ADHD, homeschooling

So, You Want to Homeschool Your ADHD Child

First,  relax. I know it’s very overwhelming,  but you can do this!

One step at a time.

The first thing you need to know is that there are multiple educational styles or approaches.

It looks like a traditional approach (what the public schools use) is not working for your child (or you’d probably leave them in school).

Don’t worry!

Even though the traditional approach to schooling what the public schools and many people consider “normal,” it’s not the only education method.

And it’s certainly not the most effective method for most children to learn.

It works well for a huge group of kids which is why the public schools use it.

But you don’t have 40 students, right?  

So you can easily use a different, more effective method of education which should make learning easier for your child.

If you put him or her into an online public school or other “normal” program it will more than likely adhere to the traditional approach and your child will continue to struggle.

I recommend that before you look into online schools or specific curriculum, you look at different educational methods such as delight-led learning, life-schooling, and unschooling.

There are tons of educational styles.

Homeschooling is a completely different creature from public school.

And you might have to unlearn some things you thought you knew in order to make this work,.

But I believe in you!

You can do this because you love your child more and are far more invested in her future than a teacher overseeing 20 or 30 or even 40 kids.

I recommend finding an online support group or a local support group. If you have a child with ADHD, I recommend my Facebook group called “Homeschooling the ADHD Child.”

These links may interest you:

This talks about different educational and teaching styles.

How to Determine Your Homeschool Style

This talks about learning styles

How to Determine Your Child’s Learning Style

This addresses the fear of every homeschool parent of what about if they’re behind. Make sure to follow the link to the second post about answers to questions about being behind.

There’s No Behind in Homeschool

This has some important points which I wish I had understood when I started homeschooling.

11 Things Homeschool Moms Need to Know

This post is about the importance of taking a break from book learning when you pull a kid out of school so that the child can recover from the damage left by the brick-and-mortar school. They need to relearn that learning can be fun and doesn’t have to be scary and overwhelming.

The Importance of Deschooling

Why non-traditional education methods work well for those with ADHD

ADDitude Magazine Endorses Homeschooling when Public School Isn’t Working 

I also recommend reading your state laws.

Homeschool Laws in Your State

Feel free to ask questions and I will help as best as I can either here in the comments on via private message on my Facebook page for Grace Under Pressure.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

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marriage

Helping Your Introvert Survive A Conference


Have you ever tried to survive a conference with an introvert?

It can be quite challenging –not only for the introvert but for their extroverted companions.

Here are some ideas to help both of you survive.

These ideas come from my own experiencing with my beloved introvert and may not apply to all introverts.

1) Understand as much as you can. If you’re an extrovert you need to understand that being introverted isn’t a character flaw. If you think introvertedness is a flaw, this is going to be a bumpy conference (not to mention marriage or friendship). So, change the way you think about your introvert. Value the differences, the way that God made him. This is important. Very, very important.

2) Let them take breaks. I remember the first time my husband and I attended our annual homeschool conference. It was very overwhelming for him.  We solved this problem by coming up with a number of solutions.

a) We located the closest exit in the event that he needed some fresh air.

b) We located low volume areas where he could get away from the crowd of 2,000 people.

c) I encouraged him to bring his laptop with his headset so he could watch a familiar Hulu show or play a game if he needed a break (this was before we had smartphones).

3) Make expectations clear. Here’s what I did:

a) Prepare. I told him ahead of time that I was okay if he skipped any of the sessions.

b) Schedule. I showed him the schedule ahead of time and let him know which sessions I would prefer to attend with him.

c) Set goals. I set goals like I want to at least go to the Math U See booth in the curriculum hall and attend Homeschooling Special Needs 101.

4) Appreciate what you have. Focus on the fact that your introvert was willing to attend and not about all the things you feel like he is missing. It’s a blessing that you have an introvert who is willing to deal with that sort of crowd to be with you at something that’s important to you.

5) Compromise. Be willing to leave if it just becomes too much. Leave with him if you’re able to. Leave permanently if you need to, or just go for a drive.  All those people may be too much for him, but I bet he likes spending time with you and that it would mean a lot to him if you were willing to take a break with him.

6) Reprieve. Give him space when you get home, especially if he managed to make it through the entire day without needing a break. I’ve seen research that suggests that extremely introverted people need 10 minutes of alone time for every 1 hour that they’re with people. So if your introvert was “on” socially for 8 hours, that means he may need as much as 80 minutes (1 hour 20 minutes)  to be socially “off.” Socially off means something different for an introvert than an extrovert: it means no one making any demands from them for that amount of time.  

Remember that God made us all different. Just because he’s wired differently, doesn’t make it wrong.

My introvert is caring, considerate,  kind, and an awesome listener.

I wouldn’t trade that for anything, not even a life-of-the-party conference goer.

Introvertedness does not need to be fixed. It needs to be understood and valued.

I have always appreciated it when my husband made the effort to attend the conference with me.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

P.S. If you liked this post you might like this one about being married to an introvert or this one that gives more information about our local homeschool conference

ADHD, homeschooling

The Connection Between Autism and ADHD

If you spend much time looking into ADHD or autism, you will learn that researchers consider them to be in the same category of disorders: developmental disorders.

A developmental disorder is not a mental illness or psychological disorder. It is a difference in the way that brain develops.

For this reason in many cases, some parts of the brain mature at a different rate than other parts.

I have discussed in detail in another post why we need to value and appreciate those differences.

This post is about the connection between ADHD and autism.

There are many theories about how ADHD and autism are connected; this is how the connection was explained to me.

I made this chart a few years ago for my Facebook group, Homeschooling the ADHD Child, based on my doctor’s explanation of how he believed ADHD was connected to autism.

There is so much overlap between the two disorders.

And numerous theories about how they are connected.

I offer it here in hopes that it is helpful to others as it was to me.

[Credit for this information goes to Dr. Keith Swanson, Salem, Oregon, and it was based on diagnostic criteria available in 2009. I know that autism is not broken into parts under the current criteria. I think the information here is still useful for conversation and consideration.] 

Theory of ADHD on the Autism Spectrum.jpg

I hope this chart is insightful.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

illness

Vasovagal: My Stress Reaction Explained

You might notice some changes on the blog. Please be patient as we try to upgrade with as few hiccups as possible.


The first time it happened I was singing a solo in front of about 200 people.

As I finished, I noticed that I was having blurry vision and was feeling shaky on my feet.

I carefully descended the stairs from the pulpit and holding on to the edges of the chairs made my way to the back of the sanctuary to the ladies room where I sat in one of the stalls until the dizziness went away.

As soon as I stood up again, it was back.

I went next door to the nursery and asked if I could lay on the floor for a few minutes.

The nursery worker –a nurse practitioner– took one look at my pale, clammy face and told me to lay down.

I assured her that I didn’t think I was actually sick with a cold but just that I was dizzy.

She knew I had thyroid problems and encouraged me to talk to my endocrinologist about what had happened.

Which I did.

He told me it was because I didn’t exercise enough, weighed too much, and I wasn’t consistent with taking my iron supplement (I was, but since my lab numbers weren’t going up, he said I must not be taking them).

That was ten years ago.

Sometime after that, I remember trying to walk through a wooded park with my sister in law and having to stop every 15 or 20 feet to rest. I couldn’t even get to the next park bench before I had to sit down.

I had no idea what was wrong, but I was no quitter! So, I kept pushing myself until I was so dizzy I couldn’t walk.

I lay in a patch of grass along the path until the dizziness and disorientation went away.

I finally admitted that I was beaten.

I just needed to go home.

Maybe I would be able to walk farther next time.

This only got worse.

More recently anything can trigger one of these episodes.

Heat.

Anxiety.

Food reactions.

Lack of food.

Arguments.

Emotional stress.

It seems that any time my system is stressed (physically or emotionally) it resorts to this, and the only way to shut it off is to sit or lay down.

I didn’t know what these episodes were until a few weeks ago when I had an episode while in my doctor’s clinic for IV nutrients.

I had one of my episodes right in front of my doctor.

That’s when the magic word was spoken that explained what was going on.  

Vasovagal.

Now, plenty of people have vasovagal episodes.

Remember that kid who passed out in high school choir even though the director said to never lock your knees?

That was a vasovagal episode.

Here’s the thing though: tons of people have an episode sometime in their lives.

It’s not so common to have them a few times a week for a decade.

Basically, what it means is that stress triggers my blood pressure to drop.

Then, there isn’t enough blood going around to all the parts of my body that really should have blood visiting them regularly.

My legs get shaky.

My breath gets labored.

My mind doesn’t work.

My speech gets slurred.

And I feel all around horrible.

This is basically what I have been referring to as “disoriented” for years now with no explanation of what is going on.

Most doctors I saw just wrote it off.

I honestly thought that it was from low iron and was very disappointed when my iron levels came up and these symptoms didn’t go away.

One time, when I got really really stressed, the symptoms were extremely bad.

I had pushed myself too hard physically and I was dealing with anxiety because it was the first time I had ever not been able to walk and had to use a wheelchair.

The episode that followed ended me up in emergency doctor appointments because my doctor thought I had a heart attack.

I couldn’t breathe.

I had pain in my chest.

I couldn’t walk.

I couldn’t think.

I don’t remember feeling panicked at that moment, but my body was obviously not happy.

Apparently, it is not uncommon for these episodes to be misdiagnosed as a heart problem.

A dozen tests and 6 months later, my doctor still couldn’t find anything wrong with my heart.

Why do I tell you all this?

Because this is the reason I can’t handle drama on my Facebook wall, homeschool groups, author page, or in the comments.

This is the reason all my online spaces have specific rules about how I expect people to behave in my online space.

This is the reason I don’t publish any and all comments to the blog.

I love you all, but I am not willing to risk having one of these episodes and being days in bed –or worse ending up in the ER.

Yeah, I could stop writing, but wouldn’t that be like admitting defeat?

Am I going to crawl in a hole and hide in fear of life?

That’s not really the way I am.

I am more likely to make rules that create drama free environments and remove comments and people who are unkind.

I am more likely to try to do as much and as best as I can to function and live normally until it is obvious that I cannot.

I have been able to significantly minimize my symptoms by lowering my exposure to online drama.

I wish I had known a long time ago what was happening.

All I knew before I started reading up on vasovagal was that being dragged into a single argument on Facebook could easily result in 3 or 4 days where I was unable to walk. (Vasovagal is just a symptom and not an actual diagnosis –that’s yet to come; perhaps POTS or dysautonomia)

It didn’t make any sense –but it was my reality.

Instead of shutting myself off from all people, I made parameters for interaction such as letting people who are my Facebook friends know that if they are argumentative on my wall, I would unfriend them for the sake of my health.

I like walking.

It’s fun to not be stuck in bed unable to function.

I actually dream of riding a bike again someday.

I don’t want to end up in ER or emergency doctor appointments.

So, I limit my online exposure and monitor my online spaces to keep them as stress-free as possible.

I wrote this all out so that if you’re my Facebook friend, or in one of my groups, or commenting on my author page, and wonder why I adhere to “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” you will know why.

I am hoping that understanding will help other people, too: I wonder how many other people have lived with similar symptoms or years with no answers like I have.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

 

parenthood

Why I’ll Never Say “Just Wait Until He Is Older!”

I will never ever tell you “If you think it’s bad now just wait until he/she/they’re teens!”

Why not?

First of all, it’s completely unhelpful to a mom of young children to put dread and fear in her mind of something that is probably a decade away and not written in stone.

Second, a lot of teens are not horrible vile monsters who are out to make their parents lives a living misery.

Many are sweet, kind, helpful, mature-for-their-age young people who blow you away with their mature behavior and attitude.

That doesn’t mean they never do stuff that makes you wonder or want to pull out your hair, but overall they’re not the nightmare that was foretold.

Thirdly, I refuse to do that to other moms, because it was repeatedly done to me; and it was very discouraging!

I remember how discouraging it was for me to hear that sort of prediction when my boys were really little.

When you’re really struggling, the last thing you want is for someone to say “You ain’t seen nothin yet!”

Why don’t we share hope instead of fear?

Now, admittedly, my son is only 15, but he’s a far cry from what I was told I would have in a 15-year-old boy.

This young man, when I was in so much pain I couldn’t put my own shoes on, put my shoes on me every day for a year a never once complained.

He picks up the slack around the house when I’m sick or struggling.

He and his brother a blessing.

It’s possible that things could go awry and he’ll get rebellious or something when he’s older.

But, from where I stand now, the teen years have been nothing but a huge blessing.

I know many, many Christian families who would say the same thing: that it’s not nearly as bad as those fear mongers say.

I actually think some people resent that their teens are so difficult and get some sort of glee out of predicting that a 4-year-old is going to make his frazzled mother even more miserable in 10 years.

Not everyone of course.

Some people use it as a warning of what might be, like “Hey, I just thought you should know it gets worse.”

But does it?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

Only time will tell.

I’ve certainly had my struggles with my family, and my boys have gone through rough patches where I wondered what on earth I was going to do with these children.

But, overall, they bring me such joy.

I can’t imagine my life without them.

I don’t have any regrets.

I wouldn’t change a thing (except maybe have more children if that we’re feasible).

So, mama, out there with a screaming 3-year-old who’s determined to have his own way: stay strong.

You can do this.

I believe in you.

I believe in the plan that God has for this child.

I don’t believe you’re powerful enough to mess up God’s plan. (Sorry! You’re awesome, but not that awesome!)

And I will not put the fear of teenagers in you.

Rather, I implore you to pray for that child.

Pray for his heart to be open to the things of God.

Pray for him to choose the path of wisdom.

Pray that you’ll be able to win his heart.

Pray that he’ll heed correction.

Pray that he’ll make good friends.

Pray that he’ll pick a good wife.

Pray that he’ll have a servant’s heart.

Pray that you’ll be the example of Jesus to him that he needs to see.

And rest in God’s goodness.

It’s there.

I promise.

In the midst of screaming toddlers or even rebellious teenagers.

God is God of the storms.

Sometimes He calms that storm.

Other times, He asks us to believe that the storm is there for a reason.

So rest in Him, mama.

Regardless of what the future holds.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes