Setting realistic expectations for your child with ADHD is essential, but it can be challenging. How do you know when you're expecting too much? And, let's be honest, sometimes it's hard to know whether they really can't do something or if they're just being lazy. The struggle is real!
Today, we're going to sift through some of the confusion around setting realistic expectations and help you determine what your child is truly capable of doing.
First, think about this...
What has your child shown you they are capable of doing?
Not what society says they should be doing based on their one-size-fits-all education system.
Not what you think they should be doing based on your own capabilities and experiences.
But what has your child, with his own unique brain, shown you he can really do?
Can he sit and work for 15 minutes at a time without getting distracted? Great! We're going to work with that. How many times a day can he do that? 10 times? Great! Let's work with that.
We're going to work with some of these numbers in your Day 1 assignment.
The key is to build your expectations around your child's abilities.
You want to challenge them without overwhelming them. We all know that when our kids get overwhelmed, they are more than likely going to shut down. Then, it's going to be a fight to get anything out of them for the rest of the day. Identifying that fine line between challenge and overwhelm is going to dramatically change your homeschool experience, your relationship with your child, and your family life as a whole for the better!
Finally, don't put more on yourself than you can handle.
Sometimes, as homeschool parents, we see all the things other homeschool parents seem to be doing, all the things the traditionally-schooled kids seem to be doing, all the curricula, all the programs, all the extra-curricular activities...and we think we have to do it all.
Guess what? You don't have to do it all.
You don't need to do it all.
You can't do it all.
You only need to do what is best for your individual children and your family as a whole.
There must be balance in all things. Find your groove and live in it.
Think about it this way...
If you are overwhelmed with your own expectations for your homeschool, how do you think those expectations are making your child with ADHD feel?
Some of you have ADHD yourselves and can remember what it was like to be a child who hasn't developed the skills to manage your ADHD in a healthy way yet.
The good news is that it's perfectly fine to take a step back, re-evaluate what is actually necessary, and reset your expectations.
Modeling how to set realistic expectations for your children and for yourself will teach your kids an important life skill. They will learn how to live in a state of peace, instead of overwhelming chaos. They will learn how to drown out the constant noise of comparison that society throws at them and be happy living the life they are meant to live. And they will learn to challenge themselves in a healthy way in order to reach their own potential as a unique and creative individual.
Day 1 Assignment
Download and print the Day 1 assignment from the link above.
This worksheet will help you determine what your child is capable of doing each day and each week. You will look at how long he can focus on a task at one time and how many times per day he can focus for that length of time. This will let you know how many hours of schoolwork each day are realistic for your child.
Then, you'll think about what school subjects are essential to cover every day and which ones may not be necessary to complete every day. Finally, we'll consider what subjects might be able to be combined. For example, sometimes we can cover history in the books we read for language arts.
Don't let yourself get stumped on the curricula while you're doing this. We're going to go into more depth with that on Day 3.
If you haven't joined the Facebook group yet, make sure you do that now.
If you have any questions, post them in the Facebook group with the topic #realisticexpectations.
That's it for Day 1!
I look forward to seeing you on Day 2 when we'll talk about creating a learning environment where your child with ADHD can thrive!