My Child Hates to Write! 7 Homeschool Writing Tips

My Child Hates to Write! 7 Homeschool Writing Tips

My Child HATES to Write

Help!  My child hates to write!!!

As a homeschool coach, moms are constantly asking me to help them figure out how to help their kids write.  Or at least not hate it.

There is so much pressure out there to get our kids on target and writing sooner rather than later.  Homeschool moms are no exception to this academic pressure.

The problem is when we mommas react from a place of fear when our kids don’t meet academic expectations.   I’m no exception and have fallen into this trap way too many times.

But when it comes to helping our children learn to write, let me encourage you.  It’s all going to be ok.  

Don’t Panic

First, don’t panic.  Second, don’t push your kid out of fear.  It doesn’t work.

Trying to shove our square pegs into round holes does NOT create round pegs.  It creates broken squares.  Stop fighting against your child’s wiring and work with it.

In this post, I’ll share some of the major reasons why children hate writing.  And I’ll offer my best strategies to help your child become a more confident writer.  

My Child Hates To Write - Homeschool Tips

What’s The Ultimate Goal?

Goals for Our Children

Before we get into the writing, let’s ask ourselves the most important question when it comes to our kids.  

What’s our end goal?

Specifically, what is your goal for your unique child?  Who do you want your child to be as an adult? 

I’m convinced that on some level, we all will land along similar lines.  We all long for our kids to develop into confident, healthy and well-functioning adults.   

So if we agree on that point, let’s address this whole writing debacle through that lens.

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The Goal of Writing 

What is the objective of teaching our kids to write?  Really think about the ultimate goal of a writing assignment.

  • Is the end goal of writing handwritten letter symbols on a page?

If the answer is yes, then we are talking about the physical act of handwriting or penmanship.  That is definitely a worthwhile skill.  No doubt.

But I’m pretty sure the objective of a writing assignment is

  • To learn to communicate ideas and thoughts to the world.  

Assuming this is the case, we need to keep that goal in mind if we want our kids to become confident writers.

my kid hates writing, homeschool help

Behavior is Information- Why does my child hate to write?

As I’ve mentioned a million times before this (and will likely do so at least another billion), when our kids resist learning, there is a reason. 

And while our culture tends to favor the belief that our kids are just lazy, there is often much more to it.

Friend, our kids hate writing for a reason.   It’s our job to help them find the reason.  Then we can help them fill in the gap so that they can move forward. 

As an example, let’s take a peek at the one writing assignment most Americans kids (and adults) have had to face.

Creative Writing 

Let’s talk about the dreaded creative writing assignment.  

Open your writing journals and write about what you did last summer.

For some kids, this is the kiss of death. 

  • Some kids are not as naturally imaginative and creative.
  • Many children struggle with working memory (the ability to hold information in their head long enough to process it).
  • Tons of children struggle with oral language gaps that make it difficult to process and organize their thoughts.

These kids may stare at that sheet of paper in horror.   

What kills me is that they are often fully capable of writing.  When given the chance, they can totally summarize their latest book, create a story and communicate a powerful message.

If we want our kids to write, we’ve got to make writing as accessible as possible.  For your child who hates to write, this means we have to remove the barriers.

Auditory Processing Disorder: 10 Ways to Help Your Child

#1 Give Them A Purpose

First and foremost, I don’t care what anyone has told you about your kid.  Your child is a blessing to this world.

As a Christ follower, I believe wholeheartedly that God has created each of our kids with gifts, passions and purpose.  Every.Single.Child.

We must instill in our kids a vision for themselves that they cannot see yet.  An effective teacher inspires greatness in her students. 

In the case of a child who hates writing, that may look like this. 

You, my friend, have a valuable message that needs to be communicated to the world.   We may not know what that message is right now, but I know God has a plan to use you to change the world.  

The power of intrinsic motivation cannot be forced.  But we mommas can create a spark that may develop into an all-consuming fire for our kids to see themselves as communicators.

We must make writing (communicating) an inherently valuable activity for children who hate to write.  And we can do this by giving them a purpose.  

homeschool writing tips, reluctant writer

#2 Reframe Our Adult Thinking

When our children hate to write, calling them lazy doesn’t solve the problem.

He’s just being lazy.  He can hold a pencil just fine.

When was the last time you struggled with a new skill?  How would it have felt for someone to call you lazy?

Think about it.  How long has your child been printing or writing letters?

A year?  2?  4?  10 years?   Relatively speaking, the physical act of writing is a new skill for kids. 

If a child has eye tracking or fine motor weaknesses (even without a diagnosis), the physical act of writing can be the nail in the writing coffin.

When we are teaching a new skill to anyone who is not internally motivated to learn it, the last thing we want to do is combine multiple skills at once.  Or push them beyond their capacity to achieve success.

Solving Letter Reversals

Lifting Weights in the Gym?

When a grown adult decides to get in shape, they often need support through coaches or trainers.  

During their first session, a good trainer doesn’t walk up to an obviously out-of-shape client and tell them to lift the 100-lb barbell. 

The objective of the trainer is to support and push just far enough so that his client sees the possibility of success.   

He does not look around to see what weight everyone else is lifting.  He looks at the client in front of him and determines their ability and needs.  Only then does he choose the appropriate weight for his client.

This is referred to as the zone of proximal development.

The Zone of Proximal Development

When it comes to teaching, we must look at the unique child in front of us.  Then we determine the zone of proximal development for this unique learner. 

How far can we push THIS child based on what we know of THIS child?   If we want THIS child to take the next step in writing, we must shift our thinking and stop looking at all the kids around them.

My Kid Hates To Write | Homeschool Tips

Writing as Communication: A Complex Process

Writing by hand is a complex process that requires our brain to:

  • Manufacture thoughts and sentences that make sense, 
  • Search it’s memory bank to retrieve the proper sounds that make up those words and ideas, 
  • Associate the letter sounds to images of letter symbols,  
  • Transpose those letter symbols onto paper by coordinating the tiny muscles in the eyes, hands and fingers

Language development and handwriting are not always automatic in our kids when we begin to insist on writing activities. 

This is why it is essential that we reframe our thinking to look behind the behaviors to see the unique needs of our own children.  

#3 Provide Concrete Baby Steps

Let’s circle back to our summer creative writing assignment.  In order to help our kids move forward, we can offer simple supports. 

As long as the act of handwriting isn’t the main barrier, we can provide them with concrete baby steps. 

Start with one or two specific questions to answer. 

  • Tell me one thing you did this summer that made you smile. 
  • Who were you with when you did this?  
  • If you could enjoy that activity again, would you want to change it in some way?  In what way?

By offering just a few concrete questions, anxiety is reduced because the child doesn’t have to wonder what to write about. 

Accept What They Write

And the next step is KEY.  We must accept what our child offers.  This is critical for our children who hate to write.

Use what they’ve written to ask questions and show genuine interest.  This stimulates dialogue, deeper thinking and promotes crucial language development that will only serve our kids in other academic areas.

Homeschool Narration Supports the Child Who Hates to Write

This is why so many homeschoolers utilize the art of narration.

Narration is not simply a way to make things easier for our “lazy” kids.  It’s a strategy that starts with communication through oral language and conversation.

This helps develop crucial language skills that are foundational to every area of life and academics.

adhd writing, homeschool, teaching tips, dysgraphia

#4 Scribe For Your Child

If your child is struggling with pencil and paper, move on to this step.

Get your child communicating through oral language first.   Momma Friend, if your kid hates to write, scribe for your child in freedom.  No one is cheating!

Oral communication is the precursor skill to writing and reading.

Listen to your child and write down what they say.  

You are equipping your child with the support he or she needs to grow as a communicator.  

A Note About Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia, a brain-based learning disability, may be the culprit. 

It may not, but with or without a dysgraphia diagnosis, kids often need to work on new writing skills in isolation.   Remove pen and paper if it will help your child become a communicator.

Solving Letter Reversals

But What About Penmanship?

Look.  These suggestions do not negate the importance of the physical act of writing.  Our kids need to work on handwriting skills and other fine motor skills for a variety of reasons.  

Using pencil to paper supports the connection of the left and right hemispheres of the brain, increases retention of new information, and is an immediate form of written communication.  

Work on penmanship in isolation for awhile until it becomes more fluent.

If the physical act of writing is a brick wall, remove it.  Find the starting point.  Most often, that will be through oral communication first.

#5 Model The Writing Process One Step at a Time

So if you are scribing for your child, you may want to walk through the process of writing in this way.

You may be able to get your child to sit next to you right away while they share their ideas aloud.  You may not.  If your child needs to move while articulating their thoughts, take notes first while they process aloud their “rough draft.” 

The next day, have them sit next to you while they read their own words aloud.  

Prompt them for more details or any other information they may want to add.  Have them watch as you model proper sentence structure and spelling.

Once this becomes a more fluent skill, have your child choose one sentence to copy on to a sheet of paper as handwriting practice or copywork.  

Devotional Christian Special Needs Mom

#6 Slowly Hand Over the Reigns

When this becomes easier, slowly transition responsibilities over to your child at his or her pace.  

  1. Have your child narrate their story or summary into an Iphone.
  2. Then have your child take on the role of the scribe by writing (or typing) a few sentences. (You pick up where they leave off.)  
  3. Continue with these scaffolding supports and slowly build upon your child’s capacity.

Work this way over a couple of months.  This sets up your student to be calm, confident and motivated.   

Ultimately, the goal is to watch your child slowly take more ownership of communicating through the written word.

And I promise you that this will yield far greater results than trying to force your child to do that which they are not ready to do.

True learning for the longhaul is often served well by “Less is More.”

Tip #7 Remember The Power of You

You have an incredible ability to influence your child.  The words we choose with our kids can make or break their spirits. 

When our kids have the undivided attention of a supportive adult, confidence builds.  Internal motivation to communicate through words grows.  

As the process of articulating and communicating orally becomes automatic, so does the likelihood that our kids will move to the next stage.

I’ve seen this happen with my own daughter, my students and with my homeschool coaching families.

Equip The Child Who Hates to Write

Remember penmanship is not the goal of the writing assignment.  Practice penmanship separately from new concepts and skills.  Your child who hates writing will pick up a pen when intrinsically motivated.  

By God’s grace, we live in a day and age where technology affords us with a ton of alternative ways to communicate our ideas through words.

When the gatekeeper of written communication is the physical act of writing, we doom many kids to fail as writers.  We hold them back from communicating their messages to the world.

Just imagine if Annie Sullivan decided the only way for Helen Keller to communicate had to be through oral language or handwritten words?  

Give your child the keys that will unlock the writing door.  Friend, it’s ok to parent and educate the child that God gave you.

Even when it looks differently from everyone else.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

All About Learning Press
Homeschooling with Dyslexia
Solving Letter Reversals

Best Homeschool Math For Struggling Students

Best Homeschool Math For Struggling Students

Best homeschool math curriculum for struggling students

This is part two of a two part series answering the question,

“How to choose the best homeschool math curriculum for struggling students?”

If you have not read part one, definitely check it out.

In it we discuss the 5 Tips every mom needs to know before purchasing homeschool math curriculum.  Save yourself money, stress and time and read that here.

In today’s post, some veteran homeschool moms share their opinions on the best homeschool math curriculum for struggling students.  For all intents and purposes, we are using the term “struggling students” to describe:

  1. ADHD
  2. Autism
  3. Dyscalculia
  4. Dyslexia
  5. Any other learning difference
  6. Kids who just hate math

If your child tends to struggle with math, regardless of the reason, this post is for you.

Homeschool Math curriculum struggling students

Mastery Vs Spiral Based Homeschool Math

There are two different approaches to math curricula out there: spiral-based and mastery-based.    I discuss these in more detail in Part One.  

  • Mastery-based 
  • Spiral-based 

Here is a brief explanation of the two and important factors to consider when deciding which will be best for your student.

Mastery-based curriculum focuses on one concept at a time.  The goal is for the student to master the concept before moving on to the next math skill.

Spiral-based homeschool math curriculum reviews previously learned material while learning new concepts.  Both mastery and spiral approaches have their pros and cons.  Again, check out this post for more info.  

Mastery-Based Homeschool Math Curricula

1. Learn Math Fast

Beckye Barnes, of Beckye Barnes Consulting, recommends Learn Math Fast.  

We have enjoyed Learn Math Fast. It works for all ages and it starts with the basics.  You only move forward once you master the concepts. It is mastery-based and teachers the concepts without busy work.  An excellent choice for those who need a refresher course.

Beckye points to the importance of solidifying foundational math skills.

They also focus on foundational skills in a real world way. Basic addition and subtraction is taught using pennies. I think fractions is explained using a dollar then four quarters. It also focuses on learning the concept without endless worksheets.

Beckye Barnes, homeschool mom, Autism, PTSD, ADHD, dyslexia & dysgraphia.  She just graduated a student with a 4.868 GPA who is entering college as a freshman with 30 college credits.

Learn Math Fast was a game changer for my daughter with dysgraphia.  LMF breaks the lessons down to make it easier to understand, and they keep it simple.

Colleen Webster, homeschool mom of 4, also loves Learn Math Fast.  Her daugheter has dyscalculia, and has tried several math curriculum options. LMF was the first that explained certain concepts in a way she understands.

My daughter felt like she could follow along better with the shorter explanations they gave. She benefited from the break down of each equation into bite size pieces.

Colleen Webster, homeschool mom of 4, dyslexia and ADHD, dyscalcula and dysgraphia

2. Life of Fred 

Life of Fred is a mastery-based math curriculum that is completely unconventional, but is extremely effective for our right-brained kids.  

The Life of Fred series is a literature-based math curriculum that follows the narrative of the main character, Fred.  Fred is a child genius living life as a 5 year-old child on a college campus.  Told you it was unconventional.  Ha!

Each book focuses on one math concept and, through story, teaches the concepts in a way that is highly engaging and clever.  Like Learn Math Fast and other mastery-based programs, this series is meant to be read in order regardless of your child’s age.  The storyline and concepts build upon one another to provide the student with a solid understanding of math.

This series is an excellent series to supplement your child’s understanding of math or some use it as the basis of their entire math program.

I highly recommend it if you have a child who HATES math but loves story.  This program goes all the way up through college-level math including Calculus

2. Math U See

What math does a math professor use in her homeschool?  Melanie Fulton of, The Math Profs, 

For math we do Math-U-See, but we add a lot of supplemental math with it. When you have two math parents in the house EVERYTHING can become a math problem.

Melanie, received her PhD in math from Virginia Tech University, she explains more about the benefits of Math U See.

MUS works for us.  The lessons aren’t too long–and sometimes we don’t even do a whole lesson in 1 day.  

She also points out the clutter-free layout of the pages which is helpful for kids who struggle with visual discrimination.

The books and worksheets are plain–not tons of pictures or stories to distract.  There is a video included so that my children don’t have to have mom or dad teach it.  And there are manipulatives to see what is going on. 

Melanie Fulton, Math-loving mama who homeschools her 4 children and often employs the aid of chicken, dairy goat, cat, and dog math tutors.  (www.themathprofs.com)    

The Love Just Keeps Pouring Out: Math U See for Struggling Students 

Katherine, homeschool mom of 4 different learners, tells us that despite a whole host of learning differences,

Math U See works for us because it is very sequential.  This is essential for struggling learners.  The program helps with retaining math skills by focusing on one math concept at a time.

We have always used MUS, because my bookends definitely need the mastery-based curriculum.

My middle 2 could probably handle spiral, but they are doing great, so there hasn’t been a need to change.

Katherine Fain, homeschooling for 7 years, Autism, Auditory processing disorder, Dysgraphia and probably more

Homeschool Math Planning

Spiral-based Homeschool Math Curricula

1. The Good and The Beautiful

Melanie loves The Good and the Beautiful for math.

I have loved The Good and the Beautiful Math for my ADHD-kiddo.  Each math lesson is a different activity.  I thought I didn’t like it at first because it’s a spiral approach, but now I LOVE it because it’s a spiral approach! Ha!  

Like me, Melanie understands the importance of shorter lessons to allow her kids push through an entire lesson.  She also raves about the shorter lessons.  

Lessons take 15-20 min max.  We are still learning our basic facts, but we are also learning time and money while playing games. My kids really LOVE it!  

special needs homeschool math

Spiral-Based Homeschool Math For Struggling Learners

2. Teaching Textbooks

We love Teaching Textbooks.  We’ve been homeschooling for about 8 years. One kid who just doesn’t like math, one with special needs, and one who finds math easy. Teaching Textbooks has worked well for all of them.

Krista, 10 years homeschooling, 3 kids, Girl 17, ADHD, Boy, 15 ASD, G 12 Diva

Magda Miller has been homeschooling her two kids for going on 8 years.

I second Teaching Textbooks. I have a very self-motivated, math-minded older child who started TT when he was 5.  It just clicked.  I thought his less math inclined younger sister might not do as well with the system, but I was pleasantly proved wrong. 

Like so many homeschool moms, she points out how nicely Teaching Textbooks supports moms.

Teaching Textbooks does the teaching and the grading.  I am more involved with my younger child’s movement through the program, but it still allows for her to be very independent in her learning and it sticks.  She is learning and retaining.

 Ma Miller, homeschool mom of 2 rockstar kids, suspected ADHD, ASD 

homeschool math for struggling students

What Spiral-Based Math Worked in My Own Homeschool?

3. Christian Light

Within my own homeschool, we have used a variety of math materials for our ADHD and math-minded family.  One of our favorite spiral-based math curricula is Christian Light Math.   I like Christian Light for several reasons.  

1. Christian Light is broken up into ten worktexts for each grade level.  

This, in and of itself, is highly motivating to our kids who like to check things off their lists.  Every finished worktext feels like an accomplishment. 

2. It thorough and on the advanced side.  This is great for your math-minded kids.  

3. The program is student-led.   All of Christian Light materials are designed to be student-led.  As such are visually appealing and broken up into smaller chunks.  Each workbook is easy to follow without being overwhelming. 

4. The price!  Christian Light materials are very affordable.  

Pivoting Between Mastery & Spiral When Needed

Despite loving this math curriculum, eventually we hit a wall with it.  We moved away from Christian Light as math concepts increased in complexity.  

As we neared Algebra, my oldest needed to focus on one concept at a time in order to best process, retain and develop mastery.  We shifted to a mastery, topic based curriculum, Developmental Math, in order to solidify very specific math concepts to prep her for Algebra.  Being willing to temporarily pivot when we hit that wall, made all the difference in the world for her as she entered Algebra.

Another Homeschool Math Resource I Love

When the traditional approach doesn’t work, whether it be for an entire subject or a particular math concept, I am always open to pivot.  

Having a number of homeschool math tools in your tool box is always a good idea.  I’ve found this math program to be super helpful.

Math Minutes

Math Minutes is a simple math workbook designed to hit the most important math concepts.  The workbook series is very concise and is extremely manageable for our kids who dislike math.  There are only 10 math problems each day which is a huge plus for kids with ADHD.  However, the math problems are intentionally chosen to support foundational math skills.

Each workbook is focused on a general grade level.  I believe these were originally created as a supplement for traditional grade-level math.  However, when used as math spine, this can be an excellent tool.  A math spine refers to a framework of sorts to guide your teaching.

Please note that there is no teaching in this workbook.  However, this is a great tool that can help you easily assess where your child may need additional support.

When my daughter used Math Minutes, any problems she struggled with were the concepts that we could go over together.  This preserved her limited capacity for math to be used on the concepts that she needed to focus on.

Math Minutes is a great tool to support math in a non-threatening way.  Don’t buy into the hype that your child has to do endless amounts of math problems in order to learn.  This is simply not the case.  When teaching the struggling student, work with the grain and think “less is more.”

Homeschool Math Curriculum For Your Struggling Student

Ultimately, what homeschool math curriculum is best for your child will be based on a number of factors.  Understanding who your child is, how your child is wired and your own capacity, will guide you to make the best decision. 

As you make curriculum buying decisions, grab a copy of the homeschool 101 planning guide that I’ve created for you.  It includes prompts to help you identify the most important information that’ll help you choose the best math curriculum.  The best choice for your uniquely-wired student in this specific season. 

Ready For Homeschool Language Arts?

If you are looking for help choosing the right homeschool language arts curriculum, you’re in luck.

Before ever looking at curriculum options with my homeschool clients, I walk them through a series of questions.  I’m always looking to identify their child’s wiring and learning style in order to best support learning.  Continue reading to find out the best language arts curriculum for your child.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

How Do I Choose The Best Homeschool Curriculum? Learning Differences

How Do I Choose The Best Homeschool Curriculum? Learning Differences

How Do I Choose The Best Homeschool Curriculum?

When mommas ask me to share my thoughts about what’s the best homeschool curriculum, I tend to answer with a question.

How does your child learn, how is she wired and what is he most interested in?  

Many moms haven’t yet identified this essential understanding about their children before jumping into spending big bucks on curriculum.  And that often bites us all in the butt.  (This includes me… Many times.  In the past decade.  Took me way too long to learn.  Ugh.)   

Anyhoo… Because of this, before I ever discuss specifics about curriculum, I walk my moms through a series of questions.  Utimately, the goal is to help tease out their child’s learning style, interests and wiring.   This will save everyone a lot of heartache and stress.  And it doesn’t hurt that it’ll save cash too.

Best Homeschool Curriculum - Learning Differences

by Lindsay Leiviska | A Heart For All Students

What’s the Best Curriculum?  The Most Important Info First

I ask questions designed to identify learning strengths and weaknesses. For example, 

  • What subjects does your tend to do well in and which does he or she struggle in? 
  • Are there any subjects that your child particularly enjoys?
  • Which concepts cause tears on a regular basis?

This helps us dive deeper to establish the root cause behind why a child struggles in a subject.  With this understanding, we then have a starting point.  

By doing this pre-work, moms are armed with essential information to choose the best homeschool curriculum for their child.  This’ll serve kids academically and emotionally.  In the end, this will bless the entire homeschool dynamic. 

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you which allows me to continue offering as much free content as possible. I appreciate your support.

homeschool language arts curriculum, special needs

Homeschool is NOT School At Home

Because we are all uniquely-designed, it makes sense that many children think and process the world differently.  Often, moms choose to homeschool their kids when they realize that their children are not served well in the traditional system. 

Ultimately, the reality is that a school system is just that.  It is a system meant to serve the masses and not the individual.  However, this is not a criticism.  By virtue of being a system, institutionalized educational frameworks cannot serve each individual child.  

So when a child consistently struggles or resists school, it is often best to step back and seek out other educational options. Check out this post for 7 Tips For The New Homeschool Mom.

This, my Friend, is when homeschooling shines as the blessing that it is.  No where else can one find the ability to meet the individual educational and emotional needs of the whole child. 

Homeschool ADHD Cheat Sheet

Homeschooling is a Gift for Unique Thinkers

Homeschooling allows parents to provide outside-the-box thinkers the opportunities to succeed as students.  Whether a child has ADHD, dyslexia, a processing disorder or other learning difference, every child can thrive as a learner.

Working with the grain of our kids’ wiring and interests is key.  Doing so improves learning, self-worth, and creates a more joyful and peaceful educational experience.  For tips to optimize your child’s ADHD brain for the best learning, listen to this episode of the podcast.  

So What Is The Best Homeschool Curriculum For Unique Thinkers?

Sadly, I cannot tell you what the best homeschool curriculum is for your child.  However, I can offer you some great resources to check out once you have a baseline understanding of how your child is wired.  

For this post, I asked homeschool moms in A Heart For All Students community to share their insights.  They gave us their “best homeschool curriculum” choices. 

Please note that these moms are homeschooling kids with a variety of learning differences and styles. 

Today we will focus on the preferred Language Arts homeschool curricula of these seasoned homeschool moms.  Next week, we will hear all about their favorite math resources! 

data-pin-description=top homeschool reading curriculum for kids with special needs

Best Homeschool Curriculum- Language Arts

1. Master Books

Melissa Cochran, M.Ed., is a former principal, reading specialist, and kindergarten teacher.  She homeschools 2 teens with ASD, ADHD, PTSD, Anxiety, SPD, and PDD (Persistent Depressive Disorder).

She describes her homeschool as “it’s like alphabet soup around here!”  With so many nuances to how her kids learn, Master Books has been a hit in her home!

Master Books curriculum is open-and-go. The curriculum is written to the student and is easy for new homeschoolers to jump into without feeling overwhelmed.  Bonus! They have materials for Social Studies and Science, too.

Heather Purvis also enjoys Master Books with her son.  

My favorite is Master Books. It is Christ centered with a Charlotte Mason approach. I have had luck with the phonics and reading for my struggling reader.  It is not strenuous which makes it approachable for my son. 

Master Books isn’t heavy on pencil paper work, but more living education.  Their phonics and reading is focused more on letters, sounds and recognition. Not a ton of sight words. 

It’s a laid back approach with very simple reading by student with more reading to them by the parent.

Heather Shank-Purvis is mom to 5 very different learners.  Some are in homeschool, private and public school.  Her homeschooler navigates life with  ADHD, OCD, Anxiety, PANS/AE, Dyslexia and Dysgraphia.

Another Vote for Masterbooks As A Best Homeschool Curriculum

I am just switching to Master Books and so far I am loving the look of it!! We’re starting with the Language Arts for a Living Education.  Also, we purchased their Bible curriculum for my 11 year old.

Janelle, homeschool mom of 3, ADHD-infused homeschool life

Logic of English Tree

Orton-Gillingham Based Reading

2. Logic of English

Beckye Barnes, a homeschooling rockstar and an educational advocate, loves Logic of English.

Logic of English amazing. It is available both online and in print.  Based on the science of reading, it is a full language arts curriculum. 

Beckye Barnes is a homeschool mom of two teen boys, Autism, PTSD, ADHD, dyslexia & dysgraphia.  She just recently graduated a student with a 4.868 GPA who is entering college as a freshman with 30 college credits.
All About Reading

3. All About Reading & All About Spelling

My dyslexic son is doing well with All About Reading at a slower pace.   We are able to go at his pace.

Colleen has homeschooled four children, each with different learning styles.  Speaking about All About Reading, she continues, 

Physically moving the letter tiles, my son can now see that the ending or beginning sounds stay the same.  He was thrilled when he was able to read a story from the reader. I think that boosted his confidence that he will be able to conquer this struggle.  

Colleen Webster, homeschool mom of 4, dyslexia and ADHD

Dyslexia Resource Library

More Orton-Gillingham Homeschool Reading Curriculum Choices

The Orton-Gillingham method is systematically designed to support children with dyslexia and other reading learning disabilities.  Here are just a few more recommendations that you may want to consider when teaching your struggling reader.

Beckye Barnes offered these suggestions.

She recommends several programs for struggling readers.  Each of these employ the Orton-Gillingham method and start at the foundations of phonemic awareness.  If you have a struggling reader, she recommends checking out any of the following programs:

Beckye also recommends two online supplements Nessy and Teach Your Monster to Read as they are also based in the science of reading. 
my kid hates writing, homeschool help

Here are some other homeschool reading curriculum choices that Crystal and Kara have found helpful in their homeschools.  Both ladies have children who learn differently, from autism, adhd to language processing speed.  

Misc. Homeschool Language Arts 

4. Collections Close Reader 

I like Collections Close Reader for 6-7 Language Arts. My girl hates reading, listening, writing, etc. and this has collections of short stories.  There are short questions and vocabulary sprinkled throughout the stories. It can be done in small chunks even if a student can’t finish a whole short story.

Crystal, homeschool mom of 2,  Autism 

5. Rod and Staff Grammar

Kara, a homeschool mom of two adopted sons with multiple learning challenges, offers her favorite grammar curriculum.

For grammar we love Rod and Staff for GrammarI like that it’s traditional and gives clear examples. 

I love that they include sentence diagramming and start it early.  It really forces kids to learn the parts of speech and how to use them.  This is something I wish I had learned earlier as a kid.  I really only learned them through taking Latin. 

She continues by emphasizing the bite-sized approach that is often helpful for kids with executive functioning issues.

I also like that they give short exercises that are to the point, not just busywork. I also like the teacher’s manual- it gives easy to understand examples and uses concrete things within my kids’ realms of experience.

Kara, homeschool mom of 2 adopted sons, ADHD, Aspergers, Sensory Processing Issues

6. Classical Academic Press- Writing & Rhetoric

Kara continues about her favorite writing curriculum for her boys.

We love Classical Academic Press’ Writing and Rhetoric. It seems more comprehensive and we can go at our own pace, which right now is important.  If we cannot finish an entire one in a day, we can break lessons into two smaller ones. It’s concrete, but also allows my kids to think about things in depth, but in smaller chunks they can process. 

Kara points out that her son will often write long, involved “paragraphs” with tons of words, but without any cohesive meaning.

Writing and Rhetoric is forcing him to use the concept and main ideas of the stories to create his own.  It gives him a good example of appropriate length and level of detail.   Being able to cut lessons down and spread them out keeps them focused while  working in-depth, with good quality. 

Homeschool ADHD Cheat Sheet

Two of My Homeschool Language Arts Curriculum Choices

7. Christian Light Homeschool Language Arts

Christian Light Language Arts is a program that tends to lie low in it’s advertising, but it packs a mighty punch.  I was introduced to CL several years ago after teaching my children how to read.  This was a godsend for a number of reasons.

This homeschool curriculum is:

  • Student-driven: It’s written for the student to work through on their own.  There are small check boxes throughout each lesson to guide the student.  Who doesn’t love to mark off checkboxes?  (Wait?  Is that just me?)

 

  • Small Chunks of Teaching:  Each grade level is broken into 10 smaller workbooks which allow kids to have small attainable goals throughout the year.  Kids love to “finish” each workbook.  This helps with motivation.

 

  • Complete:  Once your child is reading, this program can stand alone for several years.  Includes grammar (with simple sentence diagramming beginning in second grade), spelling, vocabulary, and penmanship.

 

Note that I absolutely love teaching English grammar.  Christian Light does an EXCELLENT and thorough job of teaching English grammar in a way that is not overwhelming.

Homeschool ADHD Cheat Sheet

What Is the Best Homeschool Curriculum?

If the ultimate goal is long-term learning, it only makes sense to use materials that will support each child (and family) best.   Like all things, however, no homeschool curricula is perfect.  A resource may be an excellent fit for one season, but not another.  This is to be expected as kids grow.  

When it isn’t working, feel the freedom to pivot in order to best educate your unique child.   While you are planning, grab a copy of the Homeschool 101 Planning Guide below.  I’ve included some of the questions I ask homeschool coaching clients to create targeted plans for their unique children.  

What would be on your best homeschool curriculum list?  

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

Six Ways We Make Spelling Easy
Logic of English Tree
Our Journey Westward
homeschool planning guide
Parenting Neurodiverse Kids to Thrive

Parenting Neurodiverse Kids to Thrive

Parenting Neurodiverse Kids Well

To my momma friends who are fiercely in love with and are parenting neurodiverse kids, let’s be brave. 

You know the ones I am talking about.

  • The children who are constantly hearing that they are not enough.
  • The ones who will never live up the expectations of the adults around them.
  • Like the kid back in school who was considered a troublemaker (yep, he ended up exactly as expected by the adults around him)
  • The “loser” with a life that went nowhere.

So many of these neurodiverse kids simply grew up shrouded in a culture that believes that outward behavior is always willful.  

Sadly when it comes to parenting neurodiverse kids and children in general, this mindset is often quite dangerous.  When we have black and white thinking to what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior, outside-the-box children end up suffering.

The Lord looks on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

Parenting Neurodiverse Kids to Thrive

by Lindsay Leiviska | A Heart For All Students

What is neurodiversity?

 The concept of neurodiversity is basically a viewpoint that says that all people are wired differently.  

For kids with ADHD, Autism, or any other cognitive difference, this shift can be life changing.   This means that instead of viewing them as disordered people who need to be “fixed”, we embrace their differences as part of their wiring.  

When we remove the “willful disobedience” mindset, we begin to see the whole child through the eyes of grace and of strength.

Our responses to perceived infractions on expected behaviors lose their rough and often aggressive edge.  We are able to then see the strengths that need to be harnessed for good. 

Our kids lose the shame and instead are able to see us as in their corner.  We can then parent our neurodiverse children with what they need to thrive.

Diversity in who we are and how we are all designed.  Doesn’t that sound like something to be celebrated?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you which allows me to continue offering as much free content as possible. I appreciate your support.

neurodiversity, christian special needs moms, adhd, autism acceptance

Parenting Neurodiverse Kids Well: Difference vs disordered  

As moms begin parenting neurodiverse kids from this mindset, anxiety and fear is lessened.  By recognizing our child’s ADHD or Autism as an inherent part of what makes them unique, we experience freedom. 

Parenting our neurodiverse kids in this way allows us to focus on their strengths instead of trying to constantly fix these traits out of them.  

For more about neurodiversity, check out this article from Understood.org.  

Neurodiversity brings freedom 

Culturally, when adults cannot “control” the “challenging” behavior of a child with ADHD, the perception is that there is something wrong with the child.

The idea that perhaps we are using the wrong approach with these kids rarely comes to mind.  Adults blame the child and continue with the same ineffective, life-sucking discipline strategies… and the behaviors increase as the child’s sense of self-worth decreases.

Albert Einstein is often credited as saying, 

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”  

So… as we parent our own neurodiverse kids, what is our goal? 

To force these fish to climb a tree, never allowing them to swim in the pond for which they were designed?  Do we want them to believe there is something inherently wrong with them when they can NEVER meet our expectations?

neurodiverse children, special needs mom, adhd, asd, sensory processing

Kids set up for failure

So many of our kids are placed in no-win situations.  They continuously fail to live up to the accepted expectations of the world around them.

These expectations are often based upon an environment that they were never meant to thrive in. 

Sadly, our outside-the-box kids are consistently living from a marginalized position.  They are repeatedly corrected, punished, and shamed.  

These kids spend their formative years hearing about their faults.  Oftentimes these “faults” are simply differences in the way they receive and process the world around them.  

What about the real world?

Some may argue that modifying how we educate and parent neurodiverse kids is not realistic because “they have to learn sometime”.

Hello?!!!

There are millions and millions of people in this country who are suffering and have suffered their entire lives because of this belief that its the kid who is broken.  

We live in the United States of America.  It’s 2020.  We say we celebrate diversity.  So let’s do it.

It is time we offer an alternative system.  

autism, adhd, neurodiversity, christian parenting

Momma Friend, I hear it every day.

  • The school called. My kid flipped out and hit a little boy in class. Now he is suspended.
  • My daughter clings to me at church because it is so loud and crazy in there. She started melting down in the middle of the foyer last Sunday.
  • The teacher said that my child is off in lala land and that’s why she can’t learn to read.
  • My son comes home from school every day and screams and has meltdowns. No one believes me because he is quiet at school.
  • My child begs me not to send him to (church, sports, school, etc).
  • Getting my child to do her homework always ends up in tears and stress. She just screams that it’s too much to do.
  • My child hates going to birthday parties, he just cries and avoids the other kids.

These children struggle to please adults and even other kids around them by trying to suppress their responses to an environment they were never intended to live in.

They receive the message loud and clear that they are inherently defective.  

Our neurodiverse kids are suffering.  Their anxiety is through the roof.  Wouldn’t yours be as well?  

my kid hates writing, homeschool help

Mental Illness Hamster Wheel

These misunderstood children frequently end up trapped in a cycle of mental health issues that plague them for life. 

Rates of childhood anxiety, depression, cutting, and suicide are growing.

Moms parenting neurodiverse kids… we need to join together to advocate for our children.  We need to be brave enough to parent the children God has given us and not the one Aunt Edna wants.

We are raising children to one day be adults. These formative years are crucial.

Moms parenting neurodiverse kids differently

It’s time to be BRAVE for our uniquely-designed children.  

  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Sensory Processing Differences
  • Learning Differences
  • Anxiety

These are not personality defects.  These are inherent differences in wiring just as are introversion and extroversion.

  • That struggle to take direction is not her being willfully stubborn but is her independence
  • His hyperfocus on his latest “obsession” is not a disorder.  It is a gift that has allowed some of the greatest inventors of our time to change the world.
  • The boy who cannot sit still was made to move… he receives and processes information through movement.  
  • Is your daughter the day dreamer? The one who can’t focus? That is her incredible imagination taking her places that others will only experience when she becomes a published author.

We must begin to shift our perspective so that we can set these kids up for success.

Let’s stop shaming those who don’t fit the mold.  We need to stop clinging to this belief that our kids are WILLFULLY making a choice to disobey.

It is time for us to be our child’s cheerleader and coach.  

Let us coach them well while we equip them to thrive as who they have been designed to be.

christianchristian moms raising adhd and autism moms raising adhd and autism

God Intentionally Chose You

Moms, you know in your gut there must be another way for your neurodiverse kids.

Deep down, you know that God has created your child uniquely and that He must have a plan for your child. 

Yet, fear takes over.  

  • The world tells you that a child who is screaming in public deserves a good spanking.
  • Aunt Edna tells you that you had better nip that bad behavior in the bud now.
  • Your mother-in-law glares at your child when he begins jumping on the couch.
  • That perfect mom stares in shock when your child begins shrieking uncontrollably at the fireworks display.
  • The teacher at your child’s school told you that your child needs to learn to sit still now.

You don’t know what to do, but you know your child will never thrive knowing that he is a constant disappointment.

Parent the child we have been given

We must be willing to parent our children who have been created differently. As a Christ follower, I believe with every bit of my being that God creates every child with gifts, passions and purpose. 

We must be willing to think outside-the-box with our outside-the-box kids.

Let’s partner with our children so that through safe relationships, we can influence them.  We want to equip our kids with tools and strategies so that they can live a life of confidence and purpose.

Or we can continue to listen to the world and it’s rewards and punishment mentality.  

How is that working for your child?

Every child needs an adult who believes in them… let’s be that for our kids.

Wisdom of Moms Raising Neurodiverse Kids

Mom Friends, it’s time to be BRAVE for our children.

It’s time to be willing to allow other adults to disapprove of us in order to save the future lives of our children.  Let’s allow our kids to dare to be exactly who they are.

If you are looking for the support of other moms who are parenting uniquely-wired kids to thrive, join the private AHFAS community.  

We are in this together!

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

Teaching A Child With ADHD: Homeschool Help

Teaching A Child With ADHD: Homeschool Help

Teaching a Child With ADHD: Homeschool Help

Are you homeschooling or teaching a child with ADHD?

Whether you are a new or veteran homeschool mom, harnessing the attention of the ADHD brain can be a challenge.

You know the signs:

  • Trouble paying attention to non-preferred activities (think math, reading, chores… whatever is not interesting)
  • Can’t sit still,
  • Difficulty taking turns,
  • Trouble making transitions,
  • A bedroom that is always messy no matter how many times it has been organized…

You get the idea.

Want to listen while browsing the site? Subscribe on Apple or Google Podcasts.

Traditional Teaching: Setting Us Up to Fail

Frustration begins when we try to teach our kids using the traditional teaching approach.  

The whole thing where the teacher lectures and the kid must sit-still and listen model?  

Insisting on this teaching approach in our homeschools only sets up our kids (and moms) to fail.

Our kiddos struggle to maintain attention as  they spend their cognitive energy trying to sit still.  Or they become distracted as mom (or teacher drones on and on).

Mom becomes frustrated with her inability to teach her child.  Academic growth stalls while frustrations and tensions between child and mom grow.

This is not good.

Teaching A Child With ADHD

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you which allows me to continue offering as much free content as possible. Appreciate your support.

What do we do?

So what does the homeschool mom do to more effectively teach her child? 

Or more importantly, maintain a healthy relationship with her kid?

Teaching the ADHD Child: OT Rocks!

To gather some useful tips, I’ve asked the advice of an amazing occupational therapist.

Alicia Matthews, MS, OTR/L, has walked alongside my family for years.  Love her!

She has been a key player in my journey to support our outside-the-box thinkers.

So of course I went to her to get her best tips for teaching a child with ADHD.

Occupational Therapy for Learning?

Occupational Therapy is not a new area of intervention. A good occupational therapist has a deep understanding of the brain, the body and how to optimize them both for effective learning.

Think of this optimization as the key to unlock the door to effective learning.

Seat Work Stinks

Any learning that requires a child to sit and pay attention can be extremely tough.

Many kids (not all) with ADHD are wired to thrive through movement.  So we need to get our kids moving strategically!

Alicia always recommends the RIGHT sensory input before we have our children sit.

So when your kid starts to wiggle, make them wiggle well and more!

adhd teaching tips, homeschool

Movement is a Must for Sensory Needs

As an OT, Alicia recommends starting with sensory strategies to improve all learning challenges.

While you’ve probably heard that getting up and moving can “wake up” the body, you’ve probably never been told why.

When we move our bodies, our brain releases feel good chemicals that stimulate the brain and relax the body.

Teaching Tip #1 – Vestibular Input

Vestibular input refers to the sensory system that allows us to know where our body is in space.

That tickle we feel when on a swing or riding a roller coaster is the brain’s way of understanding that you’re not on solid ground, for example.

This movement releases histamine, which increases attention.

How to Use Vestibular Input to Increase Attention:

Outside vestibular activities include:

  • going down a slide,
  • swinging high in the air,
  • or riding a scooter.

Indoor vestibular activities:

  • log rolls,
  • spinning in an office chair,
  • or performing inverted yoga poses

In my home, we love these Yoga Pretzel cards. Just have your child grab one or two and easily incorporate these movement breaks into your homeschool routine.

Oh no!  Yoga Pretzels are way too expensive on Amazon.  Try these instead.

Tip #2 – Proprioceptive Input

Proprioceptive input refers to movement and changes in joint position.

This movement releases serotonin, which decreases hyperactivity levels and “calms” the body and mind.

Think deep-tissue massage.  Wouldn’t that be heavenly?

Proprioceptive Activities To Try

Outside, activities include:

Inside activities:

  • pushing/pulling a heavy bin of toys,
  • deep pressure with a sofa cushion,
  • or climbing up stairs on hands and knees.

Tip #3 – When Teaching A Child with ADHD Consider Time

When working on a difficult activity, always start with small increments of time.  Even 5 minutes can seem like forever.

Set the short time expectation ahead of time.  This will allow your child confidence that they can do it.

And whatever you do, stick to your word.  If you say 5 minutes, stop at 5 minutes.

I usually preface it this way,

As long as you give me your best effort, we are only going to work on this for 5 minutes.  I know you can do it.

Slowly increase time when skill and confidence develops.

Remember,

Small chunks of intentional teaching over time will yield fruit. 

homeschooling, effective instruction, adhd, autism

Tip #4 – Obstacle Course

When movement can be incorporated within a lesson, try utilizing an obstacle course.

Place lesson materials throughout the course or incorporate a “writing/reading/math” obstacle within the course. Have your child help create the course for increased motivation.

Tip #5 – Check The Seating

A sensory cushion, therapy ball, or chair band can help a child who needs to sit.  

For our more fidgety kids, these tools allow them to make small movements without being distracting.

On the other hand, they can be very helpful for kiddos that need to increase attention.  For the child that appears to daydream (this is a gift as well), offering them these small ways to stay alert can help.

Remember, our kids have all been designed differently on purpose. 

Don’t fight it.  Use their wiring to their advantage.

If something doesn’t work, try another option.

Homeschool ADHD Cheat Sheet

Teach A Child With ADHD: Warm Up The Eyes

Why is it important to warm up the eyes?

When reading and writing, the eyes perform a variety of movements. If these skills are not present or automatic, the brain has to work harder to compensate.

Understandably, this negatively affects a child’s ability to focus and sit still for a number of reasons.

The brain has to expend extra energy just to control small eye movements.  This means that a child has less cognitive fuel to focus on controlling behavior and attention.

Here are some easy eye warm-ups you can do at home to prime the eyes, the brain and your child for effective learning.

Tip #6 – Toss a Ball or Balloon

Hit a balloon or toss a large ball back and forth 10 times.

You can change it up by varying the type, height and speed of the object.

Tip #7 – Tick Tocks

Complete “tick tocks” by having your child follow an object with their eyes.  Try up and down movements 10 times in a slow pattern.  Follow with looking right and left.

You can add music and and increase efficiency by following the rhythm.

Tips For Teaching A Child With ADHD

Tip #8- Play “Eye Movement” Simon Says

Mirror eye movements made in the 4 corners of your visual field. Start with 1 movement and increase until someone loses the pattern!

Tip #9 – Natural Lighting Is Best

Fluorescent lights can quickly cause fatigue, especially with intensive reading activities. Use natural light when possible, and try to limit visual distractions.

While it might be great to sit beside a window, it may be difficult to “tune out” distractions from outside.

When natural light is not possible, you can remove the amount of light bulbs in an overhead light or position your child with their back facing the light source.

Tip #10 – Slanted Desk

Many children struggle with eye convergence.  Meaning the left and right eye working together to focus on text both near and far.

This often explains a child’s complaints of headaches and lack of desire to read.

When teaching your child with ADHD, try offering a slanted desk area. Try offering a slanted board or large binder under your child’s paper or book.

how to choose homeschool math curriculum

Tip #11 – We All Hate Clutter For A Reason

Full pages of text can be overwhelming for children (and adults… ahem… me).  We mommas become overwhelmed when we walk into a messy and cluttered house, right?

Too much visual input at once increases stress and shuts down the child’s ability to receive and process information.  When there is too much on a page, the likelihood of skipping words or full lines of text increases.  This often explains reading comprehension issues.

Visual Discrimination & Reading Comprehension 

Let me point out that skipping words or full lines of text is not a willful choice or sign of laziness.  It may be a sign of visual discrimination issues or something else going on behind the behavior.

Quick tips to reduce visual clutter:

Homeschool ADHD Cheat Sheet

When In Doubt, Get An OT Evaluation

If you think your child may have ADHD and is struggling with schoolwork, I cannot more highly recommend an OT evaluation.  An occupational therapist can provide you with so much insight and clues to how to best support your child.

If you are concerned about the financial and time commitment involved in occupational therapy, I highly recommend at least getting the OT evaluation.  You’ll be shocked at how much you can learn about how your child is wired.

Grab a copy of Homeschool ADHD Teaching Tips Cheat Sheet here.

ADHD & Meltdowns- Not Disobedience

Does your child meltdown and cry every time they even think about reading?  Math? Girl, I get it!  

Let me encourage you though.  Don’t confuse this behavior as a willful act of disobedience or “laziness.”   Trust me.   It’s not worth it and it can kill relationship with our kids.

Want to know one of my secret weapons?   A simple a sticky note.  Yep.  It can change everything.  Read on to find out why.

Alicia is a pediatric occupational therapist with 8 years of experience in North Carolina. She has a Master of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She developed OT Avenue, LLC in 2017. Alicia currently works in home health and private practice.

Devotional Christian Special Needs Mom
Auditory Processing Disorder: 10 Ways to Help Your Child
All About Learning Press

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

Zones Of Regulation Chart & Emotional Regulation Tools For Kids

Zones Of Regulation Chart & Emotional Regulation Tools For Kids

Zones Of Regulation Chart & Childhood Anxiety

Have a kid who melts down at the slightest frustration?  Or perhaps you have one that avoids anything and everything you ask them to do???

Wait… Is that you banging your head against a wall?  Ugh.  I hear you, Friend.  There is so much hope.  I promise.

We mommas love our kids fiercely.  But I’d be lying if denied how exhausting it is to constantly navigate our kids’ tantrums and meltdowns. For moms raising kids who have ADHD, Autism, or any other executive functioning issue, the stress can be a KILLER.  (For everyone, including our children.)

If we want to do more than just survive the hard days, we moms need backup.  We’ve got to be armed with resources to best support our kids (and our sanity). That’s why the Zones of Regulation chart can make a world of difference for everyone in the family.

UPDATED to include a selection of my favorite books to help children with emotional regulation.  

The best part?  They are all FREE with Kindle Unlimited.  (I use Kindle Unlimited EVERY.SINGLE.DAY- best investment ever!)  

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you which allows me to continue offering as much free content as possible. I appreciate your support.

Meltdowns & Big Emotions

Daily I hear from moms raising kids who are struggling in so many ways. 

  • meltdowns during homeschool,
  • anxiety and stress when asked to do any non-preferred activity (think chores or bathing),
  • sibling rivalry,
  • social anxiety,
  • impulsiveness,
  • Covid, anyone?

Whatever it is… moms and kids alike are being slammed with layer upon layer of stress.

How To Handle An Angry Kid, xones of regulation chart, books to support emotional regulation

We All Experience Anxiety

Throughout life, we have all at one time or another experienced some form of anxiety.

Often, we adults don’t respond to our anxiety in the healthiest, most appropriate ways.

  • We snap at our hubbies. 
  • Yell too loudly at our kids.
  • Shovel chocolate chips down our throat while hiding in the pantry… (Wait.  Is that just me?)

However we choose to release the tension, if we don’t identify the emotions and the causes behind it, we frequently end up in trouble.  That trouble may be a broken relationship with our hubby, a friend or our kids. 

Or… if you are in the chocolate chip shoveling crew (please tell me I’m not alone), your waistline and health take a hit.

Behavior is Information

Behavior is information.  It is a form of communication.

When our kids “act out,” they are actually trying to tell the adults around them something that they can’t easily vocalize.

Children often do not have the vocabulary to communicate effectively and appropriately.

Like our kids, we mommas we know the frustration when we can’t find a word.

zones of regulation chart, emotional regulation, christian mom

Jenny, Mike, Sarah, Sam…

(Quick… what 1980s movie is this from?  Be sure to comment below if you’ve know.)

Think about how often we have to run through all of our kids’ names (let alone our hubby’s and pets’ names) before we say the right one.  That alone can be so frustrating for adults.

Similarly, our children often become frustrated when they cannot communicate what’s going on inside of them.  They experience an “unsettling feeling” inwardly, but don’t have the experience or language to pin point it.

Without the ability to let it out verbally, our kids are going to act out behaviorally.

A Simple Tool Goes a Long Way

That’s why I LOVE the Zones of Regulation chart. 

We can use this simple visual tool to provide our kids (and ourselves) a way to identify and communicate what they are feeling.

In the Zones of Regulation chart, emotions and general mental states are identified by colors (or zones) that are easily identifiable.

Zones Of Regulation

The Zones of Regulation

The Zones were created by an occupational therapist and educator named Leah Kuypers, MA.Ed, OTR-L.  She has created an entire program often used in schools, mental health settings and in homes. 

I was originally introduced to the Zones by my son’s developmental pediatrician, Dr. Yasmin Senturias.  In those earlier visits with her, my son was so unregulated, agitated and hypervigilant.  He was all over the place.

To the untrained eye, he appeared to have classic ADHD.  (Note:  Anxiety in children can look IDENTICAL to ADHD.)

Because of this behavior and likely the horrified, exhausted and desperate look in my eyes, Dr. Senturias offered me lifeline of The Zones of Regulation.

Speaking from experience, the concept of the visual tool alone has been a lifesaver for my family.

For more of our story, listen to this interview with my friend, Wren Robbins:

christian moms, special needs kids, adoption podcast

Outward Behavior Not The Be All End All

When we notice children struggling with difficult behavior, it is crucial that we start challenging ourselves to shift our perspective about how to respond.   

If we only look at outward behavior at face value, we will likely not solve the actual problem. 

We need to look behind the behavior so we can help children identify their triggers.  Just like us, we need our kids to be clued into “what sets them off.”  More importantly, our kids need the skills to process those thoughts and emotions the next time.   Listen to episode 23 of the podcast, How To Parent An Angry Kid, for more support.

The Zones of Regulation chart will help you equip your child to understand these concepts in a practical way.

christian moms and teens

Willful Disobedience or Not Yet Equipped?

When a child behaves in a way that appears outwardly as disrespectful, adults have got to learn to pause.   

We’ve got to take a deep breath, step back and really think about what may be happening behind the behavior.  When we identify root issues, without getting “offended by” our kids’ behavior, we are then able to propel the needle forward.

Appropriate Emotional Self-Regulation

Think about this:  How many adults do you know that don’t know how to handle their emotions?

I would venture to say that we all know someone in this category. 

We all know with certainty, that every single one of us has experienced our own version of a temper tantrum (and will likely have another one).  We are just people, right?

The reality is that we fill our kids’ heads with a ton of information about math and reading.  However, we often fail to help our kids learn how to process through life’s tough situations.  

anxious kids, autism, adhd

ADHD, Autism, Or Any Uniquely-Wired Thinkers

For our children with ADHD, Autism, or any executive functioning struggles, it is even doubly important to equip them with emotional regulation skills.   

This will ultimately support them in their relationships now and in the future. 

We can set up our kids for life-long success by equipping them with the tools that they need to promote appropriate emotional self-regulation.

The Zones of Regulation & Your Mom Tribe

Friend, if you are anything like me, you know the exhaustion and overwhelm that comes with raising a higher-needs kiddo.

I did it alone for way too long and suffered for it.  Don’t make the same mistake that I did.  Whatever your situation, find community with moms who get it.   And have lots of fun too!

And grab your FREE 5 Day Devotional For the Weary Christian Mom.  I’ve written this devotional to equip and support the exhausted mom who has tried everything she knows to do as a good Christian momma. 

This is what I was looking for in my worst season of parenting my son.  When our days were filled with hitting, kicking, screaming, biting and scratching all.day.long. 

Be encouraged, Friend, there is hope.  Grab your free copy today and meet me in your Inbox every day for 5 days.   I promise, you will be encouraged and equipped.  

There is a better, more life-giving way to parent our uniquely-wired kids to thrive!  Promise.  

Listen to Episode 23 for more support & tools, Friend.  

Your child is a blessing to this world and has been created by God with gifts, passions and purpose.  Don’t lose hope.  Be encouraged!  We are in this together.  

Parent An Angry Raging Kid

Recommended Reading For Moms Raising Kids With ADHD, SPD, ASD (or No Acaronym At All)

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook
Finger Play and Preschool Song Cards

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