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ADHD: Homeschool vs Public School

ADHD: Homeschool vs Public School
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Every parent wants the best learning environment for their child. When you have a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), however, this can sometimes be easier said than done. That’s because traditional schools, for children with ADHD, are not often set up to accommodate impulse control issues, high levels of distractibility or hyperactivity.

The good news is that parents have more than one option in terms of school choice. Now gaining strong popularity for the past two decades, homeschooling offers a unique alternative for families of children and teens with ADHD. When children are not thriving in a classroom setting, homeschooling can be an alternate worth considering. On this page you will get a closer look at these two educational options to help you decide which one is the right choice for your specific child and family.

ADHD and Public School

Traditional school, with its rules and expectations, can be somewhat of a landmine for students operating without the sensory filters that their peers have. Not only must kids navigate the educational requirements, but they also are faced with a host of social interactions, boundaries, and distractions that can blow them off course at any point.

If you already have a student in public school who has ADHD, you are likely familiar with Individualized Education Plans (IEP). If you don’t, it is an acronym that is important to know. All public schools are required to follow specialized plans for students with identified special needs. For students with ADHD, an IEP might specify services such as extended time for taking tests, permission to tape lectures, or assistance with note taking.

In addition to an IEP, there are other factors to consider when deciding if public school is right for your child. These include:

  • Classroom size
  • Teacher-to-student ratio
  • The school’s approach to mainstreaming vs special education classrooms
  • Whether teachers have received training on teaching children with ADHD
  • How the teacher/school communicates and works with parents
  • How behavioral issues are dealt with

Plenty of families of children with ADHD have successful school experiences with teachers and administrators who make students feel empowered and engaged. However, if this has not been the case for you, there are definitely other options.

Homeschooling Kids with ADHD

When IEPs and accommodations aren’t enough, or aren’t being followed in a way that benefits a student, families tend to wonder, “Should I homeschool my child with ADHD?” Home education offers children and teens with ADHD the advantages of:

  • A customized curriculum mix that fits their specific learning preferences and interests
  • Being able to take breaks, as needed, during the day to optimize attention and performance
  • Schooling at the time of day that they are at their peak attention
  • Using computer-aided instruction, which has been shown to benefit ADHD learners
  • Fewer distractions than a traditional classroom environment

If you are transitioning a student with ADHD from school to homeschooling, you may find that many of the “difficult behaviors” teachers reported seem to disappear in the more serene and individualized homeschool environment. In fact, many families report that students who had previously declared that they “hated school” began to fall in love with learning again once their educational needs were addressed.

Which Option Is Best for Your Family?

When choosing between educational programs for kids with ADHD, it can be helpful to look at the pros and cons of each. The following chart outlines some of the general advantages and disadvantages of both homeschool and public school options for these students.

Homeschool Public School
Curriculum Homeschoolers have the flexibility to choose curricula and resources that align to student’s needs and interests. Students will usually be required to follow the general curriculum, although accommodations may be made.
Learning Environment Learning at home usually means fewer distractions plus the ability to take frequent breaks and to schedule learning for times when child/teen is at their best. Traditional school is usually a highly stimulating environment. It requires a defined set of rules and behaviors to operate successfully.
Socialization While students may have less day-to-day interaction with peers than in traditional schools, bullying becomes a non-issue. Students also have opportunities to connect with other homeschoolers via support group activities and field trips. While a traditional school environment offers plenty of opportunities to practice social interaction skills, difficulties making and keeping friends can lead to isolation and even bullying.
Teachers Parents, in the role of homeschool teacher, have the opportunity to offer a 1-to-1 instruction ratio that rarely, if ever, is possible in a traditional school setting. Even the best-trained and most intentionally dedicated teachers still have to teach “to the average.” Giving each student individualized attention simply isn’t possible in a varied (and often overcrowded) classroom.
Special Education Services Homeschool families,depending on their state, are not usually eligible for special education services offered through the public schools. These must be purchased privately. Depending on the state, district, and school system where you reside, your child may be eligible for speech, occupational, and other therapies at no cost.

The Time4Learning online curriculum helps both homeschoolers and public schoolers make the most of their educational options. Student-paced multimedia lessons, printable worksheets, ongoing assessments and detailed reporting make our learning system an effective and affordable choice for homeschooling.

Time4Learning is a great afterschool helper, too. Students can access the curriculum 24/7 from any computer with an internet connection to engage in an inexpensive and interactive alternate to tutoring.

Choose your subject and grade level to experience demos of Time4Learning’s interactive curriculum.

Have other questions about homeschooling a child with ADHD? You may find the following pages helpful.

PreK - 8th

$19.95$24.95
  • Monthly First Student
  • $14.95/month for each additional student

9th - 12th

$30.00$34.95
  • Monthly Per Student
  • Includes 4 courses

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