Saturday, October 4, 2008

Homeschooling Challenges...

If I were to visit the Pediatrician on any sort of regular basis, I can guarantee we would have been hit with the "your child has classic ADD/ADHD symptoms and we should start a med plan asap" line of garbage with Wild Child a long time ago. Truthfully, you could have probably nailed that label to him in utero.

  • Distractibility - cannot keep on task when given an assignment
  • Frustration - low frustration levels when given an assignment that is confusing or repetitious
  • Boredom - easily bored with repetitive tasks like spelling and handwriting, or math facts
  • Clueless - unless you are working with a gifted child, you will reach times where the information just isn't understood
  • Careless - sloppy work and careless mistakes
  • Endless school days - unaware of the concept of time and prove this by taking 3 hours to complete 5 math problems
  • Insanity - can drive even the sanest parent to question their sanity
  • Noise - 3 or more children chattering away at the same time, tapping pencils, rolling desk chairs across the floor; child 2 distracts child 1 while child 3 has disappeared to who knows where

That is our homestead to a tee. But, I am not a label person. Labels are the problem more times than they are a help. They hinder not only the person being labeled, but those dealing with that person as well. Once a child is labeled ADD/ADHD, that's all anyone sees when they look at a medical chart, public school record, or the child themselves. No one sees the actual child, just how they act...or how they think they should act base on the given label.

Wild Child is just that...he's wild. He's a boy, and he has enough pent up energy for at least a dozen boys his age. He's always been what you might call a handful of child. I don't really deal with him the way I should, but I do recognize his issues and I do try to work with them, not against them.

Given his attitude and level of sense, I'd say this child could be one of the best attorney's in the world one day. Defense or Prosecution...he would beat the pants off any other lawyer, hands-down. He has an argument for everything -- not always a battle sort of argument, but he has thought through virtually everything that will possibly happen between his current point A and point Z and all points in-between.

He knows your argument before you voice it, and he's ready for you.

I did an online 'quiz' once to get a picture of his personality. Wanna know what he was...on every portion, 110%?

Now I could get used to that label for him.

Being a Tigger, he has more energy than he knows what to do with. He has ideas for things to do that he just hasn't found time to test out yet. He dives into brambles head-first, not thinking about the snakes he might encounter...but thinking he might get to catch one. He strips down to his birthday suit and jumps into our seasonal pond...all of 18 inches of the muddiest muck you'll find around here, and we have seen some snakes in it. He doesn't care -- that's part of why he's in there in the first place!

How do you school a child like that? We aren't really much on the 'unschooling' plan. Dewey likes homeschool to walk and talk like the real deal, so we have textbooks and such. We have found that unit studies with plenty of up time to them -- hands-on projects, outdoor visits, movement -- work best for most subjects. I don't play with reading and math, though. He has to adjust to my methos there. The world isn't going to slow down (or speed up) to help him later in life. He has to learn to makesome adjustments himself. No longer than math and reading take, he can learn to sit and actually enjoy it I think.

We have a schedule and when it's not kept, it's obvious. Maybe not to everyone outside our home, but certainly to those of us on the inside. If we start the day later than normal, it shows in his demeanor. If we eat later than normal, it shows. If we change the morning routine, it shows. Sometimes it's not so in-your-face obvious, but we can all see it even in the small details. Without structure in his day, without knowing what's coming next, for him that's just too much to process and his internal springs begin to wind-up :o)

His diet is something to watch, as well. It isn't even so much the obvious sugars and 'whites' in his diet, but little things....processed meats of virtually any kind, too much natural fruit and fruit juices, condiments like ketchup, mustard, even relishes.

I do see some problems coming ahead with him. He is just wild, always on the move, never ever idle...not even when he's sleeping! When he was burned so badly last year, he had mega doses of meds to keep him as sedated as they could manage to do his cleanings daily. Seriously, we came to a level where he simply could not have any more, period. It wouldn't be safe for him. Yet, there he was, sedated fairly well for the most part, but still he was singing out loud on the table. Freaked out the doctors in there, let me tell you. He is a very vivid dreamer as well -- talks and sings in his sleep and all. He just breaks out in song...all kinds of the middle of the night and wakes everyone up.

At church, he's bouncing about the pew unless I pin him down next to me. Legs bouncing, arms moving, bobbing his head while we sing, whatever as long as it's movement.

There is no off button we've found yet. But, honestly, I don't know that I'd want one. This is who he is. This is what makes him Jacob....our Wild Child. He keeps me on my toes :o)

Here are some basic links with information on ADD, ADHD and such. If you have links to share, do leave me a comment. I could use all the help and reading I can find just to keep myself a step or two ahead of Wild Child :o)

ADHD of The Christian Kind -- there are some wonderful articles on this site. We have used their 7 Rules of Behavior for many years. They have some Bible studies related to ADHD also.

Born To Explore -- great site with information

Healthy Christian Living -- some thoughts on diet, as well as other areas. We are not a family that does OTC's or prescription meds at all, so natural is perfect for us.

Yesterday's Child -- definitely visit and read this story and don't peek ahead! This is so much our Jacob, but you might be surprised at who it's about in the end.


Anonymous said...

I would suggest you look into Hewitt for your child. I like it better than Konos. You can even get their unit studies on Ebay secondhand for less than thirty dollars. They cover a year.
A Bee Sees
Training Wheels
Across America
are a few of the year long titles. My son was labeled ADHD when he was 6 by public school, so we took him out to homeschool. He was in second grade at public school, and couldn't read.
I loved the Hewitt year long unit studies. They also use lots of games for learning like rummy roots, The Body Book, SomeBody, lots of Geography songs and maps along with coloring books,Math games with dice, cards, counting bears, rods, etc. I wasn't fond of the Miquon Math, but there are many other alternatives now. is a wonderful site to find products for active little boys. The most important thing is to make learning fun by using games, movement, hands on activities, etc. Science should be be nature collections and observations, playing with a battery and christmas lights using paperclips to make switches and different circuits. Broken toys that you can disassemble for small motors are great for science too. My son loved to use all sorts of little motors, wires, lights, gears, etc to make "inventions".

By the way, my son is 23 now, and works at a computer company setting up networks for businesses. He has also been part of the "geek squad" fixing computers and has worked as part of the "technical support" team of a DSL network company. People would call in with problems, and he was the one who would guide them through fixing their networks.

Mrs Dewey Smith said...

That is how our eldest son is. They tagged him early in school (federal funding for all those labeled children adds up in a district).

He is a whiz with math, always has been. When he was younger he would sit with those Where's Waldo books and I Spy books and whip through page after page finding everything on the list and then some in virtually no time at all.

Video games and cartoons were interesting for him more than other shows and games -- they moved quick enough to keep his attention at least a tiny bit longer.

I'll definitely look up the Hewitt things. I'm not familiar with them at all, but it sounds like something that would fit nicely here.



Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

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