COAH Community

Homeschooling children with RAD survival tips needed


I’m homeschooling 4 children. Two with RAD, reactive attachment disorder. Both were adopted through the foster care system about 5 years ago. My oldest RAD child was in Catholic school last year. It brought alot of negative behaviors like lying, stealing and destroying property. I’ve kept her home this year with less of those behaviors but I got a whole new batch. My son also has RAD and I can see him having food/eating/stealing issues with excessive crying. I’m homeschooling this year and I feel I’m at my wits end with all the behaviors. I’m seriously thinking of putting them in public school next year. I feel they need a taste of other people having rules, just like our household. I"m not sure which behaviors I want more, public school behaviors or homeschooling? I"m gonna get behaviors from either choice. Was looking for encouragement or anyone who has experience with RAD children in public school. They do receive therapy but as any parent with Rad children can attest to, we still need encouragement.


Our sons were adopted from foster care as well five years ago next week. I seldom see RAD behavior and when I do, it is in response to some trigger (usually fear of loss of us or separation from us). I have never considered public school - simply because of the chronic illness issue in the oldest.
Hang in there. I don’t have any words of wisdom, just a couple of questions: Are there days that go well, without behavior issues? What works on those days and can you base school and home on what is working?


Hi there. Yes, there are days that go well. I feel the honeymoon is over for this year. I see more behaviors starting in December and will continue with a few “good” days here and there. We have a therapy session once every two weeks and I discuss these academic concerns with them. They think its because I have too much on my plate and the homeschooling is not a good idea. I constantly get bogged down with them telling me homeschooling just doesn’t give me any “breaks” and she see’s me frustrated, which starts a spiral downward of behaviors. Then, I talk to my husband about it, he says send them to public school if I’m this frustrated. So now I have 2 support teams telling me homeschooling is creating the behaviors in the first place! Everyone wants me to give up. And maybe I should. I guess I’m looking for some encouragement to continue or to send them to public school. I know what you’re asking in your question but to try to keep tabs on what works one day and not the next, how she feels, figuring out her mood and keeping her on track so she can finish is just exhausting (for 1 day) enough for one child but i have 4! Ok, there I vented. Sorry about that.


Don’t be sorry about stating the complexities of the issues. That leads to understanding and support. Do what you know to be best for your child and your family. And just as an aside - there are days when we do not get all that I planned finished - and that is ok. We just continue from where we left off. I want comprehension and understanding, not a perfectly completed day. With my two, a perfectly completed day would be such a miracle that we all would be in awe. We try for understanding and grace as the overriding governance of the day - and some days both are really, really not findable. We have given ourselves a 4 day school week to allow for the many doctors appointments and as a make-up if we need it for the difficult days. But overall, looking at where we started, the gains have been remarkable.


Just a couple of suggestions: I have 9 children (twin toddlers) have you tried a helper approach: the child “helps” you teach and look after the others so that they don’t feel excluded when you are preoccupied. Then when their time comes to learn you have a very close study like Come Sit By Me (I don’t know the American version - I think it’s called Five in a Row.)
Also work on personal basics first like character development - this will help him or her develop management / control of reactive behavior; joy in reading; joy in exploring the world around them.
Also a posted schedule of what they can expect when - no surprises (in some children there is insecurity in uncertainty). I have other ideas but these are basics.
The mayo clinic recommends: "Treatments for reactive attachment disorder include positive child and caregiver interactions, a stable, nurturing environment, psychological counseling, and parent or caregiver education."
I don’t agree with either person that school is the best place for the child. (yes I know we are also talking about your sanity too).They probably don’t have the personnel to deal with these issues and it creates an unstable environment . what your husband could do is make sure he has a good relationship with the child so that he is secure with you leaving the house without him and still have a feeling of security that you are coming back.
I have friends (many) who have adopted and their children have this problem so some of our “mommy time” had one of these guys with us - that’s OK ;D
I could go on and on but I will leave it at that.


Thank you for your ideas. I’ll have to put in some thought into the helper approach. It’s interesting, she is so smart and bright that she loves the independent work and can almost self teach. It’s the things we do together, like history and science reads, where I see a lot of “I don’t get it” or “I wasn’t paying attention,” or “I don’t want to.” She doesn’t like the closeness but I have seen improvements with this. Then I read to just her, and I get the same thing.
As for character training, we have daily bible studies in the evening with dad. Church on Sundays and lots of ways to give back to the church/community opportunities. Also character studies on history figures.
I know that I need to get out of the house more often but I always have an excuse. It’s also hard to have a social life and do homeschooling and have children that have negative behaviors. I’m sure I’m not the only mom that feels that way. So that’s hard medicine to take.
I am worried about this unstable environment in public school as well. Plus, all the new behaviors they’ll learn. Sometimes I do feel that they need to be around other sources where there are consequences to their actions, not just at home. Would that be a better way to learn how to behave and realize we are not the only ones with rules, but society as a whole? I don’t know. I want whats best for them and whats best for the family.


We try for understanding and grace as the overriding governance of the day

Nicely said:)



We have two adopted children from foster care; we have been homeschooling for ten years. I have a couple of ideas and suggestions if you would like to contact me off forum:

Blessings to you! Praying…