Homeschooling a fidgety and easily distractable child...
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  1. #1
    Registered User Jamauk's Avatar
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    Default Homeschooling a fidgety and easily distractable child...

    ....I cringe at labeling my child, but I'm beginning to think my youngest may have some ADHD tendencies (I was diagnosed in college and put on Ritalin, something I will NEVER do to my children).

    However, he is so different from my oldest and I'm going to have to have a few tricks up my sleeve to keep him focused and working on what's in front of him. He's in preschool right now (he goes two days a week), but on the days that he's home we so desperately wants to be involved in our homeschool, but he is distracting to his older brother.

    Any advice?

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    Registered User 2ndGenGranola's Avatar
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    Make the curriculum fit the child, not the child fit the curriculum. Find something so he can be up and active rather than sitting at a desk. That is the whole joy of homeschooling.

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    Registered User frugalwarrior's Avatar
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    Short sit downs intermixed w/ physical activities. He may need extra maturing time. I have 2 w/ ADD/ADHD. KNew I couldn't home school. Teach the alphbet to dancing and clapping and stomping. Action videos like sesame street= doing the batty bat w/ the count. You will need multiple ways for the same message. My DD seems to send everything to long term memory directly. So endless lessons can be accessed the next day only. Maybe have a mother helper come over sometimes too.?? Too young for meds. Check out- LD online (Its a site)

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    Registered User zakity's Avatar
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    We unschooled for years. It really worked well for us. I did the "ok, they need to learn this, how do I do it without curriculum" school of thought rather than the "leave them alone and they will learn it eventually" school of thought.
    Beak-1996, Toad-1998, and Q-1998
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    Registered User NewLeaf's Avatar
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    My youngest has adhd and is on meds. I was extremely hesitant to put him on meds. But after alot of prayer and time and research and talking to his doctor, we decided to try it. I thought, "I can always stop the medication." For us it was a godsend. But I understand NOT wanting to go that route and I hope we can get ds off the meds as he matures.

    Check out adhdnews.com. It is a website that has a parent's forum that allows you to see both sides and gives alot of really useful info on natural ways to help adhd (we tried alot of those too).

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    Registered User Rebookie's Avatar
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    My child is the same way, he isn't adhd though (had him tested). I would wait to start things with him because he probably isn't emotionally ready. My son went to school though he was emotionally not ready, and he had a VERY hard time(not with the learning) but with behaving. He's in second grade now and has FINALLY gotten it. If I could turn back the clock I would've held him home until the very last minute.

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    Registered User Nishu's Avatar
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    When we first started Kindergarten with my middle child, she was super excited to work on her lessons, but she would get ahead of herself and want to do her work HER way, skipping pages and just coloring on the pictures. The only rule we really have for her now is that if she wants to do her real lessons, she has to do the pages right and in order. It was a pretty easy idea for her to take in. The problem was, she still wanted to participate even when she didn't want to do it right.

    I went to the learning tree (in Silverdale) with the idea of getting her some easy books to work on, books that were semi-educational so they'd pass off as school work but that she could scribble on at will. What I ended up taking home were a box of wipe off crayons (3.29) and two wipe off workbooks (bout 4.50 each.) We work until on her regular schoolwork until she gets bored with it, then she pulls out her wipe off books and she works on her own for a long time after that. She likes the fact that she can do any page she wants however she wants without my supervision. When she's done with a book, she likes to wipe it off herself and start over.

    If he hasn't learned his letters yet, you might look at the leapfrog series of videos called The Letter Factory and The Talking Words Factory. My kids loved those videos and they both knew their letters at a pretty early age because of them. (YES, I TOTALLY let TV educate my kids... I just want to throw that out there before anyone makes accusations. I'm guilty as charged.)

    If he likes computer games, you might try putting him on starfall.com while you work with your older kid. That helped last us year when I needed a few minutes to focus on my oldest. (Yes, I let the computer babysit my kid, too. I'm a terrible parent.)

    This is what has worked for us. At the preschool level, I wouldn't be the slightest bit concerned with him being fidgety... it's completely normal.

  8. #8
    Moderator nuisance26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nishu View Post

    If he hasn't learned his letters yet, you might look at the leapfrog series of videos called The Letter Factory and The Talking Words Factory. My kids loved those videos and they both knew their letters at a pretty early age because of them. (YES, I TOTALLY let TV educate my kids... I just want to throw that out there before anyone makes accusations. I'm guilty as charged.)

    If he likes computer games, you might try putting him on starfall.com while you work with your older kid. That helped last us year when I needed a few minutes to focus on my oldest. (Yes, I let the computer babysit my kid, too. I'm a terrible parent.)
    ~I'm so with you on these two! I'd always believed that I'd have a quiet, tv free home until the kids with their special needs came along. Ds rarely spoke at all his first 3 years unless it was in response to one of his educational videos or video games. They were wonderful for him!
    My kids have totally changed my opinions about education. I was planning to teach the way I had learned and I'm so glad that I realized that I need to teach how they learn.
    I recommend the LeapFrog series too. My kids barely spoke as toddlers but they loved to say their ABC's! My kids are also loving the Little Einsteins. They go around singing their own songs to classical music!
    Computer games are well loved here too. I particularly recommend the the Reader Rabbit series and the Freddi Fish series. They're just a couple of bucks new and my kids absolutely love them!
    Ok now that I'm done commenting about how great tv and games can be I'll respond to Jessica(and again talk about video games!)
    My dd is hyper and chatty and was very distracting to ds. So now if she's not busy enough playing in another room with her toys, I let her play one of the dozen or so games we have for our hand held Leapster and V-Smile.
    It's been taking less than a half hour a day for ds to do his workbooks without distraction.
    Dd is included in PE/Health, reading, crafts, story-time, and educational trips. She must not feel left out because she seems to be thriving on this system as well.
    I don't want to sound critical but I wonder if going to preschool is part of the problem? Most preschools have a very structured day and he may be more distracting at home because of the difference in structure. Has the school ever mentioned the possibility of ADHD?~

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    Registered User Nishu's Avatar
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    My daughter likes PuttPutt Saves the zoo in the Freddi Fish series. I keep meaning to pick up the rest.

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    Moderator nuisance26's Avatar
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    ~Oh, Putt Putt is a good series too! Since both of my kids have speech problems, I especially love how clearly everything is pronounced on the computer games. Some of the V-Smile games and various Elmo type stuff even I can't understand. I'm not sure how they expect to teach children anything if they don't enunciate! (rant over)~

  11. #11
    Registered User Jamauk's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your responses! I posted this thread originally the other day when I was at my wits end and extremely frustrated with him!

    I also think I'm overly sensitive to his fidgety-ness because he is sssoo much like me!! No teacher took the time to teach to the way I learn. I made good grades and often skated by with very little effort (in elem - high schools). When I got to college I crashed because I didn't know how to study, didn't know how to write papers, etc....I didn't have the ability to focus long enough to complete my work.

    No one has ever taught me these tools and to this day I struggle with housework, finishing projects that I've started (you don't want to know how many quilts I have in various stages of completion around here!). I'm notorious for saying I'll so something, but then I get distracted and completely forget.

    So, I guess the issues I'm facing are:
    1. I get so frustrated with him (because he is so much like me ~ and it worries me)
    2. If I still don't even have these tools to cope with my learning style, how am I supposed to teach them to him?


    Nishu ~ I went to The Learning Tree the other day to buy a ream of paper. I came out $87 later!!! I can't go in there without buying half the store! But I like your idea. One issue we are having is he wants to just scribble on everything.

    We do have the Leap Frog videos and Leapsters. Maybe I'll have to incorporate that into some of his lessons. I forgot about starfall, so I'll also have to look there. The only problem I have with that is the computer is about as far from the homeschool area as you can get in our house. So, he'd be isolated in here......but we're working on getting the computer moved.

    As for his preschool ~ we chose this one specifically because its NOT very structured. Its almost 100% child led free play. They do have crafts and games, etc...available to them, but they are free to play with pretty much anythign they want. They have about 10 minutes of circle time in the beginning, then free play, then snack, then more free play. Then circle time again for a story and to say goodbye.

    His teachers did mention that he seems so much more "alive" this year than last. But they said he hasn't had any behavioral problems at all and he's always polite, uses his manners and follows their directions.

    At home, he's *constantly* moving. The kid just can. not. sit still. I'll ask him to go brush his teeth, or get dressed, or pick up his toys (or whatever) and he says "ok mom" and walks about half way to where he was headed and without fail, gets distracted by something else and completely forgets what he had set off to do. Its SSSOOO me and it frightens me.

    We've talked about it a bit and he really really really wants to do the things I asked, and he gets so upset if I have to ask him several times (because it usually means I'm on the verge of losing my temper), but rather than being whiny about having to do it, I can see in his eyes that he's more disappointed in himself that he keeps forgetting. It breaks my heart.

    He's such a HAPPY boy. He just loves life and thinks every day is the best day of his life! But he's very dramatic and if he's been wronged in some way, he's over the top with tears and throwing himself on the ground and freaking out. But five seconds later he's back to being the happiest boy alive.

    I just want to the very best for him that I can, but I'm afraid I don't know how (yet).

    Ok, this went on longer than I thought....thanks for letting me rant a little here!

  12. #12
    Moderator YankeeMom's Avatar
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    Is it the pre-schooler that's fidgety? Aren't preschooler's supposed to fidget?

    My 11yo, on the other hand, can't keep still to save his life! He's always tapping his foot, tapping his pencil, making mouth noises, etc. I've learned to tune him out. Thankfully the noise doesn't bother his younger brother in the slightest.

    Oh and I just found this article the other day, I thought it was great!
    http://www.homeschool-your-boys.com/how-boys-learn.html

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    Registered User joyofsix's Avatar
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    My 8yo is a complete fidget bug. (I also have the attention span of a gnat.) What is working well for us is:
    letting him stand or sit on an exercise ball so he can fidget
    I read him stories, history, etc while he jumps on the trampoline. As long as he can tell me what I read to him it's fine. I think he hears better.
    We work in 10 minute breaks, take 3-5 minutes to literally run, wiggle, dance and then come back.

    My pre-schooler is only 2 but some things that have worked for keeping her 'out of my hair', along with lots of exercise (we start each morning with a bike ride or walk)
    play-doh
    magnet letters
    a shoebox w/cornmeal to pour and dump ( I put it on an old table cloth), when she's bored with that one I'm gonna try lentils
    shaving cream, she'll play in that for a long time, yours could trace letters or draw pictures
    putting things in containers with tongs, honestly pom poms kill hours, he could sort by color
    check out http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/myquiversfull/ or
    http://lapbooksbycarisa.homestead.com/TotSchool.html
    Mom to Emma, Spencer, Connor, Lily,Fletcher, Amelia and Adeline.

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    Registered User Jamauk's Avatar
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    Yes, its the preschooler. I understand a certain level of fidgety-ness is normal. But this is beyond even what I'd consider slightly excessive for a preschooler. He also has little to no attention span.

    We read about the excersize ball trick, now I just gotta get out and buy one. I like the trampoline idea, too.
    My biggest concern right now is how distracting he is to his older brother (who, by nature, works very quietly and focuses so much on things he often forgets where he is) ~ how did I end up with two totally different human beings in my house?!? LOL!!

  15. #15
    Registered User joyofsix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamauk View Post
    ~ how did I end up with two totally different human beings in my house?!? LOL!!
    It's the karmic sense of humor. I didn't even know there were seven personality types until I had kids seven kids.
    Oh, and I just bought a cheapo giant kick ball at Walmart. I think I paid $3.
    Mom to Emma, Spencer, Connor, Lily,Fletcher, Amelia and Adeline.

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