*As a co-author of The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas, I get paid for my writing through sales of the book. For this reason, this post contains affiliate links. Thanks in advance for your support.
Special Needs Parenting Moved Me Out of My Comfort Zone
Parenting my younger daughter has been an adventure. She has chronic health issues, neurodevelopmental issues, and learning difficulties. Parenting and homeschooling her has moved me out of my comfort zone in ways I never expected.
I am a very traditional learner. I do fine with visual and auditory teaching methods, which means that lectures and textbooks always worked pretty well for me. That’s what most of my school experience consisted of too—both as a student and later as a teacher. My older daughter is a pretty traditional learner too, so I wasn’t required to change any of my methods . . . until my younger daughter started formal lessons.
It didn’t take me long to realize that traditional methods weren’t working with my younger daughter. Through a lot of trial and error, I realized that she learns best through hands-on activities. I had to completely change my thinking and the type of educational experiences I planned for her. It took me way out of my comfort zone.
In addition to a solid academic foundation, my husband and I wanted our kids to be involved in volunteering and service in the community from a young age, to think about others and their needs. The trouble is that it can be hard to find volunteer opportunities for younger children. We learned to start small and work our way up to bigger projects as they got older. We had to move outside our comfort zones, and do some creative thinking to find projects we could do as a family, especially ones that our younger daughter could participate in. (Delays in motor coordination and mild hypotonia can make physical activity tough!)
Parenting a child with special needs has made me move outside my comfort zone to do two things that are very important to me: homeschool and volunteer in our hometown. My passion for these two things led to me to write the two chapters I contributed to The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas.
The first chapter, “Making Learning Fun for the Struggling Learner,” is full of simple ways to make learning more enjoyable for the student who struggles. (You’ll be happy to know most of them have nothing to do with books or curriculum!)
The second chapter, “25 Ideas for Ministry and Volunteering in the Community with Kids!”, is a list of ways the whole family can serve the community, beginning with those right next door! You’ll find activities like the ones below—and more!
- After you pick up your paper, put your neighbor’s paper on their front porch to save them the trip.
- Volunteer to watch a friend’s child so she can go to the doctor, hair salon, or just out for a cup of coffee alone.
- Make a meal large enough that you’ll have plenty to share, and then deliver a meal to an elderly neighbor or two.
We have learned to start small and work up to bigger projects with service clubs and non-profit organizations. (Our family went on an in-state mission trip together this summer!)
If you’re interested in reading more, please find my chapters and lots of other great ideas in The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas, which is available in a bundle with the 23 MP3s from iHomeschool Studio (my time management session is included) for only $15, which is a fantastic savings at more than 50% off!
Or, if MP3s aren’t really your thing, you can get The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas for $2 off, using the code homeschool.
Both of these deals are available through November 10, 2014!
AND – my coauthors are also highlighting their chapters this month, some with fabulous giveaways!
Be sure to visit:
- Michelle Cannon from Heart of Michelle. Author of the chapters Transitioning from Elementary to Middle School, Homeschooling the Child with Bipolar Disorder, and Navigating from High School to College with a Dyslexic Child. Michelle will be giving away a one-hour homeschool consultation.
- Renee Brown from Great Peace Academy. Author of the chapters How to Find Resources for Gifted Child Homeschooling, How to Homeschool During Job Loss, and Prioritizing your Marriage While Homeschooling. Renee will be giving away a $25 Amazon card.
You can find more about the authors of The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas (and their giveaways) on iHomeschool Network’s blog tour landing page.