by Allison Stanton
As a homeschool teacher of a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you are quite familiar with the challenges ADHD can bring into the classroom. While most students with ADHD are quite bright, the symptoms of the condition do not complement the average learning environment, which requires kids to focus, follow instructions and
Fortunately, there are a variety of adjustments that you can make to your homeschool classroom that will help your ADHD child become a successful student.
Choose seating carefully
Students with ADHD are often easily distracted, so consider keeping their desks away from windows and doors. In some cases, kids do well seated right in front of the classroom, but if the seemingly cool and interesting things on your desk or bookshelves will distract them further, another spot in the classroom might be better. If you teach multiple students at home, consider arranging their desks in a row.
Kids with ADHD often tend to do better in that setup, as opposed to a cluster of desks or around a larger table.
Give them an escape plan
Some students with ADHD can be easily frustrated or angered. Discussing a controversial topic in your classroom might push them to act out, fuss and fidget
even more than usual. Try to nip these situations in the bud as much as possible.
If you teach more than one child at home, speak to your ADHD student ahead of time and let them know that if the lesson bothers them, that they can remove themselves briefly from the classroom and go for a short walk in the house. You can also encourage kids to give you a signal when they are feeling overwhelmed; for example, they can put their hands on their heads or raise both hands in the air.
Help them refocus
To help get students with ADHD back on track during a lesson, Scholastic suggests teachers move around the room while they are talking. For some students, touching their desk or placing a brightly colored post-it note on their desk will help them to stop daydreaming and start listening to you again.
Structure your lesson carefully
Kids with ADHD often do well with audio cues, so when it’s time to start a lesson, give a bike horn a short toot or ring a small bell on your desk. If possible, list the different parts of the lesson on the board and let your child know what he or she will be learning and what you expect of them. Many students with ADHD do well when their teachers maintain eye contact with them when they are going over a lesson, this will also help you to monitor their behavior.
Keep your instructions as simple and structured as you can, and if possible, incorporate props and other visual aids into the lesson. Although some kids with ADHD are happy to be called on, others become overwhelmed by the attention and act out. Determine how your students do in these situations to see whether or not you want to ask them questions during the lesson or simply allow them to listen and learn.
Alison Stanton has been a freelance writer for the past 14 years. Based in the Phoenix, Arizona area, Alison enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics, but especially loves meeting interesting people and telling their stories.