I am very blessed to be able to stay home and homeschool my children. I truly love it and thank God for all the special times my children and I share. However, lets face it mommas, we have “those” days! You know, those days where you wonder if you’re crazy for the decision you have made. Those days when you begin thinking if you could just send them on the yellow bus for a break. It is those days that I keep thinking “How Do I get my kiddo off the refrigerator and on to learning?” Grab your fidget spinner and keep reading sweet Momma!
Aspergers, Homeschool, and Battle of Wills!
Today just so happened to be one of those days for me with my oldest. The morning started out wonderful. We began with reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond together and then reading the newest Magic Treehouse book together with his middle brother. Then came math. This year we changed the math curriculum for my oldest. He has LOVED the new math all year long. However, he picked today to decide he just wasn’t having it. My mom, who is here visiting, was a teacher and decided to jump in to see what she could do with my oldest. Seven hours, some gray hair and bald spots later ( for my mom and me lol), he finished his assignment. It was not that he couldn’t do it, or that it was too hard. His mind was closed and he was done. He does this sometimes and it drives us all crazy. So what do we do?
Parenting and schooling a child with Aspergers has its challenges, but after 5 years of homeschooling my oldest, we have learned several tricks that usually work. We have gone from having frequent days like today, to them being few and far between. What have we done that has worked?
1. Relaxed our standards. When we started out, I wanted something easy. I wanted a box curriculum that I could open and immediately homeschool. Sadly, that didn’t work out so well. So over time I have went from the box set momma, to eclectic, to bordering on Unschooling. The more relaxed I get the better my oldest does. He is also very good at putting together his own studies.
2. Learn our child’s personality and learning style. My oldest loves to read so we have ALOT of reading in our school. He HATES to write, so I try to limit to an extent.
3. We allowed him some say in what we studied. Last year I had lesson plans prepared for the entire year. Well, right around April, my oldest really wanted to study World War 2. I wasn’t even close to that time period. I can’t skip to that era! I remember thinking over and over “NO NO NO! We can’t study that yet!” I reluctantly went with his request and let him lead. It was wonderful! My momma heart pounded with such joy!
4. Limit structured school. We do have structure to a point. I have a set curriculum for Math and we do structured time for Language Arts. Even though our studies are planned, our studies are also very unstructured and eclectic. I know most Aspies love structure and routine, but my son isn’t like most Aspies. My son rarely likes any structure at all. It seems the box curriculum sets make him feel very confined and he really bucks and fights. The only one he loves partially is Sonlight and we do use ALOT of their materials, but I taylor them to fit our family and our kids learning style. I try to use it as a guide only.
5. Limit distractions. For work that really requires structure we try to limit distractions. If too much is going on, my oldest cannot focus at all.
6. Allow ALOT of time for Creativity. My kids all love making things and take it upon themselves to do this regularly. It really helps with focus and school work to allow this, not to mention that this is actually school itself. You would be shocked at what your kids can come up with when you turn them lose on projects. For example, my oldest made a book of flags of countries around the world. This was Geography and Art in one and I never asked him to do this. 🙂
7. Expect Obedience. We expect our kids to complete the tasks we ask. Now, with that said, we are very flexible in our homeschool, which is one more reason we really expect obedience. If we are expected to obey God when He asks, we need to expect the same out of our kids. While I realize that my oldest has Aspergers and some approaches are different with him, the Bible still applies. He is still very much able to follow what we say, he just chooses not to at times. In those cases we refuse to back down. We do a lot of IF and THEN type of approaches with him, such as “If you complete your work, then you can read that book you want.”
8. Change curriculum. Yes Mommas, sometimes we have to change curriculum because it does NOT fit the needs of the child. If your child is consistently giving you a hard time, it may be time to look for a different approach. Luckily, homeschool gives us the freedom to tailor our curriculum!
9. FIELD TRIP. Need I say more? Yes, I know when a child is being stubborn the last thing you want to do is run out of the house for fun right? Well, Mommas, sometimes that is all it takes. As a mom, I get tired of cleaning the house, washing laundry, picking up after the kids and all the other chores around the house that I do everyday. Sometimes, I think about how nice it would be to go shopping, get a massage, get a pedicure or read a book. Well, it is the same with kids. Sometimes they just need a break from “routine” and getting out and having fun can really be a cure. I will confess, this is why I only homeschool 4 days a week normally. 🙂
10. Check my own Attitude. OUCH! That is so not what you wanted to hear, is it? It’s definitely not what I wanted to hear either, but it’s a fact. We get so frustrated at times that we end up with a real mess! It doesn’t help that frustration breeds frustration. When you’re frustrated, your kids are probably as frustrated, if not more than you. Take time to step away and pray. Seek the Lord to guide you in your homeschool and discipline. Remember that this is just a stage and it won’t last forever-hopefully! 😉
I also would highly encourage you to look into Lemon Lime Adventures for her courses! They are amazing! She is getting ready to launch a FREE three day course on Baffling Behaviors!
I also highly, highly, recommend the following reading to help you with your Battle of the Wills.
Want more ideas that go Beyond Academics? Click over to the iHomeschool Network.