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  1. #1

    Default New and overwhelmed!

    I am a mom to 3 kids 9, 11, and 13. My younger girls have done well(ish) in school, but my oldest has struggled since the beginning. He's a bright kid, but has severe ADHD making school a constant challenge. He was a bright, inquisitive, happy little boy, but after spending years in school he has turned into an angry, frustrated, negative, kid who hates school and has never fit in. He used to love to read and worked hard but over time he stopped reading for fun and just quickly got his work done without any care or effort. I'm know I'm diving into the deep end, but I am hoping with homeschool I can help him gain confidence, renew his love for learning, and find my happy lovable kid again. My head is spinning as I try to figure out how to homeschool starting in 8th grade. Trying to find a flexible secular curriculum has been a challenge so any tips at all would be incredibly helpful. I think I need the most help with language arts resources as my background is science and, while I do read, I haven't thought about analyzing literature, poetry, or writing essays in years. Also any ideas to help foster a child's love for learning and get him interested in reading again? The one major advantage to his ADHD is hyper-focus. If he is interested he will dive deeply into the topic and spend hours trying to figure something out (he was thrilled yesterday to show me a GIF he created using Blender and explained how he had to calculated degrees for rotation, etc. as he did it - I know little about computers so forgive my cursory description. This and it something he researched and created entirely on his own). Sorry for the long rambling intro, but I am excited at the potential, but also quite overwhelmed and a little scared. Thank you for any help!

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  3. #2


    Welcome, and hugs!
    Yes, jumping in as an accidental homeschooler can be overwhelming!
    The first stage of homeschooing is “deschooling” - working at healing your son’s enjoyment and enthusiasm for learning. This isnt so much letting him veg out playing video games all day, so much as guiding him back to trusting that learning isnt torturous. Summer camps, working on hobbies, learning a new skill, are all ways to help give some “deschooling” time.
    Using your example of your son’s interest in making a gif and your ignorance of the fine points, you coould approach him “Hey, thats really cool that you can do that, I feel behind the times since I can’t, but I think I should know. How did you learn, can you teach me, do we need a book or an app?” You model your own interest in learning, your perseverence when you dont understand things, and you engage in sneaky learning on his part, if you go through and complete a course with him. All without the trappings of formal school where you give assignments and dole out a grade.

    There are plenty of secular curricula to choose from, for every subject, never fear! You will want to pick topics that interest him, because your primary goal is to make this a pleasant experience for him. While the voices of experience can tell you not to worry about picking curriculum at this point, until he is more emotionally ready, experience also says that new homeschoolers are generally too worried about failing their kids to put off playing school-at-home. I would suggest you pick a science from - whichever topic doesnt matter - and you will do level 2 of what you pick. You can go through it at your own pace, although they do enumerate a potential schedule to complete the course in 36 weeks - a standard school year. If your son likes reading, he might enjoy Pick the middle-school aged course that most appeals to him. (You dont have to do level 8 in 8th grade...) There are a lot of books that you read then are done with - dont buy them! Use the library! If you love any of the books so much, you can always buy them afterwards. BYL will cover your language arts and your social studies (possibly your science if you do BYL8). For math, it is a matter of figuring out where he is at, and what style of math would be appropriate to try.

    What state do you live in? Different states have different requirements and offerings for homeschooling, sometimes advice specifically for your state is helpful.

    Finally, you might want to check out this book about homeschooling the middle years, written by a frequent poster here. I havent read the book yet, but her advice here has been invaluable!
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3


    I second all of what Alexsmom just said! I would also recommend the Arrow at Bravewriter. They have a writing prompt at the end of each month and give you good grammar and literature ideas without seeming like you are doing schoolwork. I deschooled my youngest last fall and found that documentaries and brain pop were outstanding for teaching a lot of things without feeling like we were in school. I am reading the book she linked to above and I highly recommend it.
    DS16 with ASD, DD12 and DS10

  5. #4


    Thank you both for some excellent recommendations! Definitely some great ideas that I will be able to look into and incorporate. I ordered the recommended book (I've read "Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner" and am now reading "Homeschooling for Dummies", but I love the idea of a book focused on the middle school years. He's a bright kid so even if all I manage to do this year is foster a love of learner I will be thrilled because that will take him far. We are in NC so the regulations are not overwhelming. The end of this summer we have a trip planned to Jekyll Beach and I figured it would be a great time to start our "school" a week or two before and cover some of the history and ecology of the area and incorporate that into our vacation. I don't want to over do it, but just enough to whet his curiosity I hope. Again thank you both for your suggestions and support!

    DS 13 (Severe ADHD with Asperger tendencies); DD 11; DD 9 (ADHD and Dyslexia)

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New and overwhelmed!