The Challenges of Homeschooling with ADHD

For many parents of children who are special needs or neurodivergent, such as children with ADHD, homeschooling is a better fit than trying to struggle within the traditional educational system. The flexibility is exactly what a lot of kids need in order to thrive, learn, and grow. However, homeschooling a child with ADHD can also present its own unique set of challenges. If you're trying to homeschool your child and are struggling or are planning to start homeschooling, check out these four common challenges parents face - and how to solve them!

1. Scheduling Many homeschooling parents will start out trying to imitate the "school format" as much as possible within their home, starting with a firm schedule to ensure that each subject has plenty of time spent on it each day. However, children with ADHD often struggle with being able to operate on other people's timetables. Jumping into a task they're not particularly excited about can feel like pulling teeth, with their ability to focus completely out the window. Alternatively, if they're highly engaged in a certain task, getting them to put it down can be equally as challenging.

Rather than deciding upon the schedule for your child, let them take the lead. There may be days or weeks where they don't show a lot of interest in science, but are consumed with excitement to learn about their current history topic. Follow their lead and dive deep into history! Trust that soon, they'll start to show some interest in a new subject and you will be able to spend plenty of time learning about it then.

2. Organization Homeschooling requires a lot of materials and supplies to be at the ready - after all, you've got a whole school to run for your kiddo! Keeping things organized is going to be a top priority to ensure that you're ready to teach your child about everything they need to know. However, making sure to keep all those materials and supplies organized is a lot harder than it sounds. Those with ADHD struggle significantly with being able to keep a space tidy or even remember where they put down an important object. Due to the volume of materials needed and the disorganization of your only student, things are bound to get messy and chaotic very quickly.

The best way to avoid this is by setting up your space in an ADHD-friendly way. The motto of ADHD organization is "if I don't see it, it doesn't exist." Keep materials in open-topped and see-through bins where it's easy to locate an object, or find where it belongs. Put bins and containers in high-traffic areas where it's easy to access them, and putting them away isn't going to force your child to go too far out of the way. Try and work a "sprint clean" of 5 to 10 minutes of tidying into your daily routine so that things can get picked up that haven't made their way home without spending too long on having to pick up at once.

3. Sound Noise is always something of a balancing act with ADHD. A complete lack of sound can be unnerving for those with ADHD, who are incapable of focusing without a certain level of stimulation being provided. However, an overwhelming amount of noise or noise that is too interesting, like music or television, can completely distract them from the task at hand very easily.

To create a healthy workspace for a child with ADHD, try creating some focus-friendly background noise that can provide a certain amount of stimulation without throwing too much distraction their way. Many people find white noise a great option, and instrumental music or a soundtrack to a movie can also be helpful. Provide your child with some soundproof (and durable!) headphones they can wear while working on a task to further prevent them from getting distracted during their studies.

4. Seating Children with ADHD and regular chairs simply don't go well together. In a regular school, your children might work at a rigid desk or chair, that only allow the student to sit in one particular position for the entirety of their work time. As such, kids start to get physically uncomfortable and try to move around to find a different comfortable position, only to find that no matter how they move, their chair is uncomfortable to sit in. Soon they're feeling fidgety, stuck, and are completely incapable of focusing on the lesson in front of them.

Instead, offer your child flexible options for seating. Provide them with options like sitting at the dining room table, lounging on the couch, sitting on a beanbag chair, or using fidget-friendly seating options like a wobble stool. A quality versatile portable desk can easily turn any sitting option, regardless of location or position, into a simple and easy space in which to work.

Over to you

If you are looking for a portable desk that can be used inside, outdoors, or anywhere that's comfortable, check out DidiDesk, a versatile and foldable desk that allows your child to work how they choose.