Category: Blog

Mastering Homeschool When Your Teen Has ADHD

Mastering Homeschool When Your Teen Has ADHD

Photo: Pexels

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may struggle with keeping their train of thought on one track. They may get fidgety, move around in their seat, or  generally seem disinterested in what’s going on in the classroom. Turn the classroom into a home environment, and there are that many more distractions. But never fear, parent-educator, with a few changes to your teaching strategy, you can enjoy a successful school year despite ADHD.

Adjusting Your Expectations

One of the first things that you should remember is that in a traditional classroom setting, schools make extensive accommodations for ADHD students. And you will need to do the same. Non-profit Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) explains that some of these include reducing repeat assignments, relying more on visually-stimulating computers for engagement, and breaking work down into bite-sized chunks. 

Just as the schools understand that your child’s brain runs at a pace that far exceeds other students, you must also put yourself in their shoes. Do not expect them to sit quietly and focus on a single subject for hours on end. You must accept that their interests will change quickly, and adjust your teaching strategy accordingly.

A few ways that you can do this are to:

  • Draft an IEP. An IEP, or individual education plan, is a document provided in a public or private school setting. In essence, it is an outline of your child’s learning differences and a plan of action for how to best accommodate it. An IEP should contain your and your child’s concerns about their learning style plus clear goals to master for the school year. 
  • Focus on reading skills. A common concern among parents with students with ADHD is poor reading comprehension. Prioritize literacy every day, starting during the preschool years. Read with your student often and help them learn to better interpret the information on the page. Ask them questions about what you’ve read, and never lose sight of the fact that reading skills will benefit them in every area. 
  • Let them listen to music. Music is typically frowned upon in a traditional classroom setting. However, when you have a child that struggles to maintain their focus, music can be a blessing. Choosing the right music, however, might get tricky, and Honestly ADHD explains that you might need to try several different styles before you find the one that works for your child. 
  • Get help when you need it. A classroom teacher does not do their job alone. They have a team of administrators, lead educators, and other professionals that help make decisions and evaluate classroom needs. If you realize that you and your child are still struggling to handle online work, do not be afraid to find a tutor that can help. Before you book a session, however, talk to your child about how they feel about getting a helping hand. You should also get recommendations from people you trust and ask to see teaching credentials, especially if they claim experience with students with ADHD.

There are many benefits to homeschooling a child with ADHD. They’ll be more comfortable in their own home and have fewer social distractions. But it does require a new mindset on your part and a few changes to how you interpret a successful home education. While the above is not meant to be a comprehensive guide to teaching a student at home, these touchpoints can help you better learn to master the art of becoming a special needs teacher.

7 Fun Ways to Turn a Fishing Expedition into a Kid-approved Science Lesson

7 Fun Ways to Turn a Fishing Expedition into a Kid-approved Science Lesson

Taking your kids fishing is not only a fun way to bond, it’s also a great way to teach your kids important lessons. Fishing teaches your kids how to appreciate nature, as well as patience, conservation, biology, following directions and fine motor skills— all relevant to learning about science. Transform your next fishing trip into an exciting science lesson with these 10 tips.

The Life Cycle

Fishing teaches your kids about the life cycle, a biological process every living being goes through— even them! While every species’ life cycle is different, fishing is a good example of A life cycle is a series of stages a living thing goes through during its life. Fish begin their life cycle as an egg, then move into the larval stage when they can feed themselves. Next is the juvenile stage and after that adult. When you and your kids catch a fish, you can observe their appearance and hypothesize what stage of the cycle it is in. 

Habitats and Behavior

Help your child discover one of the most abundant habitats on our planet— water. The earth is made up of five main habitats—aquatic, desert, forest, grassland, and tundra. Animals who live in different habitats also have different behaviors that they have adapted in order to live fully and thrive in their habitat. Since water is all over the world, the habitat you’ll examine is specific to the place you are fishing— saltwater, fresh water, lake, river, ice fishing, etc.

Following Steps in Order

Fishing requires that you follow certain steps in a specific order— or the only thing you’ll catch is air! This is a good lesson to help prepare your children for science experiments and observations. Walk them step by step through the basics and explain why things must go in this order. For example, you have to bait your hook before you cast your reel, or you won’t have anything to entice the fish. 

Practice the Scientific Method

You can use the art and act of fishing as a way to explore the scientific method. On your way to go fishing, help your child come up with a question they want to test on the trip. If they get stuck, an easy one to start with is bait. For example, you could start with the question: do the fish prefer chicken gizzards or grubs? Come up with a hypothesis to test and how you will measure it. For example you can count how many fish you catch with certain bait. Or you could measure which type of bait gets the most bites. On the ride home you and your child can discuss the results and come to a conclusion.

The Food Chain

Fishing can be a hands-on learning opportunity about the food chain, especially if you are using live bait like worms or crickets. Even if you are using a lure, you can still explain how it’s made to look like food so the fish will try to catch it. All living things need energy from food. We get that energy from plants, animals and other food sources. Every food source is connected, hence the term food chain. For example, flies eat decaying organic matter on the surface of the water. A fish jumps up to catch it— which is why we use bait when we fish. You can then talk about animals other than humans who eat fish, like bears, birds and snakes.

Oxygen and Breathing

Humans cannot breathe underwater— at least not without the help of technology. But not fish! They can’t breathe in the air— yet both humans and fish need oxygen to live. A fishing trip is an ideal opportunity to talk about different kinds of respiratory systems. Talk about the way fish breathe versus the way humans breathe. Not only are you practicing comparing and contrasting, but you are also giving a lesson in anatomy, too. Fish use gills to filter oxygen out of the water. Humans use our lungs to bring fresh oxygen in and release carbon dioxide. Fish “exhale” carbon dioxide, too, passing it out from their gills and into the water. 

Conservation and Compassion

Children are naturally curious about the world, and especially the animals that live in the water. Beyond just the basics of how to fish, learning to handle fish gently and return them quickly to their environment is a great lesson in conservation and compassion— the importance of living in harmony with nature and respecting the animals that live there.

Fishing with your kids will teach them patience, the art of conversation and the importance of putting down our technology and getting outside. It’s also a way to make wonderful memories with your whole family. Combine science with family fun to get a lesson on life that everyone can benefit from. 

Photo: Unsplash

Top 5 Tips For Teachers Creating Online Curriculum

Top 5 Tips For Teachers Creating Online Curriculum

Photo: Pexels

More than 30 million children in the United States attended school online in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the upper respiratory illness that has impacted every corner of the globe. With schools potentially closed through the end of the school year, if not longer, most teachers are rapidly shifting to online classrooms. Educators and parents are suddenly finding themselves navigating waters that are uncharted for most of us. 

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Resource Roundup: Free Online Activities the Whole Family Can Enjoy from Home

Resource Roundup: Free Online Activities the Whole Family Can Enjoy from Home

When you can’t leave the house, it’s easy for every family member to go a little stir crazy. The good news is that there are hundreds of opportunities to expand your horizons from the comfort of home. Whether your family is itching to visit a museum, take a trip to the aquarium or zoo, catch a hit Broadway show, listen to live music, or break a sweat with a fun workout, these online activities will cure kids, teens, and adults of their cabin fever.

Photo: Pexels

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K-12 Science Experiments That Parents and Kids Can Do At Home

K-12 Science Experiments That Parents and Kids Can Do At Home

As parents become increasingly involved in directing their kids’ education at home, it’s completely understandable if you feel a little lost at first. Luckily, there’s a wealth of online resources to help you make the most of this time with your children. Proven, teacher-approved science experiments can be fun and educational for the entire family.

Here’s a list of proven, kid-tested activities you complete at home:

Toddlers & Preschoolers

Sensory play is the key to helping your little one learn. At this early age, science experiments can be perfect for the growing preschooler mind. Here are some age-appropriate scientific resources that are safe, exciting, and tactile:

Kindergarten

Now that your child is a little bit older, you can take learning to a new level. When teaching science to your kindergartner, you’ll both learn new things! Try out some of these ingenious online resources:

  • Science Experiments for Kids: Make insect hotels, a lava lamp, or magnetic slime to show your kids how exciting science can be!
  • Simple Science At Home: From rainbow fizz to frozen slime, your child will love these experiments. Best of all, you’ll find most of the ingredients in your kitchen pantry.
  • Materials All Around Us: Using fall foliage as a base, the “Materials All Around Us” activity also works well in the spring and summer seasons. Help your child learn about Mother Nature all year long.

Science for Grades 1 to 3

If you have a first, second, or third grader, you already know that science is an incredibly important subject for this age group. As your child’s young mind is growing and developing, set the foundation for all the scientific discovery that will happen for the rest of their lives. Get them interested in science and keep them engaged with:

  • Science for Young Children: Work together to make insanely cool science experiments like stalactites and quicksand.
  • Classic Science Experiments: This online guide rates each experiment on messiness factor, letting parents know what to expect from every activity.
  • Fun Science Experiments: Stimulate your child’s imagination and encourage exploration with experiments like invisible ink and sticky slime.

Science for 4th & 5th Graders

Older children follow yearly science curriculum. Why not align your Do-It-Yourself (DIY) science experiments with those class objectives? Here are some online guides to help this age group:

  • Using the Scientific Method: It can be difficult to grasp abstract concepts, like the scientific method. This guide provides activities that break down the methodology in ways your child can understand.
  • Chemistry Basics: Start with a question or even a hypothesis. Then, work alongside your child to discover the roles chemistry plays in our daily lives.
  • Memorization: If your children need to memorize scientific concepts for school, this activity is a game changer. Help them excel by teaching them ways to have fun while memorizing facts.

Preteens and Middle Schoolers

Middle school is a time where preteens experience a lot of changes in their minds and bodies. The following guides provide science experiments that are age-appropriate and relevant to life experiences during middle school:

  • Human Body Science: Your child will learn about hormones and endocrines with this guide, which also offers videos and live science classes.
  • Fun Experiments for Preteens: These hands-on activities grasp your child’s attention, even for the busiest or most wandering mind. 

Teens and High Schoolers

Many high school students are busy studying for SATs and ACTs or applying to their dream colleges. To give your teenager a reprieve from the books while reinforcing essential knowledge, complete the following activities together as a family:

  • How to Win Science Fairs: This guide adds a fun twist to DIY science experiments. Meanwhile, you’ll enhance your teen’s understanding of concepts like speed, velocity, and physics.
  • At-Home Science Experiments: Explore advanced concepts like non-Newtonian fluid and Gallium with these sophisticated, safe activities.

As more schools move to an online format, parents are helping educate their children from home. These activities might be a hit with the learners in your household!

Simple, Budget-Savvy Kitchen Experiments Parents Can Do With Their Kids

Simple, Budget-Savvy Kitchen Experiments Parents Can Do With Their Kids

Research shows that learning roots more deeply when connected to something your child is interested in. And what can be more interesting to kids than warm, gooey, sweet cookies? Or fresh baked bread? To help your kids explore STE(A)M (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) activities, look no further than your family’s kitchen. The following educational activities and food-based science experiments will make any child feel eager to learn at home:

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