Why Use Routines for Special Needs Homeschoolers? …and More

Are you wondering how routines can help your homeschool and children with special needs? Tal shares what helps her family.

Flourishing with routines

I have always believed that homeschooling was the absolute best choice for my boys due to their need for structure and routines. I’ve learned that they absolutely thrive under having a routine that changes very, very rarely. Any changes in their normal scheduling sometimes creates chaos and causes them to regress. Regression means returning to a state or condition that you were previously in.

For my boys that can mean going back to not remembering how to academically or mentally return to a previous state that they were in emotionally as well. For example, if one of my sons has mastered verbs and something in his homeschooling schedule changes on a Tuesday, then by Thursday, he has forgotten what a verb is and how to recognize one. So we try not to change anything up if possible. Sometimes life happens and doing things differently is completely unavoidable.

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https://autismhomeschoolmama.com/equipped-guide-special-needs-homeschooling/ So I recognized early on that my sons needed a schedule

I had to figure out a way to do this so that I didn’t exclude any of my other 5 children. How could I come up with something that all of them could be included in? Well, the answer was a simple one really. I came to the conclusion that I needed to utilize a one-room schoolhouse method. So I teach everything together. I made my boys their own schedule though so that they knew what subject we were about to move on to next. I simply typed it out and printed it for them.

Are you wondering how routines can help your homeschool and children with special needs? Tal shares what helps her family.
Group learning can help you stay on a smoother routine as a family.

Here’s an example:

  • Bible 8:00-9:00 am
  • Spelling/Vocabulary 9:00-9:30 am
  • ELA 9:30-10:30 am
  • Phonics 10:30-11:00 am
  • Math/Algebra 11:00-12:00 pm
  • Lunch 12:00-1:00 pm
  • Time and day will vary with the following: (so won’t go into detail on those in this post)
  • History
  • Science/Biology
  • Music
  • Art
  • Group Study/Reading

This is the typical way we do subjects daily. Sometimes, depending on my mood, I combine subjects but still try to go in a certain order as to not cause confusion. My boys are more aware of subject order most days than they are aware of time. So as long as the order of our routines remain, the time doesn’t matter as much.

Are you wondering how routines can help your homeschool and children with special needs? Tal shares what helps her family.
Routines make life so much more predictable and comforting for many kids with special needs!

Another major issue we had that I’d like to discuss…

Penmanship and handwriting.  So I used this mead book to teach them to write until their fine motor skills were strengthened. I actually purchased this at a Kmart store a few years ago. You can probably find them on Amazon now. Not sure. I actually used golf pencils to teach them to write in the early days and we then transitioned into the Ticonderoga pencils. Due to their inability to keep up with pencils, I write their names on their pencils and they have to place the pencils in a cup on the table at the end of the school day before they can be excused. It’s a good way to get them to return the pencils.

We are now working on cursive writing because I personally think its a skill that kids should have these days. Cursive is a work in progress for my autistic boys though. We use copywork for practice and I teach 3 letters at a time. Biblical copywork is our favorite, but we’ve also used things like Washington’s Rules of Civility as a resource with my other children in the past. There are lots of free printables for copywork online, or you can download a font and make your own pages. I’ve made my own before as needed.

I actually make a lot of my own learning materials because it can be very time consuming to look around online just to find that one or two particular pages that you are needed. My boys do better without a boxed curriculum and thrive better with unit studies and notebooking pages. They love to draw and do better when they can use their own imaginations and creativity. I go to my local newspaper printer and ask them for the end rolls of paper that they have. Usually, they just give it away for free. That’s even better for us.  It makes great drawing paper for that budding artist or artists in every family.

Are you wondering how routines can help your homeschool and children with special needs? Tal shares what helps her family.

Considering organization

Lastly, I wanted to discuss organization in regards to my boys and homeschooling. They tend to be very disorganized. Old papers often take over their backpacks and workspaces. So I’ve started to place a clean up/clean out time on their schedules. So now they know that every Wed before church at around 5 pm (yay routines), it’s time to clean out their spaces. It has worked wonders for us.  We’ve also had a problem with having a set place to put schoolwork that’s in progress or completed schoolwork. I use to try to let them just keep everything in separate folders. Well, that didn’t work. Science ended up in the math folder, math in the history folder and so on.

It became much easier to just buy each of them one folder to put all work in. One side is for completed work and the other pocket is for work in progress papers and notes. This saved us so much time with digging around for lost papers. I also bought special pencils to let each son decorate his own folder in his own way. Letting them decorate the folder gave them a sense of identity and taught them the responsibility of having to keep up with it. They found joy in being able to show others their artwork. It may seem like a small accomplishment, but as any parent of a special needs child can tell you, anything like this is a huge deal.

Are you wondering how routines can help your homeschool and children with special needs? Tal shares what helps her family.
Even organization can be part of your homeschool routines!

Well, off I go to work on daily schedules for them. This is a totally separate subject than homeschooling with a routine. I also have these cute little cards for them that I make with a lanyard attached. These “care cards” have been amazing with helping the boys to understand what happens next in their day. It’s amazing. I may do a video or separate post about that sometime soon and show everyone what I mean. Thanks for reading.

By the way, you can download a free art journal from my site right herehere!

Are you wondering how routines can help your homeschool and children with special needs? Tal shares what helps her family.

More about Tal

I’m a Christian, married, homeschooling mother of seven children and we live in beautiful Kentucky.  I have 2 sons that are on the autism spectrum. They were both diagnosed at around the age of 4 or 5. One of my sons has OCD with his autism, the other has ADHD. I really dislike labeling my children, but for the purposes of getting them the help they need, it’s a necessity. And it is a part of who they are. I like to think of them as having “abilities in disguise” instead of disabilities.  You can find me at Blessed Grove Homeschooling, on Facebook, and Pinterest.

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The Biblical Study of the Power of Words

Author: Jill C

Jill is a Christian, homeschooler, "boy mom", and special needs parent. Jill has ADHD and has learned firsthand how adapting environments can be key to finding success! Her current mission is to empower parents whose desire is to homeschool their special needs children and helping them squash their self-doubt!

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