How To Make Your Homeschool As Simple As Possible Right Now
This may not be for every family, but it is certainly what mine needs right now. I am making our homeschool as simple as possible.
It’s been a lot like the movie Groundhog Day here this week.
Every day feels the same, with no end in sight. My children are feeling it. I am feeling it. My husband,
hiding working upstairs is feeling it.
I am not focusing well – I can only imagine how my two boys, who already struggle with attention issues, are feeling.
Why I’m Keeping Our Homeschool As Simple As Possible
One thing is clear – we need the routine that our homeschool provides. All of us, especially my kiddos.
A friend of mine told me last week that her son was loving this season – all the screen time, none of the pressure. I sighed and tried not to feel jealous.
My children are wandering the house, melting down more significantly than they have in years, and struggling to find their footing. They can have as much screen time as they like, but neither of them can really focus long enough to engage.
Increasing anxiety, decreasing mood stability and overall lack of control are making things a little tough around here. We depend on our homeschool routine to cope.
A reader commented on my Facebook page last week, essentially scolding me for being negative and not sharing about the all families who are doing well right now.
I get it. I don’t want anymore negativity in any of our lives right now.
So, if you are doing well, please let me genuinely say, “Great job! Seriously, this is not easy and you are rocking it.”
I don’t want more negativity, but I do need a sense of community and of being understood. Incidentally, there are not a ton of comments or examples of special needs moms feeling like they are doing great right now. There are far more comments begging for something, anything to make this a little easier – I suspect they are like me, needing to feel a little less alone in all of this.
At the beginning of the year, I made the decision to intentionally focus on the good, every Wednesday, when I send an email out listing two or three things that worked for us over the course of the past week.
Sometimes, I share cool new products or ideas that I have for helping my kiddos.
Last week, I listed chocolate, y’all. Chocolate.
It’s what worked.
After I sent the email last week, and with that comment in mind, I starting thinking about what else I would share to try to help.
I read all the replies from you and one very clear message came through from every single mom who took the time to reach out –
I am overwhelmed.
This is really hard.
I am sure I am failing.
My response last week was this –
It’s the greatest piece of advice I can possibly give you. Keep showing up. Do the best you can. Love your kids. It’s the only secret I have to share. (from One Thing You Need To Know Right Now)
This week, I want to share real-life, practical examples of how we are working through all of this.
Essentially, it comes down to this – I am keeping our homeschool as simple as possible, while still maintaining some sort of routine.
How To Make Your Homeschool As Simple As Possible Right Now
FOCUS ON INTERESTS AND STRENGTHS.
You know I already use my sons’ interests and natural strengths to fuel about 80% of our learning.
These days, it’s about 99%.
My oldest has had perseverative interests in fish tanks, computers and guitars for years. (Many of you have followed along all these years and have seen how these passions have ebbed and flowed.)
These strong interests serve many purposes, and right now, they are helping him cope. We can’t just go walk around the fish store or Guitar Center right now to help him calm down, but we are doing it through YouTube. Yesterday, we watched video after video of people building new guitars and taking tours of guitar plants.
It’s the only thing that really helps.
RELY ON ONLINE RESOURCES.
My youngest son is taking online classes about Minecraft and Harry Potter through Outschool.
Both boys watch a YouTube video about history at the beginning of our “school day”.
My oldest takes online classes through his hybrid school in the afternoon.
In all these instances, the academic expectation matters so much less to me than the routine, the structure and the ability to connect with the outside world. Plus, it gives me a much needed break from what often feels like a bit of a pressure cooker.
I find that right now, I am worrying less about end of the school year expectations and more about what we can do and learn today. Now is not the time to fill in learning gaps or tackle the high school transcript. For us, it’s time to focus on the things that bring a sense of calm, on practicing our coping skills and doing the best we can to live well together.
It’s letting go and doing the best we can.
It’s reminding myself that it’s temporary, even when it feels like Groundhog Day.
It’s keeping it simple.
For more ideas, encouragement and support:
Just because it’s difficult, doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong!
How to have a better homeschool week
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.
Girl! Forget the woman who told you that you were being to negative. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life! (the irony) My two closest friends are loving this time of quarantine. I am losing my mind. I hate being told what to do and I hate not doing the things that bring me and my children joy. I essentially feel that I have no friends anymore because no one “gets” me. I can’t stand Facebook anymore because of all the people telling you how to feel and chastising you for buying too much toilet paper or something that is nonessential or going out too much. I am sick of how everyone has just turned on each other. What good is it to gain our lives and lose our humanity. I truly feel that we are losing our compassion. Stay strong. I’m losing it over here too.
At the very least, I am so glad we are not alone in this.
Thank you, Angela!
Routines are paramont.
For us its all about extremly structured days. Doesnt mean go go go….its about a dependable routine every.single.day.
But i feel ya.
Have you tried driving around and letting the kids pokemon hunt from the car? At 10pm on a Saturday night….this is what we are doing lolololol
What are we doing today to cope today? We are watching the rest of The Chosen, the beautiful story of the life of Christ. It is encouraging us and the imaginative stretches they take (they imagine Matthew as an Aspie!) are helping us to realize how tenderly Christ is loving us, even through this horrible, challenging season. This has been a very difficult stretch for us–and we have been through a lot. My son (Aspie, OCD, ADHD, bipolar, type 1 diabetes) has been having panic attacks. We had mostly avoided those to this point, even through years of my husbands self-medicating with alcohol and my son’s major anxiety issues. Now the panic attacks have begun. My daugher (ADHD, OCD, ODD) has been lashing out verbally, starting arguments that sometimes go on for hours. And my husband, just clean for a couple months, has been having to learn to cope with our challenging life sans alcohol in this pressure cooker! Our sleep had already been messed up by a stretch of sickness back in January and February and we had just gone out for the first time in six weeks right before all of this started! We just moved here to Colorado Springs last summer so we are not at all established, have no friends here, no church so I feel even more overwhelmed about what life will be like when this is over. Talk about slowing adjustment to a new community! We are also keeping homeschool requirements simple, watching more movies together, baking more. I crochet while we watch to give my mind some relief from constant swirling thoughts about how I can be a better mom, keep my kids calmer, heal my marriage…. I am hoping to add in some board games but my first goal is to get our sleep straightened out. I suspect my daughter is also bipolar as seasons like this reveal more about her. If we get to bed on time tonight, I will consider that a victory. Seriously, Shawna, thank you for what you do. I don’t need to hear more about how well everyone is doing. I need to know I am not alone. Just hearing a pastor on a podcast talk about how well his kids are doing with the quarantine made me want to cry. What is that like??? I know God is good and will carry us through this, but this is one of those times when I am crying out almost constantly for the strength to keep loving my family well. I am tired and emotionally worn. One foot in front of the other on the Groundhog Day. Blessings to you. Keep going in His strength, mama!
Beautiful. Thank you so much, Kimberly.
I just wanted to nod my head, with yours, and send you a virtual hug! Our family moved here to this new house in August. Due to flu season starting earlier last Fall, we have been on medical quarantine (a seasonal thing for us) since September and, therefore, really don’t know many neighbors or members of our church community. Thank heaven for a big backyard and a new trampoline and new playground in our backyard!?☺ We are sending hugs and prayers for you in this uncertain time! God is good and He will see us all through!?❤
I agree with Angela, forget what your reader said about negativity. We, as special needs moms, need to be able to voice our fears, anxieties, regrets, failures, etc. If we don’t we drown in them. THIS IS HARD. having my 2 boys home 24/7 completely controls my days, and I have 5 other kids, and a husband. Meals are by the seat of my pants, laundry gets done when I happen to think of it, mostly its throwing a screen at my youngest just to keep him in 1 place for awhile so I can at least talk to someone else besides the persistent, obsessive, hyperactive one. God has a plan, I’m not sure what it is, and this IS HARD!!!
“If we don’t, we drown in them.” Amen!
Thank you, Chris.
I am the homeschooling mother of 6 amazing kiddos who all have varying special needs… and I have received similar comments, looks and behavior from people who don’t understand the importance of embracing our reality and having a place to own it for all that it is. There is a difference between being negative and looking for the negative… and validating ourselves, our children and our fellow Diffies and their caregivers/parents, in what is real life for us all! It’s one thing to experience this kind of judgement from those on the outside (who have no experience with the special needs life)… it’s quite an interesting thing to experience this kind of judgement from those in the special needs community who do not own their own paradigm, fully… and who, because of that, do not know how to give grace to others for owning theirs! I just want you to know that I appreciate your real-life approach and validation of me and mine, in what you share! Being a Diffie family is a multi-faceted experience. Just because we are real about life… does not mean we don’t see the beauty in the struggle! I think you represent that truth quite well! Thanks for being you and for validating us all!❤?
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