View Full Version : Homeschooling when parent has chronic disorder/disease

07-07-2011, 11:11 AM

Newbie here (see my intro in that section) looking for suggestions for my 7yo DS to do as 'independent study' on the days when I am not feeling up to snuff.

On absolutely horrible days I have family and friends lined up who will take him for the day and if possible I would like something that they can do with him that needs little or no prep work. Problem: not all of them have reliable, high speed internet. If nothing curriculum based is suitable, I'm looking for suggestions as to things they can do with him that would still count as "school". I'm thinking outside play/local swimming pool (phys ed), baking (math/home ec), sewing/rug hooking (home ec/fine motor skills), etc. Any and all suggestions much appreciated!

On moderately bad days, something that he can do on his own with me available for 'checking in' would be fine. We currently have a BrainPop Jr subscription that he enjoys, I am signing up for the T4L trial today and am wondering about Discovery Steaming Plus. Any advice/opinions on these (and other) options also much appreciated!

Finally, every day I need a 'rest' - I have to close my eyes and rest my brain. However this has been required since he was a baby, so he is used to it and that is when I plan to have him do his DEAR (drop everything and read), journal writing, watch a movie, play lego, etc. I also have him enrolled in an afterschool program at our local rec centre for a couple of hours M-F so I can have some quiet time.

I'm hoping this will be okay for us... I worry about it though. I know that there are others here who have similar issues, so if anyone has any advice, encouragement, suggestions, etc. I would love to hear from you!

Thanks very much

07-07-2011, 03:26 PM
Keep in mind that you don't have to tie yourself to the school schedule. If you're having a good day on a weekend, then do more that day. If you're having a bad day on a weekday, it's ok to have that day be less educational. If you're only managing 4 days a week and keep going through the summer, you'll still be getting in at least as many days as public school students.

Other ideas: Nature walks/hikes (Science, PE, Art if he draws or takes photos), trips to local museums, historical sites, or other attractions, trips to the library, audiobooks of classics (see http://www.librivox.org/), workbooks or worksheets that he's capable of doing relatively independently. If the person watching him has any special skills or talents, encourage them to teach him if possible.

07-07-2011, 04:01 PM
Focus on 3Rs on tough days and do the extra stuff (science, history, art, music, etc) on your good days. Schooling year-round can take the pressure off, since you can do less per day and take days off/breaks as you need them. Workbooks with bright fun images for bad days, or prepare your own workpacks (staple or comb bind) with math and activities that he can do more independently (including word searches, puzzles, even science experiments like weighing/measuring different items). Having materials prepared and on hand can make you feel more in control and less at the mercy of your condition.

Good wishes.

Stella M
07-07-2011, 06:16 PM
Bed school has happened here more than once :) Even if I feel really awful, I can usually manage to sit up and do some maths or listen to ds read.

Your list of things to do when he's with another carer sounds pretty good to me. I second a good supply of audio books/activity books/art supplies/documentary DVD's. You can always ask his carer to prompt him to respond after the audio book/DVD by drawing/writing about it etc. Or he can just narrate to you when he gets home.

Something my ds likes doing are the Think! challenges and Lego Quest. I'll come back with the links.

Movie making is a good activity too, just with a digital camera. Stop motion animation.

Games would be good too. Exercise DVD's.

What about keeping a box by the front door with a selection of these things that you put together on a high energy day ? Then all you need to do on a bad day is remind ds or carer to take the box.

The thing I would outsource to carers if I could would be the science stuff. It's a high energy activity - lots of prep, lots of clean up, lots of moving around in a small space. Can you get some boxed experiment sets and find out which family member/friend is happy to take this over for you ?

A laminated list of 'things to do' for your carers to keep at home ? Maybe you and your ds could make this list together, with 'indoor' and 'outdoor' categories. Then carers can help him choose from the lists.

If they have computers but no internet, what about buying a typing program for ds to use there ? That's a super good skill :)

Somewhere I have a link to a whole Lego unit study as well. I'll see if I can find it.

Stella M
07-07-2011, 07:46 PM
Think! (http://kidswhothink.blogspot.com)

Lego Quest (http://legoquestkids.blogspot.com)

07-07-2011, 08:17 PM
I would look for things that are considered "self-teaching" or things that are really straightforward and wouldn't consider curriculum that anyone describes as "teacher intensive." But I think there are such things - and you can always add in more "fun" stuff and direct teaching on days you're feeling well enough. Math Mammoth is one that can be done pretty independently (they sell it that way specifically). I'm not sure what your schooling approach is so I don't know what sort of subjects you expect to cover, but there are spelling, grammar, phonics, and other language arts programs that are also more independent than others. History at Our House is a history program based on lectures (I think you can download them so the internet would be less of an issue?), and some of the history spines people use (including Story of the World and Joy Hakim's History of US) are available on audiobook. Science is trickier - but there are lots of good science videos for that age - Bill Nye and Magic School Bus for one, and Beakman's World, which is on Netflix streaming. Plus tons of excellent nature films. And books are always good, of course!

I wouldn't rely on something like T4L totally if he's not going to have regular internet access, but for when he does, there are things like Shepherd Software (http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/), BrainPop (http://www.brainpopjr.com/) (it requires a subscription, but some videos are free and there's a new free one every week), and so many online math games, it boggles the mind - here's one (http://www.akidsmath.com/mathgames/index.html)we use sometimes and here's (http://www.ictgames.com/)another (though there's lots more out there). Oh, and BBC Schools has a lot of great content as well on all kinds of subjects.

Good luck. And I hope that you're able to make this work. And that you have more good days than bad.

07-08-2011, 05:48 AM
You've been given some really good suggestions. Math u See is an independent program with teacher lead DVD based lessons.

Also activity bags.com has a science book....you prep a whole bunch of science stuff so it is just a matter of grab and go.I'm just not sure if it would be too young for him, you'd have to take a closer look.

07-08-2011, 10:35 AM
Great suggestions everyone - thank you!

I'm going to make up a 'take it with you' bag and have that handy and he is going to *love* Lego Quest!

I chose Teaching Textbooks for our main mathematics, as that is something he will be able to do mostly on his own, and I have lots of learning apps on my iPad, something else he'll be able to work on himself - as long as there is an adult nearby to make sure he isn't just playing 'Trucks & Skulls' ;)

I take comfort in the fact that one of my therapists at brain injury rehab told me that children who are raised by a parent with a disability most often grow up to be not only extremely self sufficient, but also to be very tolerant of others' differences. I see both of these things in my son and for this I am grateful.

Teri Eddy
07-08-2011, 12:48 PM
I take comfort in the fact that one of my therapists at brain injury rehab told me that children who are raised by a parent with a disability most often grow up to be not only extremely self sufficient, but also to be very tolerant of others' differences. I see both of these things in my son and for this I am grateful.

this is good to know because I have a lot of guilt associated with being ill a lot... worried that this is what they'll remember about me most... me constantly being ill/hurting. But I do see these character traits in my boys already. it's comforting. thank you.

07-08-2011, 02:42 PM
My guilt was over my daughter growing up having to care for her emotionally disabled brother, but interestingly enough, she now says that, wherever she goes, autistic people are thrilled that she 'gets' them. She even started a paid job today babysitting for a 4 yo non-verbal autistic girl (and, i think, her 2 yo sister, but i'm not sure).

Stella M
07-08-2011, 06:56 PM
Cara, that's good news about your dd's job!

07-13-2011, 11:33 AM
Hi PetVet - I'm disabled and homeschooling a 7 yr old as well. I'm not sure what your budget looks like, but have you considered sending him with a netbook that is 3G enabled (like your cell phone) or a mobile hotspot (it's a mobile internet connection). Sprint has some good unlimited plans. I use Evernote to put together link lists for him to read/play when I'm feeling well, I have ebooks that my son likes to read on the Kindle (he enables text to speech and reads along as it reads to him). Time4Learning is a good option if you get the mobile hotspot. We also use the iPad extensively for practicing math facts and spelling. There's also a good app for story writing skills called ToonTastic. I keep our Netflix Qeue loaded with documentaries he'd like and I'm teaching him to find good web resources to read about what he's watched. We use MadLibs for parts of speech (also available on iPad) and as story starters. Here is a post from my blog about homeschooling for Geeks & Gamers that has some ideas: http://scikid3.blogspot.com/2011/07/homeschooling-for-geeks-and-gamers.html (http://scikid3.blogspot.com/2011/07/homeschooling-for-geeks-and-gamers.html)

We also do "bed school" a lot and my son loves it. I've also made some good friends online using FB that are local and as we've gotten to know them, they sometimes include the Geekling in their homeschooling day. Feel free to add me as a friend on FB if you can stand my political links! Stephanie Schiffman Marushia