How to Squeeze in Homeschooling Around Therapy and Doctor Appointments
Having surviving quadruplets with special needs out-and-about while homeschooling I have spent many times waiting two or three hours at a therapy center while my children got therapy back-to-back-to-back. Let me share some of the things I did to be prepared for being out yet we could STILL homeschool the children at the same time. As the children have gotten older (6+) I have moved from unschooling a more structured school. I did this for a couple of reasons. All my children have Autism. They like having a schedule. They like knowing what is going to happen and being able to predict their day.
Making a schedule allowed me to plan out the day and let the kids know what I am expecting and when I am expecting to do it. The LOVE being able to reference the schedule to let me know when I am not on-task. LOL I sat down and made a schedule for 6 days a week. This gave me some time to work with each of the kids individually on Math and English/Reading for at least 8 hours a week. Then we had 2 hours a week on science, 5 hours a week on history (kids love history), about 5 hours of play time, 2 hours of art that we all do together. Some of the subjects we did online using programs like Cleaver Dragons/Always Ice Cream or Time4Learning when they were older.
I found many therapy centers, if I asked, were willing to let me tie into their internet. They would either give me their password or they would take my device and put their password in for me so my device could remember the password and give me access to the internet. With access to the internet, we could complete work
while waiting. One child would be called into the back. Another child would have their personal electronic device and would play with some of their educational apps while I worked directly with the other child. We would rotate around like this until all the children had received their therapy. For the two children I was working with, we would work for about 10 minutes, then take a 3-minute break, and then work another 10 to 15 minutes, and another 3-minute break, and then we would do our final 10-minute push through the material. At that point we would stop so they have a couple of minute break before going into therapy.
For English, we use a variety of products. Much of the English grammar and sentence structure my children picked up from reading to them. We have been reading to them since they were 3 years old. Keep in mind my children did NOT sit still while we read to them. Heck, often they do not even seem to be paying attention; yet, when I ask questions, they often get several questions right. I figured that if just ONE question was right then I was doing great!
Often we mix story time and alternate academic-type material with fiction. We may read Stories of the World and then switch to reading Harry Potter. Then we might read Hidden Figures and then we will read The Four-Fingered Man. The children are currently on book four of this series, The Ancient Starship, and they are clamoring for the rest of the series. I will be buying the rest of the series shortly. I try to still rotate the books so they will not run through the series so fast. If they are really excited by the books sometimes we will read a series straight through.
I hope this post has helped answer some questions on how you can get in homeschooling academics on the go and fit it in around therapy and doctor appointments. As always, you are welcome to join us for more discussion on homeschooling children with special needs in our Homeschooling Special (Needs) Kids group. We also have a group for all parents and caregivers of special needs children called Special Needs Parenting Advice and Support where we discuss ALL things related to special needs care and Educating Gifted Children is where we discuss topics concerning gifted children and those that are twice exceptional (2e). Finally, we also have a FB group, IEP/504 Assistance, for parents of public school students from all over the United States. I hope to see you there!
CEO and Advocate
Michelle Reed-Harris is the mother of six children including surviving quadruplets. Her frustration with doctors and educators led her on a quest to learn about all the facets that touch the quads lives as children with disabilities. In the process, she gained a lot of useful information she could share with others so she started a Facebook group focusing on special education advocacy. The group quickly grew to over 6,000+ members. Recognizing the overwhelming need for assistance, she founded a nonprofit, AESA, allowing her to provide support, advice, and advocacy to parents with children who are outside the (Bell) curve.
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