Becoming a Working Homeschool Mom

Becoming a Working Homeschool Mom -

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 | 8 Comments

Get Your Joy Back by Laurie Wallin {Review}

Get Your Joy Back by Laurie Wallin {Review} -

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:

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 -

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 | Leave a comment

Waiting for a Diagnosis for Your Child with Special Needs

Waiting for a Diagnosis for Your Child with Special Needs -

Waiting for a Diagnosis for Your Child with Special Needs

(Note: This isn’t about whether you should or shouldn’t seek a diagnosis for your child. I shared my thoughts on that topic here.)

My daughter has already received a lengthy list of diagnoses, but I’ve spent the last two weeks recording her temperature, trying to help her avoid hypothermia, researching possible reasons why her body temperature is so low, and waiting to hear back from her immunologist about the next steps we’ll take. Despite all the diagnoses we’ve gotten over the years, the overarching probable genetic diagnosis is still elusive, and there are other issues we’re dealing that have led to some neurological testing. (One test was done on New Year’s Eve. The other will be in February.) We’re making some unexpected trips back to a specialty we thought we wouldn’t have to see again. The waiting to figure out if we’re dealing with another diagnosis or just a benign issue is hard.

If you’re in the process of looking for answers for your child, you are not alone. I’ve been on this journey for almost a decade, and there’s no end in sight. The waiting is hard, and it can go on for the foreseeable future. How do you deal with the waiting and the questions?

Here are some things I’ve learned:

  • The process takes time. Diagnoses do not come as quickly and easily as the movies and TV would have us believe. It’s a long, involved process, and we may never really get the answers we seek. Even if we do, getting testing and evaluations scheduled and the results back takes a while—sometimes months or even years.
  • You have to advocate for your child. You know your child better than anyone. Don’t let a professional belittle you and tell you nothing is wrong with your child with a cursory examination and a curt dismissal. If you feel something is wrong, find another professional who will listen to you and give your child a thorough examination so that your mind can be at ease one way or the other.
  • You need support. You need friends to walk with you through this. Find them in your community or online. Even while you wait for answers, it helps to have someone come alongside and listen to you while you talk through and process everything that’s going on. If someone can attend appointments with you, that’s even better. An extra set of ears to hear what the specialists are telling you, to ask any questions that may not occur to you at the moment, and to confirm that you heard what you thought you heard (or to clarify something you misunderstood) is priceless.
  • Don’t forget to enjoy life. When your child is going through testing and evaluations, it’s easy to become consumed in researching possible diagnoses and treatments. When you allow the diagnosis process to take over your every waking thought, you miss what’s right in front of you: precious moments with your child, family, and friends. You won’t ever get those moments back, so do what you can each day to get answers for your child, and then set it aside and enjoy the gift that is today.

What tips do you have for dealing with the waiting period that comes with seeking a diagnosis for your child?

Related articles:

Posted in Parenting, Special Needs | 6 Comments

7 Life Skills Kids Can Learn through Board Games

7 Life Skills Kids Can Learn through Board Games -

*Disclosure: I am a Better Beginnings brand ambassador. I get paid to write an article for them once a month, but the best thing is that I get to learn, and in turn share with you, great information about how kids learn and helping them learn through play. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I believe in the mission of Better Beginnings – quality early education for all.

7 Life Skills Kids Can Learn through Board Games

Working on life skills with my younger daughter is as critical as helping her with academic subjects because she has some developmental delays. What I didn’t realize until recently, however, is that the concept of “life skills” goes far beyond what I thought.

I’m working my way through the book Mind in the Making by Ellen Galinsky, and she defines the seven essential life skills as

  • Focus and self-control
  • Perspective taking
  • Communicating
  • Making connections
  • Critical thinking
  • Taking on challenges
  • Self-directed, engaged learning

As I read the explanations and studies in the book, as I think about how to apply this with my children, I realize with relief that most of these can be accomplished through play. More specifically, I see ways that I have already begun to help my kids develop these skills through board games. We haven’t arrived, but with board game introductions, I think we’ll lay a foundation for these skills that we can build on in other play settings as well as real situations.

Wondering what this looks like at my house?

  1. Focus and self-control. This one is tough, but it’s something we really work on with board games. My little one has been known to try to change the rules or throw a fit when she’s not winning. It is a real exercise in self-control to keep her engaged throughout the game—and to help her manage her emotions in an age-appropriate and socially acceptable way. This self-control thing is necessary both when she wins and when she loses.
  2. Perspective taking. Since reading nonverbal cues and understanding social interactions is an area where my daughter struggles, we do a lot of work on looking at a situation from someone else’s perspective. This is pretty easy to do during board games, when the players find themselves in similar situations at various times during the game. For instance, when she’s tempted to gloat when she sends another player back several spaces, I can ask her how she felt when she had to go back earlier in the game. It makes it a little easier for her to imagine how someone else feels and adjust her responses accordingly.
  3. Communicating. We can work on communicating during board games both by moving perspective taking a step further, helping my daughter think through how her actions are perceived by others and talking about what message she wants to send to her fellow players. But it can also apply to her literal communication. She struggles with expressive language disorder, so games that involve describing something for others to guess are very difficult but also give her much-needed practice in a safe environment.
  4. Making connections. I love it when my girls begin to see patterns or similarities and differences while we play board games. It’s amazing to see their eyes light up and have them begin to talk excitedly about the realization. After playing a lot of board games on Christmas break a few years ago, my younger daughter made the connection between subtraction, which was very difficult for her at the time, and having to move backward on the board. Once she made that connection, it was a lot easier to move forward in math!
  5. Critical thinking. One of my favorite games that involves a lot of problem solving and critical thinking is Clue. The girls get wrapped up in the mystery, but there’s so much to figure out while playing that game. It’s a great brain exercise. I have also found games like Monopoly are good for critical thinking about values and belief systems and lend well to discussions about finances, using financial resources wisely, greed, and making wise choices. (Of course, the game is all in fun, but it doesn’t hurt to look at motives while we’re at it.)
  6. Taking on challenges. This is a hard one for my younger daughter, who really hates to fail. Almost any game that really stretches her, where she’s not guaranteed success, gives her an opportunity to challenge herself and learn how to handle her feelings (see #1). These include Twister (physically challenging), Hedbanz (challenges her communication skills), Operation or Kerplunk (fine motor skills), What’s in Ned’s Head? (sensory integration), and Guess Who? (thinking skills).
  7. Self-directed, engaged learning. When my kids get to choose the games we play, they are much more focused, try harder, and are more open to any discussions we have during the game, whether they’re about life in general or specifically related to the game and what’s going on there. I really want to instill a love of learning in my kids so they will be able to tackle any challenge that comes their way. Learning more about how they think and what they really enjoy helps me give them more and more opportunities for learning. (It never hurts to scatter books, toys, and games they’ll love around the house, does it?)

How do you see your kids learning through board games? In what other ways do you see yourself helping your kids develop these life skills?

Better Beginnings has the amazing resource 10 Things Every Parent Should Know about Play available to you FREE in the Better Beginnings Resource Library. There’s a lot more going on during play than we realize!

If you’re in Arkansas and need child care, please consider a Better Beginnings provider. They have fun, hands-on educational activities for every child!

Other articles in the Learning Through Play series:

Back to Basics: Learning Through Play -

Posted in Autism, Homeschool, Parenting, Sensory Processing Disorder, Special Needs | 9 Comments

Readers’ Choice: My Top 10 Most Popular Posts from 2014

Readers' Choice My Top 10 Most Popular Posts from 2014 -

Readers’ Choice: My Top 10 Most Popular Posts from 2014

Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed the holiday season as much as I did. I spent most of the last two weeks with my husband and children, enjoying laughter, good movies and books, and fun conversations. There was also a trip to Children’s Hospital for an MRI under sedation, but we didn’t let that slow us down. We visited with family and friends while we were in Little Rock.

I have spent a lot of time thinking and praying about my writing too, planning for 2015. During that time, I took a look back at last year, and I was interested to see what YOU thought were my best posts of 2014.

Whether you’re new here or you just missed a couple of them, there’s sure to be something in this list that you haven’t seen before or have forgotten about. (I had forgotten that I wrote some of these last year!)

Here, in order from least to most popular, are my top ten most popular posts of 2014, chosen by YOU!

10. 10 Sensory Integration Activities for Your Homeschool Day

9. Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2014-15 (4th and 6th grades)

8. 10 Things You Should Know about Homeschooling a Child with Special Needs

7. How My Small yes Changed My Family in a BIG Way

6. To the Parent Struggling with Your Child’s Diagnosis

5. Why My Child Almost Failed Kindergarten – And Yours Doesn’t Have To

4. Our Homeschool Room 2014-15

3. To the Special Needs Mom Who is DONE

2. Is It Sensory or Is It Behavior? {Workshop Re-Cap}

1. To the Sibling of a Child with Special Needs

Thank you for making 2014 the best one so far. I’m looking forward to journeying through 2015 with you!

What posts did you miss from other favorite bloggers? Check out the other top ten lists from the bloggers of iHomeschool Network!

My Top 10 Most Popular Posts from 2014 - iHomeschool Network

Posted in Blogging, Homeschool, Parenting, Special Needs | Leave a comment

To the (Desperate) Special Needs Parent at Christmas

To the (Desperate) Special Needs Parent at Christmas -

To the (Desperate) Special Needs Parent at Christmas

Merry Christmas! Or maybe it doesn’t seem that merry. Maybe you’re dealing with a child who struggles with a chronic illness (who has an acute one on top of that), a child on the spectrum who is completely off-kilter because of the changes in routine the holidays bring, or you’re ready for a major break from homeschooling a child with learning disabilities. (Oh, wait. Those are all my child, but your situation is tough, and you know every detail. It’s even disrupting your sleep.)

Finances are beyond tight. You’re looking at stacks of bills that you don’t know how you’ll pay, and more roll in each week, including ones involving situations you thought you’d already resolved.

You’re exhausted, and you’re just not feeling Christmas this year. Maybe you put up a tree and stockings. Maybe you didn’t. Either way, your heart’s just not in it. Some days you’re okay with just going through the motions, and other days you feel like it makes you a terrible parent that you’re struggling when your kids are so excited. But really, all the perseverating over gifts and activities related to Christmas, on top of all the usual drama you deal with, is wearing you down. You are done. You are over it. You just want to give the kids their gifts and go hide somewhere until Christmas and New Year’s are over.

You are not alone. You are not a terrible person. You can’t help the way you feel. Sometimes you just can’t get into the spirit of the season. And that’s okay. There are others of us feeling the same way.

And sometimes, just like God sent Immanuel (God with us) on that Christmas so long ago, He sends an angel just when you need it. He sent one to me last night.

I was waiting at the pharmacy with my girls. We had been waiting almost an hour to pick up some prescriptions that my younger daughter needs before Christmas. My kids were tired and hungry, and it didn’t look like we were getting out of there anytime soon. I was exhausted, and I didn’t know how much longer I could maintain some semblance of sanity.

Then a woman I have a budding friendship with walked by with her daughter. I admired her new hairstyle and highlights, and my younger daughter and hers eyed one another with interest. She asked how we were doing, and I expressed some frustration with the long wait. As they went to finish their shopping, I popped off and said, “Why don’t you take her (my younger daughter) with you tonight, and you can bring her back to me in the morning for therapy.”

She didn’t flinch, she didn’t get that “deer in the headlights” look that people get when they realize what taking care of my daughter for a night would entail: special dietary needs, medications, constant handwashing to reduce the risk of infections, heading off meltdowns, dealing with sensory issues, all of it. She just said, “Okay. I’ll dose her up and put her to bed with mine!”

Her daughter is medically complicated and a bit of a medical mystery like mine. She isn’t rattled by daily regimens that include watching for tics and possible seizure activity, administering medication, getting to therapy appointments, and everything else that goes with having a child with special needs. Her nonchalance about the whole situation touched a place deep inside me that I didn’t know needed to be reached.

It didn’t work out for an impromptu sleepover last night, but the girls do want to get to know one another, and the mom and I are willing to give it a try. A moment of desperation and transparency between two special needs moms has become a possibility of new friendships for both my daughter and for me.

Only God can orchestrate something like that. He is Immanuel, and He knows exactly what we need, when we need it.

God sets the lonely in families. . . . Psalm 68:6 (NIV)

Merry Christmas from my family to yours. You are not alone. We are part of the same family, and you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Other posts you may be interested in:


Posted in Family, Parenting, Special Needs | 5 Comments

Tricia Goyer Christmas Reading List

Tricia Goyer Christmas Reading List -

*I received free copies of the three books mentioned in this review from Tricia Goyer and Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

Tricia Goyer Christmas Reading List

BookGirl and I really enjoyed all three of the Christmas novels by Tricia Goyer and other authors. I was pleasantly surprised that BookGirl wanted to read them too, but I shouldn’t have been. She’s a voracious reader. It was so much fun to swap off books and discuss them together as we finished reading them.

A Christmas Gift for Rose by Tricia Goyer

I was excited about reading A Christmas Gift for Rose from the time I found out that it was inspired by a true story. It’s the story of a young Amish woman who has rejected the man she loves because he went against the rules of their Amish community and helped the Englisch during World War II. As she tries to work through the fact that she still loves him, she discovers that she was adopted into her family and is an Englischer herself. In her mind, that changes everything, and she begins an entirely different process that involves changing the way she views herself—and the man she loves.

The story, while simple in concept, kept both my daughter and me wanting to turn the pages. We both read it quickly, and we couldn’t stop until we were finished. Rose’s journey of self-discovery and learning her community’s secrets are an amazing read, and the ending is very satisfying. (Warning: I needed tissues to get through the ending. ;) )

An Amish Second Christmas by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Ruth Reid, and Tricia Goyer

An Amish Second Christmas is the book that BookGirl couldn’t wait to get her hands on first. She read it quickly, and when it was my turn, I could see why. The book contains four novellas that revolve around Amish Second Christmas and celebrate the romances blooming between four young Amish couples. The four novellas are: When Christmas Comes Again, Her Christmas Pen Pal, A Gift for Anne Marie, and The Christmas Aprons. (BookGirl liked A Gift for Anne Marie best. I haven’t been able to pick a favorite, although Her Christmas Pen Pal and The Christmas Aprons are running neck and neck.)

If you like Amish romances filled with Christmas spirit, you will enjoy this collection. The novellas are full of situations that keep the stories moving quickly, and they are quite different from what I expected to see in Amish novellas—not boring at all! I enjoyed how different all the romances were. This was important to me because I hate to feel like I’m reading the same thing over and over again. I also like how God’s love, goodness, and grace are prominent in each one in a gentle way, not in a way that is preachy.

Where Treetops Glisten by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman, and Sarah Sundin

Where Treetops Glisten moves away from the Amish community to connect readers with an Englisch family during World War II. This book contains three stories: White ChristmasI’ll Be Home for Christmas, and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Unlike An Amish Second Christmas, which consists of stand alone stories, Where Treetops Glisten’s stories can be read individually but are connected because they all deal with members of the same family and refer to events that are explained in the other stories, which leads to a unique reading experience that I really enjoyed.

Where Treetops Glisten follows a group of siblings from their Indiana hometown all the way to the Netherlands. They deal with betrayals, loss, pain, and rejection. They have great faith in God and in His care and provision for them, even in the midst of pain, but they are definitely tested as they walk through the situations that World War II brings to their family. In the end, not only does God see them through, but He brings them love in the middle of it all.

*          *          *

If you’re looking for some great books to add to your Christmas reading list this year, consider one (or all!) of these books by Tricia Goyer. The stories are heartwarming reads that have already brightened the season for my daughter and me, and I think they can do the same for you.

Posted in Book Reviews, Christmas, Review | Leave a comment

100 Resources for Special Needs Parenting and Homeschooling

100 Resources for Special Needs Parenting and Homeschooling -

100 Resources for Special Needs Parenting and Homeschooling

This list of resources for special needs parenting and homeschooling isn’t meant to be exhaustive. It’s a collection of links I’ve found that are both informative and helpful. I hope that it blesses you and gives you a starting point for your own research as well as encouragement for the journey.

Special Needs Parenting

1. Embracing My Son’s Autism: A Dad’s Perspective

2. I’d Have It No Other Way

3. Making a Way in the Wilderness: Marriage and Special Needs

4. 5 Ways Our Special Needs Child Strengthened Our Marriage (and How We Stayed Together)

5. The Profile of the Special Needs Family

6. Understanding the Financial Needs of a Special Needs Family (and how YOU can help!)

7. Life as a Special Needs Dad

8. Our Journey with Tube Feeding: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

9. Parenting a Child with PIDD

10. Dark House of Hope (PDD-NOS)

11. Etched Upon My Heart Forever (Down Syndrome)

12. Yes, Jaundice Can Do That (Kernicterus)

13. A Special Needs Mom with Special Needs

14. Encouragement for the Pregnant Special Needs Mom

15. We Called Him Superman: A Decision for Special Needs Adoption

16. Ezra’s Story: Not quite “typical” . . . not quite “special” (for the mom of the undiagnosed child)

17. In His Hands (4 lessons learned from adopting older special needs children)

18. The Challenges and Blessings of Parenting Special Needs Children with a Chronic Condition

19. Shea’s Story (on being a single special needs mom)

20. Dialogue: What TO Say – and What NOT to Say – to Special Needs Parents

21. Special Needs and Community: How Walls are Built

22. Bridging the Gap

23. Special Needs Moms: Are You Special or Just Like Other Moms?

24. Community in the Midst of Special Needs

25. What is Normal?

26. Coping with Family Discord as a Result of Your Child with Special Needs

27. 5 Practical Tips for Successful (and Joyful!) Playdates with a Special Needs Child

28. 25 Ways for Special Needs Parents to Recharge and Reach Out

29. Good Things About Being a Special Needs Mom

30. You Might Be a Special Needs Mom If . . .

31. Love Notes to Special Needs Moms

32. Finding Hope When Your Child Has Special Needs

33. 15 Things Being a Mom of a Special Needs Child Is and Isn’t

34. The Blessing of Being a Special Needs Mom

35. Moms: You Choose Love

36. 15 Superpowers of Special Needs Moms

37. When Church Hurts

38. How to Start a Special Needs Ministry

39. 7 Ways Churches Can Love on Children with Special Needs

40. Confessions of a Special Needs Dad: The Pain of Losing My Son

41. 6 Secrets of Strong Special Needs Dads

42. 7 Things You Didn’t Know about a Special Needs Dad

43. 11 Things a Special Needs Dad Wants You to Know

44. 3 Ways to Make Your Marriage a Priority in a Special Needs Family

45. Staying United: Marriage and Special Needs

46. Is Happy Marriage Possible for Parents of Special Needs?

47. How to Take Care of Your Marriage When You Have a Child with Special Needs

48. Marriage with a Special Needs Child

49. Dining Out with Special Needs Kids

50. 11 Special Needs Parent New Year’s Resolutions

51. Navigating Disney with a Special Needs Child

52. A Comprehensive Guide to Special Needs Travel

53. The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide for Children with Special Needs

54. Ten Steps to Living (a Good) Life Between Doctor Appointments

55. Self-Care for Special Needs Parents

56. When Your Special Needs Child Asks Why They Are Disabled

57. Pass the Pull-Ups Please . . . The Secret to Potty Training . . . not really

58. Resources for Parents of Children with Autism

59. 5 Tips to Reduce Sensory Meltdowns During the Holidays

60. Is it REALLY Sensory Processing Issues?

61. Is it Behavior or Sensory Problems?

62. Tips for Dealing with Family Members with ADHD

63. How Our Autistic Son Finally Learned to Ride a Bike

 Special Needs Homeschooling

64. Homeschooling Special Needs Children – It IS Possible! Our Story

65. Dyslexia: Spelling Tips for Struggling Spellers

66. Special Needs Homeschooling at Pea of Sweetness

67. Special Needs Homeschooling – the blog by Heather Laurie

68. Labor of Love: How to Homeschool an ADHD Child

69. Reasons to Consider: Should I Homeschool My ADHD Child?

70. Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Artistic Children

71. You CAN Homeschool an ADHD Child

72. Homeschooling the ADHD Child at Ben and Me

73. Homeschooling a Child with Special Needs at Lemon Lime Adventures

74. 2012 Top Homeschool Special Needs Blogs

75. How to Combine Homeschooling and Special Needs Therapies (Without Losing Your Mind)

76. Homeschooling for Free and Frugal: Affording to Homeschool a Special Needs Child

77. Special Needs Homeschooling: An Adjustment in Expectations

78. Don’t Give Up! Homeschooling Encouragement with a Special Needs Child

79. 31 Days of Special Needs Homeschool Pinterest Hacks

80. 31 Days of Homeschooling on the Autism Spectrum

81. Top Ten Wednesday: Best Special Needs Blogs

82. ADHD Homeschooling at Look . . . We’re Learning!

83. Homeschooling Special Needs Students on YouTube – recording of iHomeschool Network Hangout

84. Special Needs Pinterest Board – Deb Chitwood

85. Education | Special Needs Pinterest Board – Stephanie of Harrington Harmonies

86. iHN Special Needs Homeschooling Pinterest Board – iHomeschool Network

87. What is Sensory Processing?

88. Why School is Hard for Kids with ADHD – and How You Can Help

89. Resources for Homeschooling and Special Needs

90. Benefits of Homeschooling a Child with Autism

91. Why Eclectic Homeschooling Works for My Son with Autism

92. 10 Things We Did to Encourage a Struggling Reader

93. Teaching Kids with Anxiety

94. Tips for Homeschooling a Child with Dyslexia

95. Establishing Homeschool Routines for Your Child with ADHD

96. Using Visual Schedules in Your Homeschool

97. 10 Reasons Why You Should Homeschool Your Kids with Dyslexia

98. Tips for Encouraging the Struggling Learner

99. Homeschooling with Dyslexia: What to Expect

100. Homeschooling with Dyslexia: How Dyslexics Learn

Bonus: Experience Dyslexia (dyslexia simulations)

If you’ve looked through very many of the links above, you’ve noticed that none of them point you to the articles I’ve written here, on my blog. I did that intentionally, to give you as much help as possible from a lot of different people and viewpoints. But if you’re interested, I’ll list some of my most popular posts. Start there, and feel free to explore from there.



If you found this list helpful, please share it using the sharing buttons!

If you’re looking for more extensive lists on a wide range of topics, please visit the landing page for iHomeschool Network’s 100 Things Link-up! (There’s an awesome giveaway too, so be sure to visit!)


Posted in Homeschool, Parenting, Special Needs | Leave a comment

4 Tips for When Your Child’s Best Friend Moves Away

4 Tips for When Your Child's Best Friend Moves Away -

*The required FTC disclosure: I am a Better Beginnings brand ambassador. I get paid to write an article for them once a month, but the best thing is that I get to learn, and in turn share with you, great information about how kids learn and helping them learn through play. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I believe in the mission of Better Beginnings – quality early education for all.

4 Tips for When Your Child’s Best Friend Moves Away

Parenting is an adventure. Although you’re dealing with the same kids for a couple of decades, there’s always something new happening. Right now I’m trying to help my younger daughter through a situation we’ve never faced before: her best friend is moving away in less than a month.

It took my daughter a long time to develop a friendship this close. She loves this little girl like she loves my older daughter. They’re practically sisters. The leaving hurts, and it’s hard to say goodbye.

Here are some tips I’ve found that are helping:

  1. Listen. I am doing a lot of listening to my daughter as she talks about the situation. I try to hear past the words to the root behind them. She is hurting, afraid, and uncertain of what the future will look like without her friend. Will she ever find another friend she loves this much? How often will they see and talk to each other after the move? Right now they see one another twice a week during church activities and have playdates and sleepovers. She’s going to miss the regular contact. She is worried for her friend too. Will she like her new school? Will she find nice girls to be friends with there? What church will she go to now?
  2. Validate the feelings. While I want to dismiss some of the things she’s saying and the feelings behind them, I have to be careful not to do so. She is genuinely upset by this situation and all the fear and uncertainty it brings. I do my best to validate her feelings, to let her know that what she’s feeling is normal and that her friend probably has some of the same concerns and feelings. She can’t help the way she feels, and validating her feelings lets her know that it’s okay to feel. She doesn’t have to hide it or stuff it away inside somewhere. I want her to keep talking, to keep processing.
  3. Make plans. It’s important for my daughter to have some idea of what interactions she might expect to have with her friend after she moves. We talk about how her grandparents will still live here and go to our church, and her friend will be coming to visit them. Those would be good times to try to get together with her. We discuss having video chats using smartphones and Wi-Fi, and we talk about how she can call her friend and talk to her every week. We discuss the possibility that she can go to visit her friend. I also talk to my daughter about other people she knows that she feels a connection with and discuss how she can get to know them better and develop stronger friendships with them.
  4. Lather, rinse, repeat. My daughter’s special needs mean that we repeat these steps over and over again, moving back and forth from one to the other as needed, trying to help her process what’s happening and find a way to deal with the sadness and fear. I don’t know exactly how long it will take us to reach acceptance and find a comfortable routine that keeps her in touch with her friend but encourages her to develop other friendships, but it’s something I’m already working on. And I’ll keep doing it until we get there.

Better Beginnings has great tips to Help Your Child Say Goodbye in the Better Beginnings Resource Library. While many of those tips are meant for younger children, I still found a lot I could use in our current situation.

What suggestions do you have for helping a child deal with a friend’s move? Do you know of books or movies that might help?

If you’re in Arkansas and need child care, please consider a Better Beginnings provider. They have fun, hands-on educational activities for every child!

Other articles in the Learning Through Play series:

Back to Basics: Learning Through Play -


Posted in Parenting, Special Needs | 13 Comments