ADD Parents homeschooling ADD Kids? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-22-2006, 03:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm looking for advice, suggestions, support, whatever. My son and I are both Inattentive type ADD. We let him finish fourth grade last school year and did not return him. We have taken things easy ("deschooling") to let both of us adjust to the change but for the last month or so I have been ready to put him back in school. He seems unmotivated, uncurious and unwilling to learn new things. It's not that he's resistant, it's just not there, kwim? He'll ask me questions about things, and if I don't have the answer and tell him to look it up he just doesn't follow up.

I am constantly having to be on him to finish assignments and try and get organized. Keep in mind this is difficult and overwhelming for both of us so it's like the "blind leading the blind". I feel we could benefit from much more structure and organization but just the thought is overwhelming to me. I have a hard enough time remembering to take my meds, keep my household running and complete the myriad other tasks in my life.

I also have an extremely intelligent 3 year old that I have to keep up with.

Any suggestions from someone who's BTDT??
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Old 02-22-2006, 03:58 PM
 
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This is me!

However, my oldest is Kindergarten aged. I deliberately chose a Montessori-based approach BECAUSE of my ADD, assuming that maybe one of my kids would have it. My daughter shows symptoms but my son does not. What has worked for me when *I* burn out is to just go to museums, libraries, etc. and let the children totally take the lead. We can then explore it later (or not) online or in books, discussing whatever.

As for his age, I have not deschooled child or raised a nine year old before. I wish I had more to offer you.
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Old 02-22-2006, 04:23 PM
 
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Hi! My dd was daignosed with ADD-inattentive the summer after 2nd grade. She was in a full-time gifted program and had no interest at all in anything except the enrichment classes (art studio, science lab, piano, spanish). All I kept hearing was how she can't focus and doesn't finish classwork. Geting her to do homework was a nightmare. She also got very distracted with 25 other kids in the class, that she couldn't concentrate on tests. I had been researching homeschooling for a while and by January of 3rd grade, we both decided she was done with school.

I knew she was very smart and stayed attentive during things that interested her. I figured she'd "deschool" while I researched what homeschool method we would use. What I noticed, though, during those deschooling months that she was doing and learning so much. Of course at first she tested the boundaries and watched way too much tv and wanted a huge break from anything academic - that was ok. After a couple of months, she started printing out worksheets, working in her old workbooks, creating her own websites, and playing around on educational websites.

I decided not to rock this boat and we have been unschooling ever since. She's 9 now and by letting her follow her own interests, she has shot to over a 6th grade academic level (according to various 'typical course of study"s). She enjoys workbooks and uses a 6th grade one as well as a 4-5th grade summer bridge one. She has actually regained a love of learning I haven't seen since she was a preschooler. It was slow going, but she has even learned to enjoy reading again. And after years of hating to write (due to all the teacher criticisms on her work) she entered an essay contest and won $50.

I believe that inattentive kids can thrive with academic and creative freedom. I can't imagine assigning dd work to do. She would surely shut down and be resentful (probably without even realizing it). I never thought I would be able to go the unschooling route since I'm an anal "Type-A", list-making, organizer. But it's all about what works best. You wouldn't even know she was ever diagnosed with ADD, and we never put her on meds.

Maybe you need to be a lot more hands-on with him. Research things together. Buy a bunch of art supplies, find a craft website, and make something as a family. Take a nature walk or do a fun science experiment. What are his interests? Sports? Cars? Computers? Planets? You can do loose unit studies based on what he likes. Everything is at your fingertips online. Create a list of fun activities and let him choose from that. Lose all the expectations and demands and just have fun.

HTH!

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DD(18) Graduate of the (real) Fame school, now a Dance Theater major at a performing arts conservatory
DS(13) Experiential Charlotte Mason homeschooler
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Old 02-22-2006, 04:44 PM
 
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I suspect that I might have that inattentive ADD. I'm no expert on ADD, but I know there are alternative treatments. It could be diet-related, or lack of exercise. I find that having a consistent outside-of-the-home responsibility keeps me on track with getting chores done, meals prepared, etc. at home. Can you and DS join some kind of club or sport? Or you can ask to be put on a regular schedule of volunteering at a local non-profit, like an animal shelter.

Tis the season, for hot apple cider!
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Old 02-22-2006, 04:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Citymomx3
I believe that inattentive kids can thrive with academic and creative freedom. I can't imagine assigning dd work to do. She would surely shut down and be resentful (probably without even realizing it). .... You wouldn't even know she was ever diagnosed with ADD, and we never put her on meds.
AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 02-22-2006, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have tried doing the "follow your interest" thing but he will do absolutely nothing. Like I said, he has not been in school for 8 months now so I let him go through the "decompression" period. The other problem is it takes two or three times as long for him to complete something it would for a "normal" person. He also has practically zero memory retention, extreme difficulty following directions (you can usually only give him one or two directions at a time) and a low tolerance level for frustration.

When something does interest him, in a typical ADD fashion, he will zoom along with it like a race car for a short period of time.

We have discussed the problem after his diagnosis and he expressed to me explicitly that he needs more structure. He needs to have things written down, lists, schedules, etc. Part of that is the ADD and part is from being institutionalized in school for so long. We discussed meds and he expressed an interest but all the news that has come out now about them has scared me away.

I have looked into curriculum but my husband is opposed to purchasing a curriculum because he says he can just do one for me (he is a teacher), however he never follows up. He doesn't understand the need and comfort that structure brings for us, and gets frustrated that we are yet unable to provide that structure for ourselves. Another problem is I'm great at doing research but I suck at making choices because there are way too many! Hence I get overwhelmed and shut down.

He does have enthusiasm as well for the "extracurricular" activities so I can relate to that.

I am looking right now into the K12 curriculum. If we have some kind of structure in place, perhaps we can use that and branch off from there as the need and interest arises.
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Old 02-22-2006, 06:38 PM
 
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The catch-22 here is that "it takes two or three times as long for him to complete something it would for a "normal" person. He also has practically zero memory retention, extreme difficulty following directions (you can usually only give him one or two directions at a time) and a low tolerance level for frustration" and yet you both want some sort of structure.

Try the structured route for a few months and see how it goes. Get on your dh to write something out for you to use.

I'm not an unschooling fanatic, but I would like to ask how long you gave it a shot. If you have been unschooling for the last 8 months, what is it exactly that he needs to complete or follow directions with? Are you talking about things other than academic? Like household chores or basketball practice? Maybe you can both make a big list of his interests and your dh can make a daily plan from that. I wonder if a structured plan just sounds good in theory, but the ADD symptoms will come out in full bloom when you try to implement the lesson plans.

I guess you just have to keep trying new things until you both find something that works. I've heard that many many homeschoolers try several methods and curriculi before they're happy - and they still tweak things to suit them better! I know it can be frustrating, but try to make homeschooling as enjoyable as you can for your ds. He needs things taken slowly and you will need lots of patience.

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Old 02-22-2006, 08:10 PM
 
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I keep a schedule posted in the front of my lesson plan book. I am not ADD but I am very type A . My oldest son is mildly ADD and benefits from the schedule. He knows what he needs to do and what he still hasn't done. I also don't allow those things that distract him once "school begins". We usually begin around 11 and the computers and TV go off. They don't come back on until the checklist has been completed. Some days that take 45 min other days they go to bed not having watched another second of TV.

My youngest is VERY ADD. The checklist helps keep me on track because he runs me crazy nearly everyday and it is sometimes hard for me to keep track of where we are and what we need to do next.

Our checklist remains the same every week. We do math on certain days, LA on certain days, etc. The topics for each subject change, of course, but I keep a list labeled by week as to what we need to cover. It took about two hours to put together and I just follow that as my lesson plan.

AM
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Old 05-22-2006, 11:25 PM
 
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I need advice. My dd...she's showing *signs* of A.D.D.,and I feel lost and....overwhelmed. Am having constant anxiety....I hate HSing right now.

PLease help me.....

mp
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Old 05-23-2006, 09:05 PM
 
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Read all you can about adult ADD. My favorite is "Women with ADD" by Sari Solden.

Remember that ADD is not a handicap or an illness despite the fact that society views it as a disablity. ADD is a gift. Remind yourself of this often. People with ADD are the inventors, the artists, the healers, and yes the scholars and teachers. People with ADD are in every field and it is the traits that make them "ADD" that help them suceed.

Exercise daily. The endorphins from exercise work like ritalin for me. I have about (depending on how strenuous. You have to find a balance with it so don't give up.) an hour or an hour and a half of pure clarity after I exercise. Use this time to do what is hardest for you, be it cleaning, or whatever.

Small amounts of caffiene for desperate times can be helpful especially for children and it beats the pants off of ritalin. This seems to be more helpful for hyperactive types, though.

Balanced whole carbohydrates and protiens in regular intervals throughout the day. Plenty of green veggies and fruits. Plenty of water. You can try to supplement with efa's if you don't eat fish (salmon being great brain food).

For your home, a system like flylady or www.mymessyhouse.com can help a lot. As long as you have reasonable small goals! and doable routines! (Don't get over zealous about routines and lists. It took me a long time to learn to have short to do lists.) Can you afford a housekeeper? Look into a way you can budget for one or where you can trade for one or where you can work some kind of job/at home business to pay for it. If it takes you eight or ten hours to do what a pro can do in four hours and there is something you'd rather do that could earn the money to pay that pro, it's worth it. I know this advice sounds kind of far fetched but at least play with it and see if it is workable. Give up cable and lattes to have someone come in once a month if you can. (Weekly is ideal.)

Most of all be easy with yourself. It's not your fault. This is not something bad about you, this is something good about you. Google adults with ADD.

Oh, and I also like (for me, can't reccommend for your child) yerba mate tea. It helps me focus without making me jittery like caffiene.

good luck!
Jo
gifted with ADD (inattentive)
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Old 05-24-2006, 07:39 PM
 
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I am an ADHD ( diagnosed) mom and my middle child (7) has probable ADHD ( as in, at a check up the ped says, Hey, she probably has ADHD. Do you want to do anything about it?" Me: "I am. I'm homeschooling." Ped "great, I hate to medicate kids.")

Sooo- we are classically schooling, and she's doing great. Our tricks are a consistent routine, avoidance of additives in food, a dose of espresso in the morning, and lots of physical activity. Dance has helped dd tremendously and I think someting like gymnastics or dance ( whatever the kid likes) makes a huge impact on ADHD kids.
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Old 06-04-2006, 04:46 PM
 
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Ihave to run to the library, but I would love to chat more with all of you.

THANKYOU!!!

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Old 06-05-2006, 12:52 AM
 
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Just wanted to give you a link to this article I found. We pulled my 9 year old out of school in Dec 05 because for 2 years the school has been trying to get us to have him diagnosed with add/inattentive in class. We refused to have him diagnosed because we weren't going to medicate him anyway and they told us in so many words that if we refused to medicate him that they would have to put him in special ed class because it took him too long to complete his work and he constantly had to be reminded to finish it and by the way he was getting a's and b's. sorry if i'm rambelling i'm still furious at the school even after 6 months of unschooling. I'm sure there are kids who really do have add and I don't mean to start a debate at all i am just so fed up with everyone thinking it has to be add. We have discovered that our ds is a Kinesthetic learner (i'm completely opposite so its been interesting) and has had great success with more active learning strategies. For example I read aloud while he walks around the living room. Lots of words seem to send him off into lala land but he will listen to me read for hours. Understanding how his brain works has been so enlightening and I love to see him come alive at home when he used to leave for schooling crying and almost throwing up every day. any way I really liked this article I found www.latitudes.org/articles/learn01.html ( hope it's ok to put that up here) its called, "The Fine Line Between ADHD and Kinesthetic Learners". I also really liked the book, How Your Child is Smart, by Dawna Markova. It's directed toward children in school but it does a really wonderful job of describing the different types of learning styles along with examples and how to change your lifestyle to help your child succeed.
I have learned to not let it bother me when he doesn't follow up right away because if he's interested he seems to go back to it when he's ready. I think that when he finds something he really likes he is going to take off. I tend to get overly excited at anything he shows an interest in and go overboard on looking things up and discussing. If I let him be he tends to do it all on his own in his own time. THe book is really helpful in giving examples on how to deal with the part of being uninterested in things and how to help him find himself. hope this helps and thanks for letting me vent and i hope you can figure out whatworks best for him.
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