By Guest Blogger Whitney Preslar
Prior to the monumental earthquake that shook our lives almost 4 years ago, if you’d asked me whether I would consider Homeschooling my son, my answer would be similar to 95% of you. Heck to the NO! I loved the moment I lovingly walked my son to the doors of his elementary school and sent him on his way. I CRAVED that moment- when I would finally have a few hours to myself to work, rest, exercise, run errands, and operate at a resting heart rate.
But like so many that year, we opted to homeschool the year the schools closed down. You see, my son is on the autism spectrum, and he’s ADHD. The first day we logged into the Chrome book in our pillow fort, I knew I would be at his side all day if that was going to work. So, we pivoted, and we loved it. We spent that year learning in fun ways, on our own terms.
BUT…I was counting the days until the schools would reopen. You see, I’m also a single parent, and lost my job during the pandemic. I couldn’t go back to work while I was homeschooling my son. The following year, I was THRILLED when we found a small private school that felt like it was a perfect fit…and it was, until it wasn’t.
So, here we are again…team homeschool! Which I’ve learned is not at all uncommon among neurodivergent kids. You see, our kids don’t always fit into this world, so we have to make a universe for them.
What does our day look like? We use a Charlotte Mason based curriculum, which means lots of reading. (My son loves reading!) Our day starts with a few chapters of reading. We are studying Eastern Culture, and we read books that are set throughout history. Reading comprehension, vocab, and history are all part of this reading time. Then we move into math (this one is a challenge) and do hands-on review with manipulatives, then move into new material. That’s the first part of our day, because he’s pretty taxed by then. He’s wiggly. So, we break.
In the afternoon, we work on more “fun” activities. Baking is a favorite (Following directions, fractions, science), as is science. Sometimes we meet up with a play group or work together on a building project. We also have tutoring and extra-curriculars in the afternoon and evening horseback riding & Muay Thai are his two current favorites.
For me, it’s a lot of back and forth between his school and my work- I’m now a nutrition coach, which I do from home. The switching is pretty exhausting. I’m not going to lie, sometimes I get into a groove in my office and he gets a little extra computer time. It’s very challenging to run a business without running a homeschool, and exhausting to do it concurrently.
However, I consider it a privilege to spend this time with my son. We get to do school our way. There is no 6:00 am rush to get him out of bed and off to school. No bullies, no homework, and no shoes if we don’t want them. We can do our lessons outside or inside. We’ve even done a lesson on the roof!
The downside of course, is that he’s always here. All the quality time. None of the productive, uninterrupted, sacred work hours. But we’re figuring it out! We’re making it work, catching our groove, and finding our village of people. That part is super important when you’re homeschooling. Find your people- the ones you jive with, and plan for meet ups! I think it’s especially important for families of neurodivergent kids to find that support, because not everyone gets why your kid won’t wear shoes or is just having a bad day.
The one challenge I never anticipated is the amount of fruit I’d slice throughout the day, hot dogs I’d bake, or hot chocolate I’d mix up. Homeschool families, you feel me here, right? There’s breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, snack before dinner…
What’s it like to homeschool my brilliant and creative son? In a nutshell, he’s a Hobbit; barefoot, a little silly, always hungry, and we’re on a magnificent quest. (Ours is just slightly less perilous)