I’ve homeschooled my son for most of his life. I know the challenges of getting organized and meeting goals in the school. I hope these tips will help you.
Homeschooling Tips for Children With Autism
1. Pre-plan and Prepare
In RDI®, we know that pre-planning and preparing our engagements is key and our consultants teach us how to do that.
The principle applies to homeschooling as well.
Allowing for time for preparation for lessons, making worksheets, determining new goals, is key to productivity.
I’m not saying there should be no room for spontaneous activities, but you want to know that you have goals and what you will need to do to reach them (I come from a family of teachers, both in my family and my husband’s. They tell me often how important planning their time is).
Related: Schooling at Home
2. Use Time
Prepare a schedule for yourself. In RDI® we talk about dynamic thinking.
But some times we need the static (like a schedule) in order to avoid chaos.
So break up your morning of homeschooling (or afternoon as the case may be) into segments, allotting time for each goal.
Even is you take longer on some than others than you planned, having the ‘plan’ will help you feel organized and avoid feelings of ‘not knowing what to do next.’
Once you are underway, remember to change the schedule of the day sometimes to help your child adjust to changes. These will occur often.
The best idea is to visit with your RDI® consultant about the when and where of these schedule changes.
3. Don’t Try to Crowd Too Much Into Your Day
When we are teachers, we think of ALL the things are children need to know. But instead, start small and build.
Such a plan allows you to also plan RDI® engagements that are open-ended and use time as a resource, not a stressor in your day.
You can always set new goals when you have achieved those you have addressed.
4. Plan ‘Early Release’ Days and ‘Field Trip’ Days
You don’t want to be in ‘the closet’ of your home all day every day. For some children, learning is best hands-on so you will want to take advantage of learning opportunities in your community.
Some include science and history museums, zoos, planetariums, etc.
You can take photos and then create a lesson for the next week using the photos of what you saw together
5. Plan ‘Fun’ Days
Under the same umbrella as not getting stuck at home, plan days that are for fun (and can have learning too) like amusement parks, rodeo, fairs, the circus, etc.
Some of these events will be only in your area briefly (i.e. if you attend the circus) so you will want to look ahead at upcoming events.
6. Find Homeschooling Partners and Support
Look for local homeschooling groups in your area.
One family I had actually had a co-op where they had some classes at a church and the parents each took responsibility for teaching.
Having this kind of support can be key.
7 . Plan a Curriculum
I have spent the last 19 years looking for curriculum that met my son’s needs.
As it turns out, it very much depends on your child and what their strengths and deficits are.
Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the names of curriculum you can access.
I use both online curriculum and workbooks, academic books…many different resources.
8. Consider Using a Combination of Home Schooling and Traditional School
With my son, I tried to always have a combination of both.
It was challenging to find a school that would allow me to do that but I found that smaller private schools were more open to diversity and needs of children.
You may have to have a few ‘misses’ before you have one that is a good fit.
9. Get the Help You Need
If you need an outside tutor to come in, or you are still needing other therapies (O.T. , Speech, etc), schedule those in as well.
We don’t have to be ‘the expert’ at every thing.
I try to empower my parents to train those coming in for whatever need in basic RDI® principles.
Of course, in the beginning, parents are learning themselves, but my goal is that they feel able to teach others who are working with their children.
Each of our journey’s as parents is different.
For some of you, you will only homeschool for a season, for others, you will decide to go until high school, and for still others, longer.
And of course for some, homeschool is not an option.
Whatever your journey, rest assured you are not alone.
All of us as parents have had to make these difficult decisions.
Hopefully, some of the tips I’ve included will be of help to you.