A friend of mine has a daughter who is dyslexic and has type 1 diabetes. She spends much of her week shuttling her daughter to tutoring appointments and medical visits. I can relate to my friend's lifestyle. I, too, am finding our homeschooling being interrupted in ways I never imagined. Just last year, one of my children was diagnosed with high functioning autism and has been going to four to six therapy appointments per week. Now, another child has tested as twice exceptional—gifted and learning delayed. This child will have therapy three to four times a week.
If you’re nodding your head in commiseration, you may wonder, as I did, how in the world you will ever be able to continue homeschooling your kids with so many therapy or medical appointments. We’ve been shuffling multiple therapy appointments with homeschooling for a year now, and there are many techniques I use to make sure our homeschooling still gets done.
Listen to Audiobooks
Many of the therapy appointments my children need to attend are 45 minutes long and 30 minutes away. We are spending an hour a day in the car just to get back and forth from the appointments; that's over 16 hours each month! Instead of letting that time go to waste or letting kids zone out with small screens, we use that travel time to listen to audio stories. We cover a surprising amount of our BookShark Read-Alouds in that time! Despite the appointments, our homeschooling doesn’t fall behind because road time doubles as Read-Aloud time.
Read Aloud Only
In a similar vein, you may consider putting aside the other academic subjects and only read aloud during a particularly difficult season of life. Reading is restful to both you and your child, and can be done almost anywhere with no supplies besides the book itself.
BookShark Level 6 (Eastern Hemisphere for ages 10-13), for instance, has 25 novels scheduled, which is more than most kids read on their own in the course of a year. If all you do for a season of intense therapy or medical appointments is just read aloud, your children are still learning about history, geography, culture, etc. In addition, they are learning vocabulary and grammar painlessly by listening to great literature.
Focus on the 3 Rs
If the therapy will last for some time, you may have only an hour or so a day for homeschooling. In that case, focus on the 3 Rs—reading, writing, and arithmetic. When the most intense season of therapy or medical appointments is done, all the other subjects and extracurriculars can be added back in without damaging your children’s education or having them fall behind.
Take Advantage of Video
There are plenty of good films and shows that have educational value. Some of our favorites are Liberty Kids and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. Find more options here:
- 6 YouTube Videos for Exploring Australia in Your Homeschool
- Ancient Egypt: Eight Movies to Stream Online
- Explore Africa Through Streaming Video
- 10 YouTube Videos for Exploring South America
- 10 YouTube Videos for Exploring Central America
- Explore Australia with These Fascinating Streaming Videos
Watching videos can be less taxing than reading but still provides facts and topics for discussing with your children.
Swap School Hours
There is no rule that homeschooling has to be done during traditional school hours. You may start homeschooling as late as 6 p.m., or you may start at 6 a.m. You may study only an hour or two during the day, so you decide to also homeschool on the weekends. The choice is yours, and it’s important that you take advantage of this choice when you’re in crisis mode.
Homeschooling offers great flexibility for your special needs child, which is even more important when you’re taxed with getting your children all the therapy and medical appointments they may need. Embrace the gift of flexibility and let go of your guilt. You will make it through this difficult time, and your children’s education will not be impeded.
About the Author
Melissa is a homeschool mom to three kids. BookShark is her primary curriculum, and she and her kids love it! When she's not homeschooling, she's either shuttling kids from one activity to another or working from home as a freelance writer. You can read more about Melissa's homeschool journey at her blog Moms Plans.