Sunday, February 27, 2011

BLOG CRUISE: SisterT's Talkin' About HSing Around Appointments

TOPIC:  How do you juggle homeschooling a child with special needs, therapy, etc? I'm part of The Old Schoolhouse Crew review blogger program and we have a weekly question that we can all participate in to answer~

Here's my take:

Boy, have we been THERE! Frankly, I've been sooo there, that I've not been at home as much as I would have liked!  To stay at home as much as I could, we actually had therapy come to us. All this running and hoop jumping really began before age 3 and so since we had baby interventions at home, and then when he was in preschool for a few hours each morning he had therapy~we've navigated all kinds of appointments!

How to make homeschooling WORK when you're not home much because you have a child with a special need can be a huge challenge!  Just having a special child is in itself a challenge and then ADD all the interventions making it EVEN rougher~I came to the conclusion YEARS AGO that it seemed like the interventions were aimed at making ME feel like we were doing something~something to help~to detract from the issues and pervasive issues that have minimized, but never quite gone away.  Oh, don't call SisterT negative  b/c I've seen tons of progress~but jumping hoops is such a challenge to families with already weakened links that just being drawn and pushed all over the place can make it even harder~I speak this from the heart.  Appointments did make it harder.  It really did. But while my child has needs, so does the entire family~each member needs things and EDUCATION is just one small facite when there are special needs to navigate that require all kinds of time and resources to make appointments all over the place.   

In hindsight we did make it.  We are now highschoolers as you know, and so we have overcome and pushed through much of the running here and running there, navigate this therapy and that intervention that honestly now seems like a far off misty dream!  ONE DAY I will graduate all of the homeschooling and appointments and wonder just where all that time went ~and HOW we made it.  To get us through, I devised some strategy.  It took STRATEGY to make it. It still does but for different reasons~isn't it GREAT we homeschoolers are so elastic and flexible?  Just call me, FLEXA-MAMA! ...LOL...

Things we did to MAKE IT:
When it came to going out of our home to appointments, we had to make some plans.  First I had to know what we needed to cover on the appointment day, so my schedule was huge for me. Then I had to find a way to fit it all into our day even if we weren't at home, so I found a rolling book bag and packed it the night or morning before leaving for the appointment so we'd have 'activities' to do while we were waiting or in transit.  Being prepared was huge as I just couldn't sit there waiting OR allow my kids to just ride and not make use of that time. We have always lived further out from most bigger cities near us, so even if it was just 20-45 minutes to ride in the car, it was well worth having something they could do on the way or waiting.

RIDE School:
I guess it's a cool idea to ride or travel and school. I had no idea I was doing something faddish when in fact, all I was trying to do was survive and keep us going. But things we did in the car were listen to tapes/ cds which could house a world of stuff~things such as our multiplication facts were learned in songs called skip counting songs...also we could listen to stories or books on tape.  We sang and practiced our facts/information whether it was math or definitions such as spelling and vocabulary.  I'd have a child read aloud to me and the sibling too~This worked great! What skills were developed in the car as we traveled to our appointments!  I would have one child read to another~this was great too! Also I would even use small manipulatives for various things~sometimes coloring activities were done too...depended upon the distance. We were always busy in the car~and IF Daddy was driving which he did on long hauls, I would sit in the back and work with them.  At that time, we had a large leisure van so this worked really well...I wonder if my kids remember that?  

Waiting Room School:
When we got into the appointments and had to wait, if I was allowed to go back with my son, I did~but that generally left my daughter with my hub or in the waiting room alone.  Either way she needed stuff to do. No TV watching or just milling around for us!  She kept busy while my son was in his therapies.  Of course, they shared and still do some doctor appointments and now that they are MUCH older, I can leave one at home to work.  Either way, we don't quit working just b/c someone has to get out for an appointment.  
Learning can occur ANYWHERE so we have taken advantage of that fact...We sung a lot too~we drilled, we did whatever we needed and could to keep up our schedule and lessons, even schooled on Saturday and Sundays if the week got too tied up~Schooling was our recreation as well with more relaxed activities, and we schooled EVEN WHEN it didn't feel like school. Educational films, read alouds and craft projects and even Bible studies centered on topics we covered in our schooling so they were natural extensions of our educational week that got too jammed with  appointments so to keep going we did these and we learned. Until  studies helped us here as the extensions were endless covering many many modalities of learning!  We hauled coloring and art and all manner of stuff~Get yourself a rolling book bag~they work great for hauling it ALL with you! An example of this is our Bible studies for our History lessons, where as the teacher the whole class has been taught early church history via ME so my kids had an additional class in it each week~WHY NOT when all the teens under my guidance need to know this stuff? KNOWLEDGE isn't just for homeschoolers! LOL

I also tried to protect our days as much a possible by scheduling appointments TOGETHER and getting providers as near to each other as possible. Just this alone allowed us to stay home more and keep up a good solid school and family routine in our household.  When we had to go it was usually a long drawn out day, but we didn't go as often as we might have if I hadn't planned it this way.  Think about how MUCH your children can take and IF being home would serve your family better~CAN YOU find a way to bring services to your home? Recently I have requested tutoring for my kids for their weaker areas and my special learner,  but I had the choice of going to a provider OR having one come to me. Frankly, I'd rather have them come to my house so that the instruction/provider time is maxed, and it's their travel time, not mine. HOW MUCH can a kid take is a question I ask myself when setting stuff up. Oh, well, I don't always like for providers to 'intrude' if you know what I mean in our little sanctuary (home) but it ultimately works out better by relieving some of the stress of leaving the home during our schooling routines.

So HOW do you handle such situations like doc, dental and other appointments? Do you have multiple therapies to navigate each week such as speech or occupational or physical therapy? What are YOU doing? 

Thanks for stopping by and if you are interested in the Crew's ideas go                ! Leave me a comment so I knew you were here~ God Bless!

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