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HomeLearning DifficultiesHealth & DevelopmentLife After High School

Homeschooling kids with LD or ADHD: The pros and cons

Page 2 of 3

By Kristin Stanberry

How will homeschooling affect family dynamics?

Regardless of how you approach homeschooling, it will impact you, your child, your spouse, and any other children living at home. Here are some questions to explore:

  • If your child has behavior problems — and acts out with her primary caregiver/parent — might that become even more of a problem with homeschooling?
  • How will homeschooling affect your family's time, routine, budget, and physical space at home?
  • Will you homeschool more than one of your children? If so, are you prepared to coordinate teaching kids with differing needs?
  • If your other children continue going to public or private school, how will you balance their routine with your homeschooled child's? For example, you'll need to coordinate the schedules, vacations, homework, and activities of your kids who attend school outside the home with the schedule and routine you set for your homeschooler.
  • If you have a child attending school at home and others outside the home, consider how their school experiences may differ. Kids who attend traditional schools have a different experience than do homeschooled students in terms of classroom settings, social interaction, and school-based events (such as assemblies and graduation ceremonies).

Will my child become socially isolated if she is homeschooled?

Kids who have LD or ADHD often struggle to develop adequate social skills, whether they are homeschooled or not. But, as with all homeschool students, there are several ways to ensure your child has ample opportunity to socialize with others. To expand your child's socialization skills and experiences, consider involving her in:

  • Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts
  • Boys and Girls Clubs
  • 4H Clubs
  • Team sports and other extracurricular activities available through your community recreation department
  • Groups affiliated with your place of worship

A local homeschool networking group may become a rich source of social activities for both you and your child. Whether your gatherings are as formal as a field trip or as casual as a picnic, your child will benefit from learning with - and playing with - other kids.

Note: A few states allow homeschooled students to participate in extracurricular activities (for example, team sports and music) in their public schools. Check your state laws for more information.

What are my child's prospects for long-term success (including Advanced Placement and college admission tests)?

To date, little research has been done on the long-term success of homeschooled students with LD and ADHD. However, the outlook for homeschooled students in general is positive. For example, according to an article in Education Week (April 26, 2006), "The number of homeschooled students taking Advanced Placement tests has more than tripled in the past five years. For many high-achieving home schoolers, AP tests have become a staple of their education. That growth is due in part to home schoolers who want to validate that they've learned challenging academic material, particularly if they are applying to competitive colleges."

Where can I find information and support in the community?

Before you decide to homeschool, it can be extremely valuable to contact a local homeschool networking group. The parents in such groups offer support, experience, and knowledge related to homeschooling a child in your state and school district. Be sure to "shop around" for a group that is familiar with the needs of children with learning and attention issues. If you eventually decide to homeschool your child, such a group may well become a primary source of support and socialization for you and your child.

To locate a homeschool networking group in your area, contact the Home Education, an organization whose objectives are to provide information to homeschoolers individually and through local/state groups; make it easier for homeschoolers to network together; and promote public relations on a national level.

Kristin Stanberry is a writer and editor specializing in parenting, education, and consumer health/wellness issues. Her areas of expertise include learning disabilities and AD/HD, which she wrote about extensively for Schwab Learning and GreatSchools.

 


Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

03/1/2010:
"Several homeschoolers who I interviewed for my book said homeschooling reduced their stress, not just their children's stress. Support is important. Your Home Education link is broken, but two other ways to find local groups are: homeschooling.gomilpitas.com and hslda.org Don't neglect online support, either. "
04/20/2009:
"How can free first grade books and tests be obtained? I would like too help my granddaughter when she is with me. I believe she will be with me a great deal this summer and loves to play and study with me. We have all 200 of the high frequency words on flash cards, still studying them. I need first grade work for the summer days. Thanks so much for you're informitive site. You see, sometimes when divorce is involved, even see you're children's books is difficult, sad but true for many people."
04/16/2009:
"I homeschooled my children for one year after having discussions with the teachers and principal about the fact that my children were 'pegged' in the community as being ok to bully. With the more disciplined one, things went well. With my ADHD child, things were slowly deteriorating. I must admit I was weak in the ability to come up with different approaches when one wasn't working. I would recommend homeschooling to certain disciplined parents but would suggest the children really need you to be involved in some sort of homeschooling network. We need to teach our children how to behave in social situations with groups of peers and parents need the support and help in home school specific problem solving. I should probably end my story with saying we switched school districts and the experience is night and day. The teachers in the new district seem to better understand that the limitations are not poor attitudes and adjust for differences instead of punishing them for being extra work. The kids are blending well with their peers and making good friends in this district perhaps because the teachers show my kids the same respect as everyone else. I know the way I get treated as their parent is night and day. My formerly depressed kids have now bloomed and their ability to concentrate and learn has taken off. I can't believe the difference the learning environment made."
04/16/2009:
"Pretty good article. But, I wish you'd print more articles for people who are already homeschooling. My son has Asperger's and a few other issues. We've been homeschooling for 8 years, and although I entered into this venture reluctantly, it has turned out to be the best thing I could have done. We only use materials and programs that will allow him to work entirely at his own pace. He may speed several grades ahead in one subject, and lag behind in another. Homeschooling keeps him challenged, but not overwhelmed. No longer spending time fighting the school system, we have plenty of time for clubs and other activities. Socialization has never been a problem. I found it difficult to locate a homeschool support group in my area that was a good fit for us, but online groups have been an excellent alternative. Group therapy sessions at a local hospital have put us in touch with other kids who have issues similar to my son's. It's not surprising that many of them also homeschool."
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