Wednesday, March 24

Homeschooling Through Anxiety & ADHD

Homeschooling middle schoolers with ADHD or anxiety can be a difficult task. My daughter has had anxiety since she was little, and ADHD as well, but it wasn't until we hit middle school that I realized the intense reactions that were coming from those.

We had all kinds of tricks for her ADHD when she was younger, and we still use them throughout this year (6th grade) but things have gotten so much harder. The upper grades are just more difficult than younger grades, plain and simple.

She is realizing that the subjects are more intense, and she isn't too far off from graduation, and it terrifies her. In comes mom with her tips and tricks to help her through it. When the anxiety creeps in, or the ADHD takes over, our go-to is:

I am a Certified Aromatherapist, so a few of my tricks include aromatherapy. (I have no affiliation with Young Living or DoTerra, nor do I recommend them to anyone. Also, there are extreme safety measures needed when using essential oils).

Using Aromatherapy to ease anxiety + ADHD

An aromatherapy inhaler is her best friend. We adjust them every couple weeks with new blends so we don't cause desensitization to the oils. You can get your own set on Amazon by just searching for them.

Our Favorite Blend is:

  • 3 drops Grapefruit Essential Oil
  • 3 drops Vetiver Essential Oil
  • 3 drops Cedarwood Essential Oil
    You don't need a carrier oil for an aromatherapy inhaler.

The inhaler gets used 6-8 times throughout the day.

Mindset is important...for all parties.

If mom and dad are extra concerned about the kids anxiety or their ADHD causing educational issues, the kids will be able to feel that. It's hard, I know, but very important to keep our emotions in check when we're around them. This I learned from direct experience.

My oldest would throw these fits over her schoolwork because she didn't understand how to do it, but instead of calming the chaos, I joined in. Not intentionally, but I had my own unchecked issues I needed to work on. Once I realized that, and made the necessary changes, things got better.

Use Counting and Breathing

Whenever I can tell she is getting worked up, I go straight to calmly asking her to breathe. Once she has taken a deep breath, we can start counting. Sometimes I count, sometimes she does. But, it does work either way to make sure that she can calm down enough to understand the situation needs some work.

Make Things Fun!

Hands-on and child-led are the best things for kids with ADHD and anxiety. When we first started homeschooling, I was pushing hard for 'public school at home' which completely defeated the purpose for homeschooling. It honestly took me about a year to realize this, and make the necessary changes. Let me tell you though...

Crafts are WHERE IT'S AT! 🤣 She loves when we do things that require hands on learning. Math squares for math, or we sometimes use dry beans or candy. We use the video Minecraft on our Xbox for so many things. She can design something on paper, and create it in Minecraft. She makes fun crafts about books she is reading, and uses Funschooling Journals for almost everything. Make learning fun.

Make the work seem interesting by using cooking, coloring, crafting, video games, movies, etc to really bring the lessons to life! We haven't used plain ol' worksheets in years!

Routine, not schedule.

The difference is SUPER important. A schedule is usually time stamped. Each time slot where it's 30 minute intervals, block scheduling, hourly, etc is based on time. When it nears the end of the time it creates a panic, especially in kids with ADHD or anxiety.

It makes the last little bit of what they're doing so much harder to focus, their focus shifts to the stuck time slots. When you give them a routine in checklist format, they aren't stuck within time limits AND they get to check off their accomplishments. That really helps the students feel good about themselves.

My favorite way of doing this for our daughter is creating a Subject Checklist and Today's Checklist. The Subject checklist is for them to check off each subject they do. This can be used daily or weekly. The Today's checklist is for them to list out what they need to do each day.

I print two of the Today's checklists. One they use for schoolwork stuff, and the other for daily things like cleaning their room, feeding the dog, folding their laundry, etc. It really helps keeps things calm, and working well for kids with ADHD and anxiety.

And lastly...remember the days are long, but the years are short.

If things are going well, it's okay to take a break. A few hours, a few days, or even a few weeks. That is the joy and the freedom of homeschooling. Remember that hormones are running wild at this age, and emotions are at an all-time high. Also, these things are not more important the relationship you have with your children. Love and understanding before education. This might seem hard, but you got this. You got this so much. ♥️

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Danielle is a homeschooling mama to three girls. She has a daughter with ADHD and anxiety which has given her lots of experiences with 'adjusting to the needs of a child.' She is a Certified Aromatherapist who has found ways to use natural aromatherapy to aid in the help of her daughter with her diagnosis. Danielle is also an Emotional Support Coach, and Homeschooling Coach. Find her at Peppermint + Popsicles.

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