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Homeschooling an ADD Child Who Has Trouble in Public School
Q: My 13-year-old son has ADD and problems in school, and I'm wondering if homeschooling might be more effective for him.
A: Homeschooling is very effective for most children labeled ADD. I'm always surprised that homeschooling is not suggested as an alternative more often. Individual attention, familiar surroundings with no distractions, a flexible learning style geared to the child's strengths, no bullying or peer pressure for having a different learning style -- sounds like a prescription for success to me!
Janie Bowman, editor of Think Fast! The ADD Experience, has this to say about homeschooling the ADD child: "Personally, I believe that many children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD are bright children bored with factory model, assembly-line schools. Many children with special needs are being pushed out of public schools because the system is unable to accommodate their particular learning styles. Homeschooling can be a lifesaving choice in this respect. With the one-on-one learning that parents provide in a homeschool environment, children with special needs can soar."
Bowman, who wrote the book as a mother who successfully homeschooled her ADD child, offers a wealth of practical information and has helped thousands of other parents do the same. Think Fast! includes the experiences of many of these parents, as well as her own personal triumphs and travails. Reading this book will give you the confidence to give your son the help he needs.
The Homeschooling Book of Answers by Linda Dobson is another book that will help you. This is the book's reply to the question, "Can my ADD child succeed being homeschooled?": "Children who have been labeled ADHD, ADD...or other labels...may benefit most of all from homeschooling! Conventional schools can be failure traps for children who are not by nature quiet, compliant, morning people who are able to concentrate for long periods of time on disconnected, unrelated tasks and who are able to screen out lots of distracting sounds and activities. That's not a description of very many children I know."
Personally, I have seen children labeled with learning and/or behavior problems while in the school system become symptom-free after a year or two of homeschooling. Parents have told me stories of their homeschooled children no longer needing behavior-modifying medication. The most frequent comment I hear is, "He/she is like a different child since we've started homeschooling."
Is homeschooling a special-needs child for everyone? No. It takes dedicated parents committed to trying a new lifestyle and a new approach to their child's education. Only you can decide if homeschooling is for you.
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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.