There’s a world out there where ADHD children can get a high school diploma without having to undertake the extreme conditions of “regular” high school. On-line learning and correspondence High Schools are an option that many people don’t feel comfortable researching. But they can be a truly engaging experience in learning for the right teen-aged ADHD high school student!
Not all children learn the same way. Regardless of any laws stating that “all must be treated and taught equally”, there is not a method of teaching 25-30 students in a classroom and having them be taught equally well. Life is just not like that.
One option that has helped several high school aged students is a mixture of home school, on-line school, correspondence school and/or traditional high school. One school of choice that actually works with students is The American School based in Chicago, IL.
Utilizing the home-based study techniques, testing is done and graded by sending away finished work directly to the school. Each returned examination not only gives a grade, but also includes comments from instructors to aid students in finding where to look in their textbooks to review information they may have missed.
Easy to cheat, some say. Easy to look back in the book for the right answer, some say. But, knowing where to look for an answer is a learning experience in itself. And cheating, whether home-based or in public schools will go on, but not by most students. Retention is what learning is all about. The more one has to search for an answer to a problem, the more that research will stick with them.
There are many students who score very high on yearly ISAT testing and other various testing forms to gauge how well our schools are doing. These same students, however, because of ADHD, autism, dyslexia, or other learning disabilities may get extremely low grades throughout the year. In fact, many, though they score exceeding high on standardized testings, may fail academically year after year in the local high school system.
The reasons for this vary. Perhaps homework is being graded on a large scale. An ADHD or CAPD student sometimes has enormous issues with homework. They either do the wrong page, don’t get it completed (or do it at all), lose it, or turn it in late. No matter what the issue, a Zero or 50% on homework assignments can bring an overall grade down in a hurry, even if that same student is acing quizzes and tests.
Getting organized and staying on track are additional issues that face many handicapped students. IEP’s can help but are not enough help, and usually not soon enough, for many of these students. The idea of free and appropriate education for everyone is a great idea. Unfortunately, there will always be those who do not fit into the “mold” and are left behind regardless of the public school system’s best efforts.
Using The American School as a unique example, students have the opportunity to learn at their own pace, study when they are able to concentrate, and are not left with the bad taste in their mouths that many students get from “power” teachers who consistently make that student feel a bit less worthy than others.
That being said, the option is always available to home school, do a correspondence or on-line school, and still benefit from part-time public school attendance. Many critical courses are covered at local high schools that can be attended by students on a part time basis. Many states, like Illinois, have provisions and laws that actually force public high schools to accept these students part time. These classes can be any that are offered at that school, (Providing space is not an issue). A part-time public high school attendance can accentuate the social aspects of teenagers growing up. It can, also, offer ideas and structures that most students do need to accept and learn to deal with. Part time attendance, however, limits the adverse effects that many of our young people receive from the public school system.
Do some research. Tune out the derogatory comments from people who can’t understand the reasons to branch out, (or are just not outgoing enough to utilize them). Check out the options and talk with your student. Be sure to listen, get all the facts, talk it out some more and make the decision that is right for your high-schooler.