For many families that have children with autism, it can be great to have them days where you have peace and order, but the next day might be completely off for both you and your child. The days of our kiddos going to a physical school has changed a ton for this year anyway, and a lot of our families are homeschooling.
In the spring, I had thoughts of “I can do this if it’s a forever kinda thing.” “Not sure I can do this successfully if I have to teach both kids!” “I have a schedule down pat for both kids and it’s going pretty well.” I had a college student studying from home with frustrations of his own, was virtually homeschooling both kids, one a second grader, and the other a teen with severe special needs and I found a system that worked for us all. It did take some time to establish a good routine. Then summer came and we tried to enjoy what we could and then the new school year started. Kevin and I decided that it would be best to send them off to school physically if they were able to, but I didn’t know if thats what I wanted to do.
I prayed about it, I researched a ton of homeschooling mamas that had been traditionally homeschooling for years and I decided to make the decision to homeschool my youngest. I wanted to homeschool both, however I thought, let’s do this one child at a time. I know it seems weird, but my thought was Jaiden LOVES his peeps at school and if they decide to close down after October then I will be more prepared to school both my kids again. I am glad we did decide to do so because Sebastian and I are now establishing a good rhythm to our eclectic style of homeschooling which I know if Jaiden is to be homeschooled too then we will have an easy transition for him. I am trying my best to create a good system for our non homeschooling life and homeschooling life. Jaiden does LOVE his friends at school and by friends I mean the therapists. He is one to one which also is a super plus for him. I absolutely love that they can now give him that kind of attention.
Is this a new normal for us? I think yes and I know it comes with a lot of responsibilities and patience. We only have our children for a few years! Then it’s off to wherever they want to go when they become little adults. After a few years of teaching Jaiden and helping him it’s either he stays with us or we help him to transition to a shared living facility or residential facility. I think about so many things now that he is approaching 14 years of age. There are a lot of things to do before our kids turn 18. Right now, we are creating strategies to cope through our journey and survival strategies like letting them watch tv a little more, letting them play games a little more when done with homework, more trips to the park, walks outside, we’ve installed an indoor swing in the basement, and thanks to our dear friends we have a mini indoor trampoline now.
The new normal requires practical strategies—practical tweaks to your routine and mindset that will help you and the kids have a smooth school year.
Here are some solutions you can try to help you get there:
1. Try to Avoid Burnout
Even if you believe you only have 15 minutes to engage your child with an activity or academic lesson do that and don’t worry about them not learning because they are. Set timers if you need to so that it can help with transitioning to the next activity. I love using easy peasy, duolingo app for spanish lessons and brainquest for homeschooling Sebastian, but for Jaiden when he is home doing school week I use youtube kids for book reading, veggie tales bible videos and go-noodle indoor recess videos. To avoid burnout, I do these things and while they are busy, we cowork in my office or dining room.
It’s basically a different way of being with your kids, but it still is meaningful work! Try not to overwhelm yourself and take things chunk by chunk.
2. Stick To Having Break Time
Set aside breaks for your kids. Treat them like a meeting. I say out loud “Break Time!” and I stick to them. When school starts at 9 am break time will be like 10:30am. I then have them grab a snack and watch a cartoon of their choice for a few minutes. I will read, drink coffee and write. The goal here is to be able to think some positive thoughts, relax and breathe. This the most important career in your life right now being with your kids. Having breaks will help you to love your life and to have a moment to chill.
3. Create Separate Spaces To Work With Your Kids
My youngest get excited about working alongside me, but also when I give him a little freedom too. To make the school day effective we will cowork, break then Sebastian will do math work upstairs and he will instant message me if he needs help. It’s a great solution for peace during the school day.
For more on stressing less and homeschooling listen to the latest podcast!!
“Write these laws on the door frames of your homes and on your town gates.” Deuteronomy 6:9
Get Maritza’s First Book Autism in Our Home on Amazon and Barnes and Noble Now!! Putting God first when parenting your child with autism is the best thing you can do for your family! I want to help you to get your mind right and point you to the right resources. My second book is in the works and will be out soon!! https://www.amazon.com/author/maritzamoliswww.bn.com/s/9781642993400
If you wanna go much deeper than the blogs and podcasts are giving you then make sure you go to www.strategies2cope.com and I can go one on one with you. I can give you a free 10 min consultation to see if I am the right fit for you so just go to strategies2cope.com and send me a message!
Check out my husband👉🏼Kevin on his YouTube page for more tips!https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClCgg1lNqI3cmeE4fBHFjvw