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I have been hoping/planning to homeschool my little guy for a while, and now, due to the pandemic, it seems pretty likely that I will also be preschooling the little girl I babysit. They are roughly the same age. However, her mom (and I'm quite sure her) has ADHD. I'm looking for some tips on how to best work with her. With the low-key stuff we've already been working on there is a big difference between the two of them.

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She's here full time, and they will be turning 4 in October and January (so 2 years until K). 

I'm not planning on anything intensive/pushy. Keeping her on any particular activity for 5 minutes is a struggle. Even getting her to eat - she takes 2 or 3 bites and then runs off for 10 minutes. I guess I'm trying to figure out how to structure things and help her learn how to build up her focus. Keeping her occupied for 20 minutes so I can do something focused with him, which he is ready for, is something I have yet to figure out how to do.

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55 minutes ago, BookMamaLade said:

Even getting her to eat - she takes 2 or 3 bites and then runs off for 10 minutes.

Focusing on daily, non-academic tasks, like eating, is where I would start.

I have three boys who all have ADHD (among other diagnoses), who are currently 11, 8, and 6.  I also have a 4 year old daughter who may very well be diagnosed with ADHD in a couple years.  All of them struggle tremendously with focus during daily life activities.  This morning my 8 year old went to get dressed and came back having "forgotten" to put on pants.  How do you forget to put on pants?!?!

That said, even though "habit training", as Charlotte Mason would call it, is incredibly difficult with ADHD kids, that does not mean that I ever give up the effort.  I think persistently teaching (and mentoring and scaffolding) good habits is even more important with kids who lack executive function skills.  In the short term, those habits and routines keep us all sane as we try to just live and coexist and meet our obligations, without even taking into consideration schooling.  In the long term, those habits are going to serve the child incredibly well when they shop, date, pay bills, renew their driver's license, get a job, etc.

Right now, my daughter is 4.5 (turning 5 in October).  The main focus of her days is executive function/life skills: persisting at jobs like wiping a table or sorting laundry, not interrupting while others talk or read aloud, sitting for 15-20 minutes for meals or table activities, playing independently for half an hour, etc.  In my opinion, those skills are what are going to set her and the rest of our family up for success...and I don't regret for a minute focusing primarily on these skills when my olders were this age.

My second priority with my daughter each day is working on academic skills through daily life and play.  Before I ever "crack a book" with my kids, they already know all the letters and sounds, all the phonemic awareness skills, numbers up to about 30, conceptually what adding means, and how to model and solve simple addition using objects.  They have also been exposed to a TON of nonfiction picture books covering science, history, math, biography, geography, etc. and also a TON of fictional picture books and growing number of chapter books.  

At this point, my daughter does do some academics: about 10 minutes of phonics and 10 minutes on math, both at an early first grade level.  But, that is fairly new, and only because she is showing readiness; when she was 3.5 - 4 she did not do any "sit down" work at all, everything was done orally with lots of playing and jumping and singing.  She does not yet formally do handwriting, but I do deliberately incorporate a lot of fine motor work into her days (playdoh, mazes, painting, scooping and pouring, building in the sand, using scissors, cutting and spreading with a butter knife, etc).

So, yeah, that is how I would, and have, taught pre-K to my ADHD kiddos.


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