Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Juggling Act: Homeschooling and Special Needs

I haven't posted in this category as often as I'd hoped to throughout the year. Sometimes I get so caught up in doing what this week's topic is all about: How do you juggle homeschooling a child with special needs, therapy, etc.?

I definitely in no way feel like an expert in this area, but we are in the thick of it! ;) We have two special needs children/young people in our home: Teen Girl, with Type 1 Diabetes; and Little Bit, with developmental delays, sensory integration disorder, hearing impairment, speech impairment/apraxia of speech (what ever term you want to use), and he seems to have some language processing issues, as well.

So, how do we actually juggle the special needs with the homeschooling?

For Teen Girl, I try to be more understanding of the mood swings that the blood sugar swings cause! ;) (Yeah, add those mood swings to being female, and a teenager....can be a potent combination, sometimes!) I've also been told, and learned by observation, that diabetes seems to make a person more tired than the average person would be. Fortunately because we do homeschool, that means for Teen Girl, she has the option of sleeping later than she'd be able to in a "traditional" school setting.

To help her keep her blood sugars more on an "even keel," we try to adhere to a fairly structured mealtime. It doesn't always work, though. Sometimes life just plain interrupts! We also try to keep her on a pretty strict time frame for her long-acting insulin dosages. (You can read more about our diabetes journey here.)

Some people may not really consider diabetes as a "special need." But it is! It's just not the "traditional" type, such as Austism, or Down Syndrome, or Cerebral Palsy, etc.

Little Bit's "special needs" may not be as prominent, either, but they still effect our daily lives and routines. He has had therapy (speech, OT, PT) since he was younger than two years old. So, frankly, it is just as much a part of our life and routine as Teen Girl's insulin regimen is!

I tend to follow a more delayed-formal-education philosophy, so the early years are spent with me reading aloud quality books to the children, playing with math manipulatives, gardening and yard work, household chores, etc. Therapy just became a part of our education and daily activities.

As the children got older, and we incorporated more "book learning" activities, school became a little more structured. Now it isn't too unusual for us to do some school work on Sundays, since we know our therapy day, Tuesday, will not see much of the book work being done.

Of course, right now we don't seem to have much problem getting Little Bit to do certain of his school activities completed! He is enjoying his computer programs very much (thank you, TOS Crew!!). In fact, he comes to my room every morning (even Sabbath and Sunday!!) asking to do his schoolwork!! ;)

Which brings me to another method we have in this juggling act! Since the boys, especially Little Bit, wake earlier than the teens, I try to get some of the boys' one-on-one schoolwork completed before the teens even wake up! Sometimes even before breakfast.....

For those of you also affected by special needs, how do you juggle homeschool and special needs, therapy days, etc., in your home? Pin It Now!


  1. [...] Wendy @ Life at Rossmont writes The Juggling Act:  Homeschooling and Special Needs. [...]

  2. I found you through the Crew and the Blog Cruise this week. Thank you for mentioning that diabetes makes you more tired than the average person. I'm still new to diabetes (adult onset type1), and I hadn't ever heard that. Maybe I'll cut myself a break now and then.

  3. Cristi, thank you for commenting, and following via GFC. I know from a couple adult friends, as well as my dad, who have diabetes that diabetes makes them feel more tired. So, yes, be sure to cut yourself some slack. I am sorry that diabetes has come and rocked your world. By the way, be sure to come follow my diabetes blog, too: I don't post as often as I wish on that blog, but I try! ;-)


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