an alternative educational route for your brother.

Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. It is usually done by the child's or teen's parent or guardian. For more information about getting started homeschooling, please visit our "How to Homeschool" center. Your next step is to read, Homeschooling: The Teen Years by Cafi Cohen. For your brother, ask him to read Grace Llewelyn's book, The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education. Her second book, Real Lives: Eleven Teenagers Who Don't Go to School will show your brother that there are other roads than the traditional route to education and happiness.

Your brother might want to think about obtaining his GED high-school equivalency diploma some time in the future. This diploma is recognized by many colleges and most employers. For information about studying at home for the GED test, visit the GED website at www.gedonline.org.

As far as working with a child with learning disabilities, there are several books that may be helpful: Strategies for Struggling Learners: A Guide for the Teaching Parent by Connie J. and Joe P. Sutton, How to Reach and Teach ADD Children by Sandra F.Rief, and Think Fast! The ADD Experience by Jane Bowman. You may want to visit the CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) at www.chadd.org. You'll also find help and support on our ADHD page.

Be sure to visit our homeschooling channel. You'll find helpful articles and great tips about how to homeschool.

More on: Expert Advice

Isabel Shaw is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom of 15 years. She and her husband Ray homeschool their two daughters, Jessica and Amanda. Besides being a contributor to FamilyEducation.com, Shaw has written for Home Education Magazine, The Link, Homeschooling Horizons Magazine, The Homeschool Gazette, and other publications.

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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