My Real Schedule: A Day in the Life of a Special Needs Mom

My Real Schedule: A Day in the Life of a Special Needs Mom - jenniferajanes.com

My Real Schedule: A Day in the Life of a Special Needs Mom

I often have people ask me what life is really like in our family. So I’m giving you the real deal: a 24-hour peek into the life of a special needs mom on a pretty typical day:

12:04 am I see my younger daughter’s face for the last time before she finally goes to sleep. I’m not sure if it’s complete exhaustion or that she finally worked through the anxiety caused by my husband asking her to find the positive in her therapy session later this morning, but I’m thankful to finally be able to go to sleep.

5:00 am My husband gets up to get ready for training for his new job. I moved my alarm to 7:00 am last night before I fell asleep, knowing that five wasn’t going to be realistic for me, but the fact that he’s up and moving around the house keeps me from sleeping deeply. I dream about having a run-in with a neighbor over damage to their plants, an incident that never happened.

6:16 am I start to feel anxious that getting up at seven won’t be early enough to get everything done we need to do before Princess Roo’s Monday morning therapy session and my hours at work start. But I’m so tired, and my stomach still hurts. I’m beginning to think that I ate something with hidden gluten in it last week, despite reading labels. My GI system hasn’t been happy since last Wednesday. The vertigo and nausea from weather changes and sinus issues aren’t helping either.

6:46 am I give up, grab my phone, and begin reading my devotionals and Bible reading plan for the day. I listen to (audiobook) and follow along in a Christian living book I’m reading with a friend, and I pray for my husband and children.

7:00 am BookGirl’s alarm goes off, and she gets up while I’m still having my quiet time.

7:17 am I connect with BookGirl and my hubby in the kitchen, pray with my husband as he heads to the guest room to do his (online) job training, and make sure BookGirl is doing okay. She’s already had a shower and is working on her lessons. They won’t take her long this morning. She did a good bit of today’s lessons last night before she went to bed.

7:34 am I make sure that Princess Roo’s lessons are laid out and her morning medicine is ready and waiting. I make notes in my lesson plan book, mark attendance, and start some videos that will help me meet my daily Swagbucks goal. (Swagbucks has helped pay for Christmas, birthdays, homeschool supplies, etc. I try to meet my goal every day so I get more bonus Swagbucks at the end of the month! If you want to try it out for yourself, please use my referral link.)

7:46 am It’s the moment I’ve been dreading all morning—time to wake up Princess Roo. She’s not the happiest person in the mornings, and with the lack of sleep last night and the fact that she still hasn’t adjusted to the Daylight Savings Time switch, this could get ugly. Surprisingly, although she doesn’t move very fast, she doesn’t melt down over the wake-up call, and her cat helps me out by staying at the foot of her bed and purring when I place her there.

8:14 am Lunches are made. Showers and homeschool lessons for Princess Roo and me have started. (Not at the same time, obviously.) The morning is going pretty well, although Princess Roo is predictably struggling with her lessons more than normal, since she didn’t get enough sleep last night.

8:47 am I am mostly ready, towels are in the washer, Princess Roo has moved her homeschool lessons to the kitchen table (from the bathroom, where I was helping her while I dried my hair), and BookGirl is finished with her lessons, thanks to all the work she did yesterday afternoon and last night. She is happily reading the book of her choice at the kitchen table, eating a bowl of cereal. Princess Roo is trying to read her story to me, with breaks for the noise of making smoothies for the two of us to drink for breakfast.

9:00 am Interruption: A phone call from the immunologist’s office. We are trying to come up with a plan that will allow Princess Roo to continue her immunoglobulin infusions while we’re in the 90-day waiting period for health insurance with my husband’s new company. The nurse asks lots of questions, develops a plan, and promises to call me back later in the morning with what she finds out.

9:21 am Smoothies have been consumed, homeschool lessons are ongoing at the kitchen table. BookGirl is preparing our water bottles. She takes them, and the lunches I’ve already prepared, to the van for me.

9:32 am Time to put on makeup and brush my teeth. Princess Roo is still working on lessons. She manages to finish the most critical ones, and then she brushes her own teeth and finds shoes, socks, and a jacket so she can be ready to leave the house.

9:47 am  We leave the house.

10:00 am – 2:00 pm Princess Roo has an hour-long occupational therapy session, and I complete four of my ten hours for the week as an office assistant at the therapy facility. I get another call from the immunologist’s nurse. She thinks we’re on the right track, which is good news. While I work, BookGirl reads or plays with Princess Roo. They especially enjoy the big therapy gym area during the lunch hour, when it’s vacant and they can play there. They play in other rooms during the times when the big gym is occupied. I receive a text that my husband used his lunch hour to prepare the soup we will eat for supper, which takes one more thing off the list of tasks I must complete before bedtime.

2:35 pm I get home after making a quick trip to the grocery before coming home from work. I picked up some snacks for the family and some soft drinks for me – a vain attempt to settle my still unhappy tummy. Then I switch laundry loads around and settle down to tackle a list of things I’ve been putting off for over a week. They’re piling up. It’s time to get them done.

2:40 pm – 5:00 pm While working on other tasks, I meet my daily Swagbucks goal. The girls and I eat a snack. I respond to an email I received this morning from a blog reader who is just beginning to homeschool her son, who has chronic health issues. I call to find out what steps to take next to protect Princess Roo’s identity, which was compromised through a recent hacking attack on a health insurance company. I catch up on upcoming activities in a blogging network I belong to, and I apply/sign up for some of them. I start this blog post instead of working on one I need to publish immediately, because I’m easily distracted sometimes. ;) I return a phone call from a person who wanted me to be his literary agent, and I tell him I can’t help him. I halfway watch a show my kids are watching. I supervise the folding and putting away of the load of towels. I schedule posts for a book club I’m co-leading for other parents of special needs kids. (I’m sure I did a few more things, but I can’t remember what!) I get a lot of my list crossed off, which makes me feel better.

5:13 pm – 6:09 pm My wonderful husband heats up the soup he made at lunch, and we eat supper together. We read our daily family Bible reading and talk about the day together. My husband cleans up the kitchen while I return to working on my list. (He knows it is really bugging me, so he’s trying to help me out!)

6:09 pm – 9:47 pm My husband and BookGirl leave the house to stop by the grocery store and pick up a few things (because we obviously didn’t communicate before I stopped by the store earlier today). Hubby takes BookGirl to dance, where she will be from 6:45 pm until 9:30 pm. Hubby goes to the gym to work out and unwind from the stress of the day. While they’re gone, Princess Roo and I eat snacks, I write, and we (sort of) watch How to Train Your Dragon 2. She plays Minecraft PE, and I try to decide what’s still on my list that I can roll over to tomorrow so I can have some time to unwind and get ready to sleep earlier than I did last night. I debate a short walk on the treadmill but reject that idea because of the GI turmoil that continues. Then I change my mind and take a short, slow walk anyway. And it helps some. At least I feel like I’ve done something good for myself. I switch laundry again. Lights come out of the dryer. Darks go into the washer. While I wait for BookGirl to get home, I take my bedtime medicine and make sure Princess Roo takes hers. We work on her daily devotional together. Princess Roo and I look at a new book together, and I tuck her in. A few minutes later, BookGirl makes it home from dance.

10:00 pm Princess Roo has already been out of her room once, and I’m praying tonight won’t be a repeat of last night. Fortunately, she stays in bed and goes to sleep. My hubby, BookGirl, and I sit in the kitchen brainstorming people we can approach with the baked potato lunch fundraiser the girls’ dance studio is doing to help cover recital costs.

10:26 pm BookGirl is tucked in and is so tired that she forgets to take out her contacts. I hang up the clothes in the dark load that need to line dry, move the light clothes into a laundry basket, and put the remaining dark clothes in the dryer. Then I head to the kitchen for a big glass of water and start listening to an audiobook to help me unwind.

10:51 pm I finally head to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. I’m thankful Princess Roo is sleeping tonight, and I’m excited about an extra hour of sleep. Then I discover that the slow-draining sink in the full bath (the bathroom everyone uses) isn’t draining at all.

11:20 pm A box of baking soda and most of a gallon of white vinegar later, followed by some plunging and then cleaning out the sink,  has the water draining again, although it’s still slow. I breathe a sigh of relief and a prayer of gratitude that a call to our wonderful (no sarcasm involved; seriously, he’s amazing) plumber isn’t an absolute necessity tomorrow morning.

11:45 pm I’m a little wound up from all the plumbing drama, so I’m still listening to the audiobook and playing a game on my phone, trying to unwind and get sleepy again. It’s happening, gradually. (And yes, I know looking at a screen isn’t the best way to fall asleep, but I’m just being honest here.)

12:06 am Despite my best efforts, it’s after midnight. Again. But I’m finally going to rest for several hours. I’m hoping tomorrow is a calmer day, one that will involve more time for just hanging out with the kids, having fun doing our lessons at a slower pace (with more science and social studies), and no drama. It probably won’t play out quite that way, but I’ll dream about it anyway.

For more real schedules, check out What My Schedule Really Looks Like by the bloggers of iHomeschool Network!

What My Schedule Really Looks Like #iHSnet

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Posted in Homeschool, Parenting, Special Needs | 2 Comments

To: My Invisible Friends

To: My "Invisible" Friends - jenniferajanes.com

To: My “Invisible” Friends

I have not been ignoring you. I heard the cry of your heart when you said you felt invisible to all but your online community. I heard the anguish of needing that local connection, fellowship, and friends to walk this journey with you. I have heard this—this feeling of being invisible—from several of you over the last month. I love you so much and have felt so helpless because I am, actually, part of your online community, although I would be much, much more if we lived closer together.

I just want you to know that you are heard. You are loved, if only from afar, and from every private message, email, text message, and phone call I can send your way. I wish we lived closer so I could show you how much you mean to me and how much I value your friendship and long to spend that face-to-face time with you that you crave.

I saw a poll online today. It asked people to choose which superpower they would like to have. Invisibility was a choice. I can see the benefits of that ability, but I don’t think many people realize that being invisible brings with it a curse too. It’s that curse you’re feeling now, and I hate it. With all the challenges you’re facing (financial, job, extended family, marriage, children, health, etc.), you certainly don’t need the added stress of feeling like you’re walking the journey alone. I know a few of you also have kids with special needs, and that’s already a lonely journey.

I’m praying for you, and I don’t say that lightly. I bring you before the Father every time you come to mind, and I ask Him to reveal Himself to you in ways you cannot deny—both by ministering to your spirit and by sending people across your path who will allow you to know, like Hagar, that He is the God Who Sees. He knows where you are and what you’re going through. He is working behind the scenes on your behalf to provide everything you need, including the fellowship you so desperately long for.

I love you. If you’re traveling this direction, please let me know. I would love to meet you for tea and a chat. I’ll do the same if I’m coming your way. You are worthy of others’ love and their friendship and affection. Those in your circles right now are missing out. I enjoy every interaction we have through social media and our cell phone providers! I’m believing God is going to bring others across your path for the regular, face-to-face fellowship you desperately need.

Hang in there, and remember I’m just a phone call away.

Love,

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Posted in Life, Special Needs | 2 Comments

To the Child with Special Needs

To the Child with Special Needs - jenniferajanes.com

To the Child with Special Needs

What a ride we’ve been on together! It’s often a rocky one, but I can honestly say, despite the struggles we’ve had and the challenges we face, that I’m thankful that you’re my child, and I can’t imagine life without you.

There are a few things on my heart that I really want you to know:

I love you. Yes, there are times when I get upset and don’t handle stress or frustration well, but I LOVE YOU. Nothing can ever change that.

I’m proud of you. I have seen all the hard work you do, how you keep pushing through the therapy sessions, the pain and discomfort your body causes you, the medication regimens, the frustration and disappointment, and the anxiety that threatens to undo you, and I’m proud of your perseverance and endurance. Keep it up!

You are not a burden. While it’s true that your needs come with a high price tag, the truth is that any one of us could experience a life-changing event that would cause us to need expensive medications, therapy, etc. too. None of us are guaranteed an easy, inexpensive life. You are not a burden. We love you!

I see you. I see YOU, not a list of diagnoses, medications, and therapy sessions. I’m thankful that I get to share life with you. Those who are don’t spend a lot of time with you are missing out. You are wonderful, gifted with talents and abilities that surprise and amaze me.

I hurt. I know it sometimes seems like I don’t understand or sympathize when you’re upset about something, but the truth is I often put on a “front” when I’m helping you work through situations because it upsets you more to see me upset. But be assured, my heart aches when you’re hurting, and I cry tears you never see.

Fair isn’t equal. I know it’s hard to understand, but treating you “fairly” as compared to your sibling and other people we’re close to doesn’t mean that everything is the same. I often tell your sibling this too. You’re both individuals, and you will be treated fairly even though everything that happens may not seem “equal” to you.

I’m here for you. And I pray I will continue to be here for you, for as long as you need me to be.

Love always,

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Posted in Parenting, Special Needs | 2 Comments

Middle School Homeschool Science Made Easy

Middle School Homeschool Science Made Easy - jenniferajanes.com

Note: I received a free Basic Science Mysteries curriculum set from Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum. I was compensated for the time required to write this review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

Homeschool Science

Up to this point, teaching science to my girls has involved allowing them the freedom to explore nature and hands-on science museums to their hearts’ content. I have provided them with books, done science experiments in the kitchen with them, stopped the van to take pictures of large spiders to research with them, walked miles at state parks to look at trees and garden patches, and done actual science curriculum with them.

I have made it a point to provide my girls with living books that address science topics and have learned to make peace with the mess that comes with hands-on science exploration.

But as my older daughter gets closer to high school, I have found myself looking more and more for a company that provides solid academic resources that will be easier to count for credits than the more relaxed way we’ve done science to this point. My problem is that I haven’t found a curriculum that met our criteria or expectations—until I found Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum.

Middle School Homeschool Science Made Easy

PAC has been exactly what I wanted for my daughter. She has been working through Basic Science Mysteries this semester, and while it’s recommended for seventh grade, it has been exactly what my second semester sixth grader needs:

  • It’s a solid basic science course.
  • It is arranged so that she can work independently (although it can be used in classroom settings and is available in a digital course as well as a physical course).
  • My daughter finds it interesting and engaging.
  • It helps her improve her study skills as she prepares for quizzes and tests.

PAC Basic Science Mysteries - jenniferajanes.com

When I asked my daughter what she likes about Basic Science Mysteries from PAC, she listed:

  • She can do it on her own, only asking me questions if she needs help.
  • The fiction sections at the beginning and end of each lesson make her want to keep going to the next lesson.
  • The life principles at the end of each lesson (most are well-known quotes or sayings, sort of like proverbs, that relate to the subject of the lesson in some way while also giving a life lesson).
  • She can go at her own pace (or the pace I set for her ;) ).

Another bonus for our family (since we’re often on the go for therapy sessions and specialist appointments) is that this curriculum is so portable. Instead of one large textbook, it is divided into five smaller books that contain the text of the lesson and five smaller books that contain the lesson activities. It is also available as digital files, which are formatted as PDF and can be viewed on tablets, laptops, smartphones, etc. This is perfect for families who aren’t always at home while working on lessons.

The Teacher’s Resource Kit is laid out well, explaining different ways you can use the course and providing the quizzes, tests, answers, and additional information to use as your student works through the coursework.

I am so impressed with Basic Science Mysteries from Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum that I’m already looking into other courses they offer for now through high school. I’m liking what I see so far.

Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum Science - jenniferajanes.com

Getting PAC for Your Homeschool

I also love the prices – the entire Basic Science Mysteries curriculum costs less than $100 (physical products) and less than $40 for the digital products alone! And I love PAC’s heart for people who might struggle to pay for the curriculum.

Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum offers these discounts:

40% off for

  • homeschool groups (minimum purchase $1000)
  • single parents

20%  off for

  • ministry families
  • military families
  • farmers and ranchers
  • first responders
  • foster parents

All you have to do is call Paradigm at 325-649-0976 for a discount code to use during the checkout process if you fit into one of these categories.

 Connect with PAC

Have questions or just want to see what Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum is doing? Follow them on:

Posted in Homeschool, Homeschool Curriculum Reviews, Review, Special Needs | 3 Comments

4 Tips for Homeschooling When It’s Not Fun

4 Tips for Homeschooling When It's Not Fun - jenniferajanes.com

Spring is nowhere in sight. In fact, we’re watching a winter storm move into our area right now. Summer is even farther away, but we’ve got some spring fever – or something. More days than not, my kids and I are struggling with feeling motivated to sit down and get to work. My younger daughter is struggling with her school work more than usual because of some neurological “glitches” (it will get better, but we don’t know when), and my older daughter is physically tired and wants nothing more than to curl up in bed with a good book, napping when she gets tired. It happens almost every year about this time, and when it hits, homeschooling isn’t fun. What do we do?

4 Tips for Homeschooling When It’s Not Fun

Here are some ideas for getting through the “not fun” times of homeschooling:

  • Take a break. Sometimes a break is called for, and that’s okay. One of the huge benefits of homeschooling is the flexibility. If you take spring break early, or just a mental health day every once in a while, you can catch up later in the year, on Saturdays, or not at all if you homeschool almost year-round and are already ahead of the game. Sometimes stepping away from it to rest and recharge is exactly what’s needed to return refreshed and with renewed interest.
  • Make changes. Look at what you’re doing. Is the curriculum still working? Have you quit doing the engaging hands-on activities your kids enjoyed so much at the beginning of the school year? Do they need something more challenging, or has the work gotten too hard? Taking a good look at your curriculum and activities may reveal some changes you can make that will improve the energy level in your homeschool.
  • Play. If you’re just experiencing burnout and don’t really need a full break or significant changes to what you’re doing, take a few days to focus on learning through play. Read books to one another and independently, listen to audiobooks, play card games and board games, spend lots of time in the kitchen baking goodies for friends and neighbors, go outside and make snowmen (if you have snow ;) ), watch movies or documentaries everyone is interested in seeing, allow lots of time for creative play (play dough, blocks, drawing, painting, etc.), encourage time for imaginative play, and just have fun together. It’s amazing how much your kids will learn while playing—without even realizing it!
  • Keep going. Part of living the homeschooling life is being disciplined enough to get the work done. Sometimes you just know that everything is okay except for some spring fever (or maybe cabin fever) and that you need to be disciplined and push through. Our feelings are not always a reliable indicator of what’s really going on. Sometimes if we keep doing what we’re doing, our feelings will follow our actions.

What are your best tips for homeschooling when it’s not fun?

Posted in Homeschool, Special Needs | 2 Comments

If You’re Ready to Give Up . . .

If You're Ready to Give Up - jenniferajanes.com

If You’re Ready to Give Up . . .

Last week began with our “new normal” schedule, with a little visit to my family doctor thrown in on Monday afternoon. I wanted to talk with him about a little list of things that were bugging me, and the visit went well until the last item on my list. The next thing I knew, I was sitting in his scheduler’s office, getting an appointment for an echocardiogram. That happened the next day, and the results were good. (Hallelujah!)

But on Monday night I started a new medicine, and to say that my body had to do some getting used to it is an understatement. It was a difficult time because I felt really bad, and my family had to bear with me through the transition.

I got all my hours in at work and headed out of town with Princess Roo on Thursday evening. We spent an interesting night there because she wasn’t allowed to sleep for more than four hours. Friday morning we headed to Children’s for her EEG and neurology appointment, then drove home.

Saturday we all slept late and got some much-needed rest. And then I found two chipped teeth. I have no idea how or when it happened, but it’s done. Today was full of church and volunteer activities related to the children’s ministry.

And then there’s everything else: financial pressure, the need to get our tax paperwork ready for the CPA, the possibility of a winter storm rolling in (ice!), and the list goes on and on and on.

I know you’ve got a list too. We all do. I’ve struggled a lot the past week with fear, anxiety, and being weary of the fight. I’ve been ready to give up. I’m tired of trying to figure it out on my own – because I can’t. I can’t fix everything that needs fixing in my life.

Then I remembered some things that really resonated with me last month and realized that maybe I need them more now than I did then. I’m recording them here, thinking that they may encourage you to hope again too.

And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.

Galatians 6:9 AMP

God can take the seemingly impossible and make it possible. Keep praying.

From a Facebook Meme

Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

For from of old no one has heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who works and shows Himself active on behalf of him who [earnestly] waits for Him.

Isaiah 64:4 AMP

I’m waiting earnestly. Won’t you wait with me, doing the next right thing as it presents itself? We will get through this.

Posted in Homeschool, Life, Parenting, Special Needs | 5 Comments

Periodic Table Chemistry Game for Homeschool Families

Periodic Table Chemistry Game for Homeschool Families - jenniferajanes.com

Disclaimer: I received a free download of the Atomidoodle app from Hero Factor Games. I was compensated for the time I spent working on this review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review. This post may contain affiliate links.

Learning the Periodic Table – My Problem

It’s time for a homeschool mom confession: When it comes to science, I do really well at life sciences. Plants and animals, the study of the human body, those are easy for me. I found chemistry and physics intimidating and more difficult when I was in school, and that hasn’t changed. I get really stressed when I think about covering some of the subjects that I found especially hard. And explaining the periodic table? Terrifying.

But my older daughter is headed towards junior high, so it’s time to face my fears and get more serious about tackling the physical sciences, including the periodic table. And I found a solution to that problem: the Atomidoodle app from Hero Factor Games.

Atomidoodle from Hero Factor Games - The Solution 

Atomidoodle is the answer to helping my daughter become familiar with the periodic table. It’s visually appealing, which was a pleasant surprise when we opened the app for the first time, and it’s something I continue to enjoy. The title screen is beautiful, and the game itself looks like graph paper with hand-sketched lines—a virtual science notebook!

Atomidoodle periodic table Hero Factor Games

The game requires you to “build” different elements by using the fission and fusion widgets to get the correct number of protons for the various elements (it also explains fission and fusion), and each level has a challenge to complete. When you finish the challenge, you unlock a new element on your periodic table. You can return to the periodic table as often as desired, and clicking on an unlocked element reveals information about that element.

Atomidoodle periodic table elements chemistry

The thing I love about all of this is that Atomidoodle is educational in more ways than one! When my daughter plays it, she gets:

  • An introduction to the elements of the periodic table.
  • Addition and division practice.
  • Chemistry facts presented throughout the game.
  • Practice applying problem solving skills—you have to quickly decide which path the atoms need to take to meet the challenge and act before the atoms head the wrong way.
  • Fun! The problem-solving and challenges make Atomidoodle as much a puzzle game as a chemistry game, which keeps my daughter interested and returning to the game regularly.

periodic table elements Atomidoodle

Another thoughtful plus: The app has three “notebooks,” which means that my older daughter, younger daughter, and I each have a place to play where we won’t disturb someone else’s progress.

Take a look for yourself:

Hero Factor Games has created a beautiful and engaging way for kids to practice math skills and learn the periodic table. We’ll be using this to supplement our science lessons for a long time.

Atomidoodle for YOUR Family

You can join the fun by getting the Atomidoodle app on iTunes for $1.99 or on Google Play for $2.00.

More from Hero Factor Games

Love Atomidoodle like we do? Connect with Hero Factor Games for information about more great products! You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google +.

Posted in Homeschool, Review, Software Review | 2 Comments

Becoming a Working Homeschool Mom

Becoming a Working Homeschool Mom - jenniferajanes.com

Becoming a Working Homeschool Mom

I have worked from home for years, and that will continue as I work to build my freelance writing business. But that isn’t consistent income, generally, and with the bills piling up, I’ve prayed that God would make a way. And suddenly, last week, volunteering two hours a week became a job offer for up to ten hours a week as an office assistant. It’s certainly not the answer to all of our financial concerns, but every little bit helps, and we’re grateful for it. We are accepting it as an answer to prayer, but that means some big changes in our home.

Since we’ll be out of the house for at least ten more hours a week, we’re having to work together as a family and look at everything. We’re having to look at how and when we’ll get the girls’ lessons done, and when things like dishes, cleaning, laundry, and even showers will occur with our new schedule. We haven’t removed anything from our schedule. Therapy sessions, specialist appointments, weekly infusions, homeschool co-op classes, freelance writing, maintaining the blog—they’re all still happening. What’s also happening is a complete reevaluation of our family priorities and reorganizing our days to make sure that what’s truly important is what we’re spending our time on.

We’re just figuring out my being a working homeschool mom, but here are some things my family is doing to make the transition easier:

  • Be intentional. As I mentioned earlier, we’re looking at a list of what we do every week, setting priorities, and deliberately choosing activities each day that will allow us to keep those as priorities and help us reach our goals, both individually and as a family.
  • Be flexible. The girls are having to accept that we’re going to have a different schedule and won’t be able to do things the way we’ve been doing them. I’m thankful for the flexibility that homeschooling provides too. It means that we can do lessons early in the morning or in the evening as well as during the day, and we can even catch up on weekends, if necessary.
  • Be a team. We all need to work together to make this new schedule work. Laundry, dishes, meal preparation, and other household duties will go much more quickly if we all work together to make them happen.
  • Sleep. It has become evident very quickly that I’m going to have to give up my night owl ways if I’m going to be able to stick to the new schedule. The girls are going to have to get used to having an earlier bedtime too. I know we will adjust soon, but in the meantime, we need the extra rest as we get used to the new routine.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but I would love for you to add your tips for working homeschool moms (me!) in the comments. I’ll add an update later if I come up with anything brilliant. ;)

While doing an online search, I did come across some good advice for working homeschool moms—from different perspectives:

 

Posted in Family, Homeschool, Parenting, Special Needs | 22 Comments

Get Your Joy Back by Laurie Wallin {Review}

Get Your Joy Back by Laurie Wallin {Review} - jenniferajanes.com

I received a free copy of Get Your Joy Back from Laurie Wallin and Litfuse Publicity Group as part of the book’s launch team and the Litfuse blog tour. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a review, much less a positive one.

*This is a re-post with added information for the Litfuse blog tour.

Get Your Joy Back by Laurie Wallin

Get Your Joy Back: Banishing Resentment and Reclaiming Confidence in Your Special Needs Family by Laurie Wallin is the first nonfiction book I have ever read in one day. When I started it, I couldn’t put it down. Laurie shares practical wisdom and hope for special needs families like she’s sitting across from you in a coffee shop, a combination of life coach and best friend. As I read her tips for dealing with the negative situations that come with being the parent of a child with special needs, I could feel tension and stress I didn’t realize was there easing out of my neck and shoulders. I will return to this book again and again to help me learn to live a better life, one of forgiveness, grace, and joy.

Laurie admits to the negative feelings special needs parents have—about our spouses, our children, and ourselves—and she does it in a way that is refreshing and brings great relief to the reader. We are not alone in our struggles, in our emotional state, and in our desire to do more than survive this life. With a sense of humor and wisdom borne of experience, Laurie offers us a different way, one of forgiveness that will allow us to live a life of joy and thrive despite our circumstances.

Get Your Joy Back has restored my hope that things can be different—better. While the path toward restoration through forgiveness isn’t easy, it is doable.

About the book:

Get Your Joy Back book coverAn invitation and a promise for weary Christian parents of special needs kids from a parent who’s been there.

It isn’t the long day of monitoring a child’s precarious health or being hypervigilant about her mood and mental health challenges that weighs parents down; it’s the wishing that things were different. . . . Resentment, not the intense care they must provide their child, is the parents’ greatest stressor and source of pain.” —Laurie WallinParents of specials needs children are exhausted. They’ve done all the research, consulted all the experts, joined support groups, gotten counseling, fought for the best life for their children. Often just caring for their children’s needs and attempting to maintain a home maxes out parents’ mental, emotional, and spiritual reserves.

Laurie Wallin knows firsthand the difficulties of this journey. With Get Your Joy Back, she steps forward to make a bold, audacious claim: in the midst of this long-term, intense task, it is still possible to have an abundant life, full of joy. The key to radically changing daily life and restoring joy to the weary is forgiveness. Wallin gives parents a lifeline to find that restoration, pulling them back to shore when they feel like they’re drowning.

This book is full of practical, biblical insights and strategies to shed the resentments that leave Christian special-needs parents themselves spiritually, emotionally, and socially drained. Wallin meets readers right where they are, sugar coating nothing, but addressing issues with honesty, humor, and—above all—hope.

Read an excerpt: http://bit.ly/GetYourJoyBackExcerpt

About the author:

Laurie Wallin headshotLaurie Wallin strives every day to live out her message for families: that no matter the challenge, in Jesus they can have joy and confidence. She is mom to four girls, two of them with mental and developmental special needs. She has been a certified life coach for over a decade, and is a regular speaker at women’s events and retreats, a popular blogger, and the author of Why Your Weirdness Is Wonderful.

Find Laurie online: website, Facebook, Twitter

You can find out more on Laurie Wallin’s website and on the Litfuse Publicity Group landing page for the blog tour.

Posted in Book Reviews, Review, Special Needs | Leave a comment

Looking Back: My Favorite Special Needs Posts from 2014

Looking Back: My Favorite Special Needs Posts from 2014 - jenniferajanes.com

Looking Back: My Favorite Special Needs Posts from 2014

A few weeks ago, I shared my most popular posts from 2014 as chosen by you, the reader. Today I’m going to share a list of my personal favorites from last year. Some posts appear on both lists, but some stand alone on my list. I’ll present a link to each one along with a brief explanation of why it’s one of my favorites from 2014.

  • Why My Child Almost Failed Kindergarten – And Yours Doesn’t Have To – I never imagined that one of my children would come dangerously close to failing kindergarten, especially when there were no indications that there were any issues. I shared our story with the hope that other parents won’t miss some of the signs that would have led us to seek help earlier.
  • To the Sibling of a Child with Special Needs – This post means a lot to me because I wrote it straight from the heart to my older daughter.
  • 10 Things I Learned on Our First Family Mission Trip – Our first mission trip as a family was only for a few days, and it was in-state, but it was more difficult than I had anticipated, and I learned a lot.
  • When the Seemingly Bad is Good – I struggle to remember that God is in control and that He uses everything for good in my life. This was made very clear to me during a difficult incident as we were preparing to leave for one of Princess Roo’s specialist appointments.
  • How My Small yes Changed My Family in a BIG Way – I made a decision when I was pregnant with my second child that has changed my family in ways I could never have foreseen. And it all started with one word: yes. This is a very personal story, and there’s a link to a follow-up to this post at the end.
  • To the Special Needs Mom Who is DONE – I wrote this when I had spoken to too many moms in a week’s time who were struggling and ready to quit. I was hurting for these women I love so much – for the woman I have been at times myself.
  •  Special Needs Homeschooling is Not School at Home – When I began homeschooling, I had no idea what homeschooling looked like, and I certainly didn’t know what special needs homeschooling should look like. By education and profession, all I knew was public schools. Here’s what I’ve learned in the years since I began teaching my own children at home.
  • To the Parent Struggling with Your Child’s Diagnosis – Because I have struggled with diagnoses too—and how they affect my view of my child.
  • How I Juggle Special Needs Parenting and Homeschooling – I am often asked how I balance everything. The truth is that I don’t do it well all the time, but there are some tips I use to maintain what’s left of my sanity, and they’re included here. I re-read this post occasionally when I feel that I’m veering off track.
  • 100 Resources for Special Needs Parenting and Homeschooling – I created this post as a starting place for parents who are looking for places to find out more about special needs parenting and homeschooling. These include personal stories from other parents—and none of them are from my blog (although I did include a list of links to my posts at the bottom as a bonus).

If you’re interested in seeing what top bloggers have chosen as their favorite blog posts from 2014, check out these amazing lists from the bloggers of iHomeschool Network—and be sure to Pin them to read for later and share them on social media if you find something you especially like!

My Favorite Posts from 2014 - iHomeschool Network

Posted in Blogging, Homeschool, Parenting, Special Needs | 2 Comments