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amyrobynne

Would online school for a 2e middle schooler with ADHD help or not?

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My oldest two kids are gifted with ADHD - my 11 year old (2nd kid) much more so. I homeschooled them for 4 years, which corresponded to 1st-4th grade for him. They've been at our tiny STEM-based parish private school for the past year and a half and my oldest is flourishing. My second is drowning for lack of executive functioning. He muddled through fifth grade with one teacher. Moving between teachers and having a locker has been a struggle. We're at the point where I take pics of his homework and email it to teachers because 80% of the time it doesn't make it back to school. He has a school-assigned Chromebook where he does about half his work, so at least that doesn't get lost and theoretically, we can go through his to-do list.

If the rest of this year is misery for our whole family, I'm considering what other schooling options we have. I burned out on homeschooling both boys fulltime with 2 younger kids but I could see potentially coordinating schooling for him if he did a combination of online classes and local coops for extras. We have a gifted coop here with some possibilities, but it wouldn't cover everything.

 

Has anyone with a similar kid tried this? Would he be forever distracted by other websites if I expected him to learn online? I feel like I am being his executive functioning and we're all exhausted by it. I can probably push the school for more accommodations but I don't have a strong sense of how to go about it.

If I'm going to have to stand behind him every minute of his school day, I'll need to find something else. A couple hours a day, we could manage.

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I am teaching an online class to college students, and 50% of students self report that they have difficulty staying focused when they watch lectures on the computer. being successful with online classes requires much more self discipline.

Based on this, I would think this a horrible idea for a distractable kid.

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Would he be forever distracted by other websites if I expected him to learn online?

 

Yes.

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There are filters that can be put on the computer to keep child off of unapproved websites. The virtual school my DS attends offers one that can be set to only allow specific websites by web address. It is a pain to set up, but I have know families that have used it.

Online courses could be good if the child is allowed to work at a faster pace and skip stuff he already knows, but if he still has to do every last practice problem, it will be just as tedious as a more traditional format. Also, while school work on the computer can be more motivating for some kids, it is not going to remove the need for adult supervison of his school work.

 

Where I find it helpful to me is in my additude. When my DS attended a traditional school, he and I spent hours and hours evenings and weekends dealing with homework and school assignments that did not get finished at school. Online school takes just as much of my time, but he has not had to spend 7 hrs at school before coming home to 3-4 more hours of work in the 5th grade. Now if he (and I) have to work on school work at night, he knows it is because he choose to have his free time during the day when I was busy and couldn't sit with him. It seems better for us both to frame the situation in that way without the anger and frustration that came before.

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It works here.  It is very structured, with a list of expected work every day, and allows me full access to check up on grades and progress.  You can work ahead if already mastered.

 

Looking at a computer is less of a distraction than being in a room with others.  As said above, there are ways to control access to other websites.

 

What I would not do is a mix of all sorts of providers and coops which is going to be an executive function nightmare.

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I don't know that I would expect an online class to make fewer demands on executive function. As regentrude noted, they are often the classes college students struggle with the most. You can limit access to other web sites, but the classes themselves often have distracting features like chat windows and white boards. And limiting web sites only goes so far, if there are any games and such on the computer itself. 

 

I'm sure some are set up better than others. Maybe AliR can share the provider(s) that work well for her ADHD kid? 

 

Most small, private schools are only going to offer so much in accommodations. You might start a new thread asking which ones might be most helpful, and least burdensome to the school. 

 

 

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DD is full time with K12 (used independently).  We have used others, but this is far the best for our situation.

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I don't know that I would expect an online class to make fewer demands on executive function. As regentrude noted, they are often the classes college students struggle with the most. You can limit access to other web sites, but the classes themselves often have distracting features like chat windows and white boards. And limiting web sites only goes so far, if there are any games and such on the computer itself.

 

I'm sure some are set up better than others. Maybe AliR can share the provider(s) that work well for her ADHD kid?

 

Most small, private schools are only going to offer so much in accommodations. You might start a new thread asking which ones might be most helpful, and least burdensome to the school.

But college students don't have their mother around to supervise.

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Hi, This model is working for my just turned 12-year-old, but he is doing only two online classes (through the Well Trained Mind Academy), which may be less than what you had in mind. I am signing him up for three next year (AOPS Algebra, Physics for Logic Stage, Writing). 

 

My son takes the school part seriously and does not surf the net. His two classes are writing and math. He has always been an independent kid when it comes to reading so getting other subjects done isn't a problem except when it comes to output. Because the two on-line classes are pretty demanding output-wise, i don't expect much more writing from him. For most other subjects, other than read-aloud and outdoor time, we have a plan and he works entirely on his own.

 

As for the classes themselves, the lectures are live and he enjoys the class time very much. I am impressed with the instruction in both! One of his classes,  AOPS pre-Algebra, is very challenging and often requires me to sit close by and poke him in the arm to make sure he is focused. He also likes me close by when he is working on the problems as well but I find that it is often for emotional support rather than actual help with the material! All that may sound annoying to parents of kids who do not have ADHD, but it is just normal for us.

 

I think the ADHD (my son's is severe)/high IQ and intellectually curious kid is a difficult one to manage--but this year has been wonderful for us. My son also has severe dysgraphia. He was in a gifted program at school and was still absolutely miserable. He really wasn't supported enough (no one ever explicitly taught him how to write until we started homeschooling), nor was he challenged enough. He came home feeling exhausted and down on himself. The problem is that he really needed more in every way than our all-around solid public school could offer. He is so much more challenged, stimulated, happy at home--and these classes give us some structure that a) ensures that we are on the right track and b) allows us to practice executive functions skills in a step-by-step and less overwhelming way.

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