You can’t talk about engagement in learning without noting the huge number of children who are diagnosed with attention deficits in a school setting.
Alan Schwarz and Sarah Cohen, writing for The New York Times, report:
Nearly one in five high school age boys in the United States and 11 percent of school-age children over all have received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to new data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (read more of the March 31, 2013 NYT report on ADHD here)
They quote doctors who are concerned that normal childhood behaviors are being pathologized because children acting like children is not as conducive to classroom management as children “sitting quietly at their desks.”
This is a loaded topic. There are parents whose children have been helped by ADD/ADHD diagnoses and medication. There are parents who feel pushed by school personnel to medicate their kids when they think their kids would not need it if there were different approaches to learning in school.
In homeschooling — there is room for both.
Parents who use an Engaged Homeschooling approach may find that many of their kids’ attention challenges are greatly reduced or even disappear altogether. Because you are focusing on what creates engagement in your child, you are by the nature of your approach eliminating many activities that cause your child to spin his or her wheels.
You can adjust your daily homeschooling life to provide a best case scenario for your child, but you can also decide, with your physician and/or an educational psychologist, whether your child has a learning disability that requires medication. And you can change your mind over time.
Over at TheHomeSchoolMom, I provided specific ideas for homeschooling a child who has attention challenges.
Check out my Rules for Engagement and Tools for Engagement. What you do as a homeschooling parent to set the stage for engagement for any child is simply more vital for children who have struggled with attention challenges.