Having a child with special needs can create many challenges, generic one of which is balancing needed therapies with the rest of our homeschool week. Any homeschooler knows the challenge of limiting outside activities. Home education is growing all over the country and the extra-curricular opportunities are astounding. We could really be away from home every minute of the day with fun and exciting activities. Yet, to really homeschool effectively, we need to spend at least a bit of time actually at home. Add to the mix a therapy or two and life really gets crazy.
For my own piece of mind, I need to be home more than not. In order to make that a reality we have often had to say no to doing some fun things. We aren’t involved in a co-op or any outside school classes. We try to limit each child to one outside activity at a time.
It’s also easy to get hyper focused on our special needs child. Time is spent researching and finding therapy opportunities, but then we’re too exhausted or there isn’t enough time in the day to take our other children to anything else. Sometimes our other children can resent waiting at therapy. I try to gently remind them that this is a necessity and we would do the same for each one of them.
Something that has really helped me to balance therapy with the rest of our home education goals is to try and plan activities all in the same day. For instance, in the past I have lined up speech therapy and TaeKwonDo lessons at roughly the same time. The facilities are close to each other as well as to a library that we enjoy visiting. It’s a busy afternoon, but getting those items completed in one afternoon means we have more time to be a home for the rest of the week.
I also try to keep our mornings free of any activities other than our school work. We get our largest chunk of schooling done in the morning, so when we do venture out, it’s after a good portion, or even all, of our work has been completed. We can return home ready to settle into our afternoon or evening routine of free time, dinner, baths etc. with out feeling the pull to do “homework”.
Balancing the necessary activities for a special needs child might never be easy but it needn’t be overwhelming either. Perhaps cutting out the frenzy of several therapies and replacing it with a more calm and peaceful home life might be just what the doctor ordered after all.
Jen is a wife to one amazing husband and mom to six energetic kids. Visit Forever, For Always, No Matter What where she blogs about their Catholic faith, homeschooling and adoption.