Going Green Smoothie

It’s hard to go for long without hearing someone talk about the state of the world.  There are those who predict doom because of the spiritual state of our world.  Others anticipate a government takeover which will include the abolition of personal rights regarding free speech, gun ownership, owning personal property, and more.  The disaster-fearing weigh in with predictions of natural disasters causing global disruption or electro-magnetic pulses (EMP) that would render all of our technical devices unusable and worthless, leaving us vulnerable in numerous ways since we have become dependent to some degree of technology.  Still others believe that our economy will collapse and the currency we use will have little or no value once the collapse occurs. Prepping in some form bears consideration.

Whether the extreme predictions come true, or just a facsimile of them, there seems to be a consensus that some degree of change will take place imminently.  There are differing opinions on how much “prepping” a family should do, but even if you are just planning on making small changes, homeschooling provides wonderful opportunities to incorporate planning and undertake projects in order to be better prepared for the future.

Personally, my faith remains rock-solid that God is in control of all things and I can trust him to lead and use my family as He sees fit.  We are told in Matthew 10:16 to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.  Given that many people much smarter and wiser than I am are exhorting people to prepare for some of the uncertainties of the future, I want to make the most of my time and resources.  I don’t want to become obsessed or anxious about possible future difficulties.  At the same time, I really don’t want to die stupidly.  So my husband and I have been reading up on ways to survive various doomsday predictions, without becoming overwhelmed by all the possible scenarios.  We just want to be responsible to take care of our family and we would like to be in a position to help care for others in need. One of the first things we considered was food supplies.

If the grocery stores ran out of food, we would be in trouble because we know very little about raising plants and gardening. I used to joke that I had a brown thumb since everything I planted died.  Those of you who raise crops on farms or who are avid gardeners have an advantage and hold much-needed knowledge about growing food. My family was eager to learn and we had to start somewhere, so we planted a vegetable garden with a variety of vegetables. Most of them grew well but a few did not.  We don’t know why some of what we planted thrived in the garden while others never produced anything.

How much space do you want to devote to growing your own food?  This would be a great homeschool project, to figure out what kind of soil to use, when to plant different vegetables, how deep to plant the seeds, and how far apart to space the plants.  Some plants need thinning, so it would be good to read up on which plants and when the thinning should take place.  Your homeschool students could research which plants bear fruit throughout a season, and which ones will only produce a harvest at one time.  What is the best time to plant?  Should everything you intend to grow be planted at once, or on a staggered schedule?

There are so many things to consider once you delve into gardening.  We have learned that some plants do better when placed next to specific other plants.  We didn’t worry about watering until days went by with no rain and we realized we needed to figure out when and how much water our plants needed.  I made the mistake of watering a plant in the middle of a sunny, scorching hot day and the poor plant just fried up.  It was sad but educational, and some of the learning process includes figuring out what not to do.

Being the big city dwellers we are, our mental image of broccoli is a nice clean bunch held together by a strong rubber band and freshly misted in the produce department of the grocery store.  With great anticipation, we planted broccoli and waited for the harvest.  We waited and waited, but it never really looked like the broccoli in the store and one day we realized it was past the point of harvesting and had gone to seed.  Clearly, we have much to learn.

As I was studying up on what plants would be best for the plot of land we could devote to a garden, I came across an article that suggested there are many edible foods growing wild.  I took a look at the pictures in the article and realized that I had an abundance of one of the edible plants in my own yard.  Think of the money I could save!  I read some of the ways people eat the weed, which was something in the nettle family, and decided to try and use some in a green smoothie.  I harvested, then used my smoothie maker and added vanilla yogurt and some fruit.  In my enthusiasm, I went way overboard with the amount of weeds added, and the result was not impressive.  My son said it tasted like grass clippings and my husband gamely stated that if we had to, we could drink it.  Another lesson learned.

Even a relatively small project like ours involved learning opportunities with math, science, history, and exploration.  Some of our garden was best used as compost, but we learned about the importance of compost and how to best procure it.  We measured and observed plant growth, sunlight and water, and even which insects were pests and which could be helpful in a garden.  We talked about planning for the future, and how we had the opportunity to hone our skills while still having local markets available if our garden didn’t succeed.

No matter how developed your family’s skill set is, it is a good idea to try gardening even if you only plant a few vegetables in pots.  Your students will learn new skills while enjoying the healthy foods they tended throughout the growing season.  If your garden really takes off, you might even have enough to share with neighbors.  There’s something about homegrown food that just tastes better than store bought.  Harvesting from your own garden is a satisfying accomplishment that just may be the beginning of a love of gardening for you and your children.

This is Hard

If you are a homeschooler, sooner or later you will hear a child proclaim, “This is hard!”  As a matter of fact, you may hear those words coming out of your own mouth!  Whether your child is gifted and sails easily through their schoolwork or is a struggling learner, sooner or later your child will encounter a task that is highly challenging.  In that moment, you also have a decision to make.  How should you respond to a child’s lament about hard tasks?

It may be tempting to intervene on your child’s behalf, because you don’t want him to become frustrated and resistant to further schoolwork as a result.  When you see your child’s patience waver and sense the tension rising it is only natural to want to prevent further escalation.  To be honest, it might be easier to at least temporarily bypass the hard task in favor of something more readily achievable.  This is especially true when the child is prone to emotional meltdowns when frustrated.

Some children decide a task is hard, so they anticipate failure and give up without really trying.  They have already made up their minds that this particular task is beyond their reach.  Sensitive children may feel inferior even though they have not failed at the task that has not yet been attempted.  Other children may resent that they have been presented with something they consider hard and therefore feel it is unreasonable for the adult to expect them to complete it.  These children who give up easily or don’t even begin a task that they perceive to be challenging require a discerning adult to figure out the reasons they are so resistant to taking on a challenge.

In my case, I was a child who did not want to do anything that I wasn’t good at or could not quickly master.  For example, I wanted to be able to play beautiful music on the piano, but after a couple years of lessons I realized I had gotten a much later start than most of the other pupils and I would not become proficient in the time I could allot to practicing the piano.  So I quit piano lessons, even though I enjoyed playing the piano, because I wanted to play well or not at all.  I felt the same way about most games.  I played pinball games a few times and decided it was not for me because it would take a lot of quarters and practice to become adept at it and I didn’t want to expend the time or money to learn the necessary skills.

As I homeschooled my children, I initially would respond to their statement “It’s too hard” with “No, it’s not.  You can do this”.  This led to the unfruitful exchange of “No, I can’t” and “Yes, you can” which accomplished nothing other than to fuel the frustration for my children and for me.  Over time, I learned to recognize when my children were just being lazy and when there was truly a hindrance to learning.  Wouldn’t you want to respond to laziness very differently from the way you respond to a child who is genuinely stumped by an assignment?  I sure did.

When I thought my children were just trying to get out of work that they found less interesting than their preferred pursuits, I determined that they needed to finish the assignment even if they claimed it was hard.  I would discuss with them the reality that they would be called upon to do hard things throughout their lives, and they might as well start learning to discipline themselves to work diligently because they would need to be able to do so for the rest of their lives.  Complaining that the work is too hard only makes the task seem more unpleasant as it stretches out for longer periods of time than it would if the children just settled down and got the job done.

During the times when I realized my children had legitimate reasons for feeling that a task was too hard, I responded very differently.  First, I pointed out that we all need help with things and that it was fine to ask for assistance.  When a child proclaims, “It’s too hard!” he has already given up without even trying.  That attitude won’t serve him well in life.  A child needs to learn how to persist and work hard.  So while it is true that there will be times when a child is asked to do something he is not yet able to do, giving up is not the answer.  I told my children that it was fine to ask for help when they needed it, but not acceptable to just decide to give up because something seems like it is too hard.  The mindset of “I need some help to be able to do this” is very different from the mindset of “I can’t.  This is too hard.”  Can you picture teaching your child this lesson?  If so, you will not only be helping them succeed with homeschooling, you will be equipping them for life as adults.

What’s in Your Wallet?

There is a commercial advertising a credit card company that ends with the question, “What’s in your wallet?” While this is an interesting question, at my house I am more likely to hear, “Where is my wallet?”

Life with the distractible and disorganized can be discombobulating. I live with three family members who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and due to challenges with inattention and forgetfulness often items get lost or misplaced. Sometimes my kids will ask me if I’ve seen something that’s gone missing. Since I like things to be organized and put away in a logical place, there are times when I can locate the missing object because I put it away instead of leaving it out where it was dropped.

I have systems for cleaning and organizing. The problem is with implementation and cooperation from the rest of my family. I have a strong need for things to be put away where they belong so I can find them when I go looking for them. Just last night I pulled out all the ingredients to make a delicious smoothie, but when I went to get my smoothie maker only part of it was in the cupboard where I keep it. I had a blender base with the pitcher and a lid, but the ball on a stick part used to help move the mixture around in the pitcher was missing. I looked in all the places I could think of putting it, but only one place really made sense to me and that was to store all the smoothie maker parts in the same location. My husband came into the kitchen and joined me in the search for the missing part.

After looking in the same places I had looked, and striking out just as I had, my husband began looking in places that made no sense to me but just might contain the lost tool so they warranted a look. Even then we could not locate our smoothie tool, so we…looked in all the same places again! I’m not sure why we do this, as if the missing item that wasn’t there previously will somehow show up if we look again in the exact same place. This strategy was also unsuccessful, so we moved on to asking our children if they knew where the missing piece was hiding.

This is not generally a good strategy, either, because we are talking about distractible people who misplace things all the time and absentmindedly leave things in odd places. But it was worth a shot, since we had nothing else to go on at that point. Both children stated where they might have placed it, but neither actually remembered doing so and the item wasn’t where they suggested. This time, my husband decided to try substituting a silicon spatula in place of the missing tool, with the result that we had delicious smoothies with bits of a chopped spatula mixed in. I think I swallowed a piece.

Those types of lost items are frustrating and inconvenient, but not nearly as alarming as missing driver’s licenses, phones, or my personal nemesis the missing wallet. Not my wallet. Remember, I have a “wallet place” where my wallet lives and is predictably located when I need it. My daughter and husband have misplaced their wallets multiple times, though, and it sends me into a far greater panic than they experience. While my mind is racing with all the possibilities and security risks, they are unsystematically roaming the house looking in odd places for their wallets. Sometimes they leave the house for a minute and I realize they are checking the car to see if it’s there. Or maybe on the sidewalk, or in the grass, or…well, you get the idea.

My daughter will, at times like these, casually ask me if I’ve seen her wallet. She acts like it’s not really a big deal because it’s bound to turn up sooner or later, and she really believes that! Hunting for her wallet is like a treasure hunt and is only mildly irritating if she doesn’t find the wallet. I, on the hand, begin mentally listing all the items that will need to be replaced or cancelled.

My husband is more subtle about searching for his missing wallet or other items, and rarely asks me to help him look anymore. The reason he doesn’t bother seeking my assistance is because I’m not much help at finding whatever he has lost. I look in logical (to me) places where I would leave my wallet, for instance, and since I have a “wallet spot” I don’t have too many places to look.

Even when my husband doesn’t come out and say that he’s misplaced something of importance, I can recognize the signs. He enters a room scanning it like a secret service agent taking everything in at a glance. Then he moves around the room, picking up papers and small portable items while surreptitiously looking under and around them. He never panics, and never tells himself not to bother looking in strange places because he knows the missing item could be anywhere. While I fret about possible identity theft, my husband remains unruffled as he continues his quest for the missing wallet.

I no longer reach the panic stage as quickly as I used to, because more often than not my husband and daughter do find their missing wallets. Rather than berate themselves for having lost them, they congratulate themselves on another successful recovery. I would like to avoid the stress of “Where is my wallet?” but I do admire the resiliency of my family members who just don’t sweat it when these events happen. They take it in stride as casually as a driver stopping for a red light, doing what the situation calls for and moving on.

Speaking of moving on, I just heard my husband in the next room quietly asking himself, “Now where did I put my keys?”

I am quite confident that he will find his keys, no matter how strange a hiding spot they are in, because his experience and resiliency will win out. Keys, your time on the loose is limited. Give yourselves up! You will be found.

A Child’s Description of AD/HD

This is a page out of Josh’s journal. It’s a concise entry. He was in middle school at the time, and was taking a composition class with our homeschool support group. The assignment was to tell a little about himself. Except for the final four words, his entire description relates to his AD/HD. Even his initial description of himself as a smart kid is immediately followed by “but”… and goes on to describe some of his ongoing struggles. Josh knew he was smart. He also knew that he was easily distracted and had a hard time completing his work. Even this brief journal entry took him a long time to write due to his distractibility and difficulty with paper and pencil tasks. The handwriting and spelling are not great. But look beyond that for a minute and see the hope peeking through. Josh started by acknowledging his awareness that he is smart, despite his many challenges. He mentions the difficulties matter of factly since they are part of his experience, but they do not entirely define him. It encouraged me to see that Josh realized that I was trying to help him, not “fix” him or change him, but truly help him. With that insight Josh could listen to my suggested strategies knowing that I didn’t view him as defective but rather as clearly in need of help. Finally, Josh ended with another positive comment. The exclamation point says a lot. It’s not just that he is in karate classes, but he is enthusiastic about karate. So although at first glance this journal entry might appear discouraging, a closer look at the content reveals a healthy balance. Josh knew he had struggles just as he knew he had strengths. This promotes a healthy view of himself, acknowledging his AD/HD while refusing to be defined by it.
It is so important to build up our children in truth, recognizing and pointing out their gifts and strengths. Kids with AD/HD get corrected and directed a lot. They may be very aware of their differences. Others seem oblivious but still need to develop an accurate perception of who they are. Until our children have achieved a realistic perspective of themselves, we need to take advantage of opportunities to help those with learning challenges see the contributions they make in our lives. We need to direct their attention to all the things they do well, even as we are teaching them and redirecting them in their areas of struggle. This developing sense of identity is what you can see emerging when you read Josh’s journal entry.

Homeschooling the Challenging Child

This is an interview with Christine Field, author of Homeschooling the Challenging Child. Christine has wisdom and experience that she shares freely to help those who are facing learning and behavioral challenges with their children. Though years may pass between our meetings, it is always wonderful to reconnect with Christine. We were able to grab a few minutes during a recent conference to do this video interview. You can see Christine’s book here: Homeschooling the Challenging Child
I hope that you enjoy the interview, and I encourage you to visit Christine’s web site for more resources at

-Melinda L. Boring

Speech Sound Production

I was recently contacted by a mom who had a speech therapy question for me.  Her teenage son had a lisp and although they had tried a few different things to correct it in the past nothing seemed to work.  Her question for me was to ask if her son might be able to correct his speech or if it was too late.  While it is true that children should be able to produce all speech sounds correctly by the age of 8 years, the good news is that speech articulation can be improved at any age given that the necessary physical structures and functions are adequate.  It takes practice, motivation, and cooperation.  When you can correct speech at a young age, it is often easier because the incorrect patterns are not as established as when a child has been pronouncing sounds incorrectly for years.  An older child, teenager, or adult  has a harder habit to break in addition to learning a new way to say speech sounds.  When there are multiple sounds in error, a speech/language pathologist can help determine which errors are developmentally acceptable and which are beyond the expected age for the sound to develop.  Working on developmentally earlier sounds increases the likelihood of success and lessens frustration.  The teenager whose mom had contacted me had been asked to do a reading at a wedding and as a result was very motivated to improve his speech prior to his public speaking engagement.  This motivation, along with strong parental support, was the strongest prognostic factor for improved speech sound production for this young man.  Although he could have corrected his speech earlier, without the motivation to work on it and practice he didn’t experience much change in his speech and it didn’t bother him since his speech was understandable despite the lisp.  But now he had a goal and was motivated to make the necessary changes to bring his speech up to par.  It just so happened that this family lived only a few miles from me, so I agreed to work with them for a few weeks to see if I could help the boy meet his goal of speaking clearly.  Being a busy teenager, his time for practicing his speech had to fit in with all his other activities.  With that in mind, we discussed practicing for 5-10 minutes each day rather than an occasional longer session.  This was not only reasonable for his schedule, but the short yet frequent practice sessions helped him be more aware of his speech and generalize his new skill.  After seeing this motivated teenager for just four speech therapy sessions, he is able to speak and read aloud without lisping.  He is practicing good speech sound productions on his own and the result is carrying over into his everyday conversations now.  He is ready to do his public reading and is a good example of what motivation and practice can accomplish.  His speech articulation will never hold him back now that he knows what to do and is willing to work to make it happen.  I am thrilled for him and his family and I’m very proud of what he has accomplished in a short period of time.

To Tell, or Not to Tell?

i26I’ve met many parents who are pretty sure their child has AD/HD or some other learning challenge but they are hesitant to make it official by having their child evaluated and diagnosed. The fear that a label may limit their child, be inaccurate, or be used in discriminatory ways is valid. When my son, Josh, was approaching school age I thought about the advantages of private schools with smaller class sizes. Several people suggested that I go ahead and enroll him without telling the school personnel about his AD/HD diagnosis so they couldn’t turn him down. That was before we knew he also had an auditory processing disorder. I was assured that once he was enrolled in the school, they couldn’t kick him out just because he had a diagnosis and they would be forced to work with him. Wow! For one thing, Josh was pretty easy to pick out of a group as being different than his peers. I’d give it 5 minutes tops before things became unavoidably noticeable. So basically I would have had to keep him out of sight until school had officially started. Then there was the whole idea of the people he would be spending hours with each day being tricked into having a student that they weren’t prepared for and apparently didn’t feel equipped to deal with in their classroom. That made me feel sorry for Josh and for the teachers, since having someone who was “forced” to work with my child because I had hidden some vital information from them just didn’t sit well with me. I loved that boy, and the thought of sending him somewhere that he might not be wanted didn’t make sense to me. I had the same dilemma when it came time for Sunday School at church. I didn’t want to bias the teachers against Josh by telling them all his struggles, so I coached him on the way there and dropped him off like all the other parents with their children. The Sunday School teachers, bless them all, are volunteers in the church and most don’t have training as educators – and for most kids that’s just fine. But to do the “drop and run” with a special needs or challenging child is not a good idea, as I came to realize. Every week, the other parents would pick up their children and happily leave. When I came to pick up Josh, I inevitably got pulled to the side and told, “I need to talk to you about Josh.” Then I heard, week after week, a full litany of complaints from frustrated and bewildered teachers who were describing things that were not unusual for Josh but were not typical for most children. For example, Josh was not adept at sitting still for long. He was not deliberately disruptive and was never disrespectful, but his need to stand at the table while coloring his page instead of sitting in a chair like everyone else was considered problematic. His sensory issues led him to sit at the back of the group on his carpet square, and everyone else was huddled together and bumping into each other which Josh was carefully trying to avoid. But that meant he wasn’t “with” the group because he had made a row of one – just himself! And the list would go on and on until I was finally allowed to leave with my miserable son who knew that somehow just by being who he was he had screwed up again and people were unhappy with him. Those experiences led me to advocate more and be preemptive with anyone I left Josh with for any length of time. When there was a sub or a new Sunday School teacher, I made a point of telling them a bit about Josh and strategies that would help them, and I was careful not to dwell on the negatives. I shared Josh’s strengths, too, for I found that if I became negative about my son others felt free to share every little thing they saw as being wrong or weird about him. I was well aware of Josh’s struggles and it served no purpose other than to discourage me when others felt the need to complain about him. All this, and he wasn’t even doing anything “bad” on purpose! When someone was going on and on about all the things Josh did or did not do, I learned to quietly point out something that he had done right, or I’d share something that Josh had enjoyed learning in their class previously. This seemed to derail some of the negativity some of the time. Just as with our kids, nothing works all of the time but something will work some of the time. We need strategies for working with those who are in a position to care for our children, and hope that something will work some of the time. Whether you are a natural advocate or a reluctant one, if you have a child with a learning difference or special challenges, you must be an advocate unless and until your child one day develops the skills to advocate for himself. In my experience, being deliberate in my advocacy was hard but preferable to what happened when I just waited and hoped things would work out for the best.

Ask First – Purr, Ya Varmint!

Children with AD/HD are often impulsive. Sometimes, this adds to their charm as they blurt out amusing observations and thoughts. Other times, it gets them in trouble as they…blurt out their observations and thoughts! One positive aspect of impulsivity is that I rarely have to wonder how my daughter feels or what she really thinks about things. Especially when she was in the preschool and elementary years, I rarely had to ask for her opinion because she made it readily apparent. Actually, I do want to know what my children think and how they are feeling but with Beckie I didn’t usually have enough time to ask before she was announcing her thoughts to all within earshot. Some of the “This could get you in trouble” (and hopefully also teachable) moments happened with regularity. Beckie was an avid reader and a very verbal child, and frequently she would use words she’d heard or read without knowing what they meant. Sometimes I could tell when she was trying out a word she’d read by the way she pronounced it such as when she used the phonetic pronunciation of the word “ballet”. Other times, she just picked up words from various sources and tried them out. When we got our kitten, Wesley, she was eager to hear him purr. Beckie held him in her arms, stroking his fur and crooning to him, “Purr, ya varmint!” This was immediately followed by, “What’s a varmint?” My refrain became, “Ask first, then try out the word if it’s appropriate for what you’re trying to say.” Then I would tell her what the word meant. Beckie has gotten better at suppressing her impulsive tendency to say whatever she is thinking, though it still happens sometimes. In a way, I miss hearing her developing her vocabulary by trying out new words on me.

Reluctant Writers

I wonder how many school-age children could be considered reluctant writers. I know from my own experience and from talking with hundreds of people at homeschool conferences that reluctant writers are not uncommon. It seems to occur with a higher percentage in boys, and there’s a very high correlation in children with fine motor delays and attention challenges. Yet writing is such a fundamental skill for academic tasks, and not just for “official” writing curriculum that we have to help our children attain competency in this area. Students must demonstrate adequate writing skills for math calculations and to provide written responses to questions in nearly every subject area. My son, Josh, was a doodler and picture-drawing fiend from the time he could hold a pencil. That boy loved to draw, and decorated the margins of his workbooks and school pages with detailed artwork. But he hated to write letters and numbers, so the same pencil he enjoyed drawing with became the hated enemy pencil he was expected to write with for school. When you have a reluctant writer, you can end up with a resistant student. There are a few things I tried that helped us get the work done with neither of us becoming too traumatized in the process. First, I acknowledged to myself that boys tend to mature later than girls, and children with AD/HD tend to be 2-4 years LESS mature than their same-age peers without AD/HD. So when I’m working with my 7 year-old AD/HD son, I’m dealing with a maturity level of a typically developing 3-5 year-old boy. Expectations need to be adjusted to fit who you are working with so you can challenge without frustrating as you help skills be developed. The second point I tried to remember was that curriculum is a tool for teachers to measure comprehension and progress. For a handwriting curriculum, that is best assessed by actual writing samples since that is what is being targeted. For other subject areas, I can assess comprehension orally some of the time. I still have written samples of work in each subject area, but I do not need to have my child write down every answer every time when they can quickly and easily tell me their responses and I can gauge their level of understanding. This lessened frustration a great deal for Josh, who was bright and could express himself orally but struggled to form the written words. Writing was a long, laborious process for him and sustaining attention and focus for topics that weren’t highly interesting to him was beyond challenging. Sometimes I let him combine his love of drawing with a writing assignment. I found paper that was lined on the lower half and left the top half blank. Josh could write his sentences on the lower half (half a page of writing was less intimidating to him) and he could illustrate his ideas on the upper half of the paper. This was far more appealing to him than writing alone, so he was less reluctant to do the writing task. Today as a young adult, my son who was an extremely reluctant writer back in elementary school has developed such a passion for writing that he has written three science fiction novels and has plans for several more books. Take heart, teachers of reluctant writers! There may yet be an author inside that child.

Struggles With Language Arts

A mom wrote to me about her 7 year old son, asking for suggestions for a language arts curriculum. Her son has been diagnosed with AD/HD, and like many others he is creative, distractible, and likes some subjects better than others. Since my son had extreme likes and dislikes at that age, I could have spent a fortune trying to find a curriculum that worked for every subject area. Personally, I liked the pre-packed, one-company-for-all-subjects curriculum. That would have worked for only one of my three students, and I figured out that the struggles my son had would be an issue no matter what materials we used. So I learned ways to adapt and supplement what I had already purchased. Here are the things I suggested for consideration to the mom who contacted me about language arts: I would suggest that you try and figure out what it is about your current language arts curriculum that your son dislikes or is struggling with as he does various assignments. For example, if there is a lot of writing involved and he is a reluctant writer, then it makes sense that he is resistant with a curriculum that is heavy on writing. Maybe he needs help learning a proper pencil grip so his hand doesn’t hurt, or maybe he needs his vision checked because it’s hard for him to visually track when he reads. Does your son have an expressive or receptive language delay? If so, speech therapy type activities could help develop his language skills so that he can communicate more effectively in all domains. Try to see through his eyes and observe him. Ask yourself questions such as “Is the amount of print on the page overwhelming?” If your son takes one look at a page and thinks “This is going to take a long time”, that notion is enough to send an AD/HD child off on a tangent! It’s not because the work is too difficult for them, but because they dread spending much time on subjects that are not as interesting for them. There may be ways you can modify the curriculum you have now to make it work better for your family. With the flexibility of homeschooling, you can make modifications. Consider doing a half lesson a day, or splitting the language arts time into two sessions with other subjects in between. Allow your son to answer some questions orally instead of writing them down. Yes, he needs to learn to write. But as long as he is writing some of the time, it is acceptable to check his comprehension orally to see if he is mastering the material. Instead of a book report, he could draw you a picture and tell you what he learned from the book. He could do a shoebox diorama to depict some concepts. Remember, the goal is for him to learn the material, not just to finish the curriculum. These types of options allow him to be creative and show what he knows in ways that fit with how he learns. You could also utilize topics that interest him, and instead of using the written passages in the curriculum you have you could substitute sentences or paragraphs from books that you know your son will like while still teaching the skill the text intended. Maybe he could come up with some of his own sentences or ways to practice the skill being addressed by the curriculum. You will still need some written documentation, but a creative child like you described may come up with ways to demonstrate his knowledge that will be acceptable to you in addition to some of the traditional curriculum assignments. I hope this is helpful for you, and I wish you and your son much success in your home schooling endeavors.