Can I successfully homeschool my highly distractible child?

Alexandra asked the following question in Kari's blog:

Hi Kari, since you're a veteran in homeschooling, and I'm just a possible future one, I would appreciate very much your input and experience. I'm thinking of homeschooling my now 3rd grader. She is a bright, curious, and creative kid, but highly distractible. In the typical school setting, I see she struggles a bit, but I also see that at home when I help her with homework, she gets a bit frustrated with my attempts to keep her focused. Do you think that with that background we could have a successful homeschooling experience? Thank you.

Alexandra, thanks so much for your question.  We had two sons and we started homeschooling the last 9 weeks of their 3rd and 1st grade years.  As your daughter, our then 3rd grader was also highly distractible.  The sounds of lights, traffic, someone else moving their feet, etc. etc. would distract him and often frustrate him.  He was also highly active, with a very vivid imagination, lots of energy, lots of curiosity and a very strong will, too. 

Highly distractible children do struggle in a public school setting (and at home as well – though at home you can use better ways to help her), and often end up getting in trouble, getting in a wrong crowd of friends, or getting “labeled” in a wide variety of ways by the school system.  A label is a very hard thing to overcome!

The beauty of homeschooling (among lots of other great things) is that you can tailor-make your daughter's education and schedule to fit what she needs.  If she needs breaks to run or work off some energy, you can do that.  If she needs more challenging work in particular subjects, you can do that.  If she needs to move more slowly in some areas to grasp the subject matter, you can do that.

It would also be helpful to determine what her main learning “style” is – does she learn best by listening, seeing, or doing.  As a homeschooler, you can allow her to do the types of work that will help HER learn in HER best way – which will be less frustrating for her (and you), whereas in a public school setting, the education must be a “one-size-fits-all” – which basically means it really doesn't fit anyone very well!

I firmly believe that homeschooling is the best, most superior method of education, and YES, I believe that you and your daughter can have a very successful and rewarding homeschooling experience.

The homeschooling road was not always easy, but it truly was worth it all!  Even though our oldest son had a sort of “bumpy” experience at times, and at times it was very hard on me (and him), we have a wonderful, close, mutually respectful and loving relationship now – and have had for years (he is 31 years old now, and he and his wife will be homeschooling their children).

If you are not a current subscriber to Home School Enrichment Magazine, I would encourage you to subscribe.  The magazine is published 6 times per year and in each issue you will find a wealth of encouragement, “how-to” articles to help you learn about educating and raising your daughter, educational things for your daughter to read, and lots of practical help in all sorts of areas of life.  We'd love for you to join us and allow us to help and encourage you!

You may also be interested in reading “Secrets for Success with the Highly Distractible Child.”

Thanks again for writing.  Please let me know if I can be of further assistance!