Hey Y’all, while amid this stay-at-home craziness, I thought I’d let you in on my secret to successful homeschooling. I know it seems impossible to tame hyper/inattentive children in just 5 steps, but as a mother and former educator… I promise it works!
Step 1: Have a Homeschool Schedule
Every school teacher has a set schedule that they abide by in the classroom. Yes, even kindergarten teachers. You need to start thinking of yourself as a teacher and your child(ren) as the student(s). Having a set time that you wake up, eat, and work on each subject helps you keep your teacher hat on and gives your kiddos the structure they need to stay focused.
Step 2: Have a Homeschool Plan
No, this is not the same as step one. Your plan is for what you’re teaching, not when you’re teaching it. Some of you may be lucky and have lesson plans from your child’s teacher(s). If so, then the plan is already there for you, and you just need to put it into your schedule. If not, email your child’s teacher to see if they will send some plans, or look up homeschooling resources online. Regardless of how you create/acquire your lesson plans, you should make sure you’ve read them and understand what is expected. If you don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing, neither will your child.
Step 3: Teach Subjects from Least to Greatest (Based on your child’s interests)
This one will save you a lot of headaches in the long run. My youngest daughter’s favorite subject is math, and her least favorite is reading. We always start the day with reading and end it with math. That way, she is motivated to get through all the boring stuff in anticipation of the one she likes. I made the mistake of starting with math on the first day, and we didn’t finish any other subjects that day. Nothing focused her once she’d finished the “fun stuff.”
Step 4: Stay Medicated
If you and/or your child are like my family, we usually don’t take our ADHD meds on weekends or breaks. We like the freedom to just be our wholly atypical and creative selves. We do, however, take our meds every weekday morning while we’ve been homeschooling. It creates a clear difference between “homeschool” and just “home.” Also, it really does help us focus on the menial tasks required throughout the day. So, if you and/or your child have meds, make sure you’re taking them. It makes a world of difference.
Step 5: Take Breaks Often
This is probably the most critical step. Your ADHD brain is in heaven right now… There is no need to force it to conform to neurotypical schedules and rules. You are free to take breaks and let you and your child recharge before diving into the next subject. When I was teaching, I called them brain breaks. They were usually no longer than 5 minutes and mostly involved some sort of physical activity. A great free resource to use at home for brain breaks is gonoodle.com (it’s for elementary age kids, but my high schooler still secretly loves it 😉). If you’re not familiar with it yet, believe me, it’s going to become your best friend very quickly.
Bonus: Have Fun
Last but certainly not least… have fun being with your littles. Even if they aren’t so little anymore! After lunch, I’ve been known to play a videogame with the teens or watch a show with my 5yo. You can have a dance party or camp out in the backyard with little ones. Have a movie marathon or gaming binge with your teens. The list is as long as your imagination can make it. Use every moment of this forced togetherness to your advantage. Most of all, enjoy this time because before you know it they’ll be off to college!… That’s it Y’all, Happy Homeschooling…
Until next time…