Did I ever mention I am a scientist by trade? I love to experiment. I like to try things out, several different ways, and see which way I like best. This also includes how I am homeschooling my children and how I am homeschooling around appointments. I tried homeschooling only at home. I tried homeschooling on-the-go including using teachable moments and I tried to limit myself to online-only homeschooling. Out of all these options, I find homeschooling on the go to be the best option for my family and here is how I do it…
When my children were young, under 5 years-old, homeschooling my children were pretty easy. There were no real requirements beyond trying to teach them rightfromleft, their colors, the alphabet, practice fine motor skills to get ready for handwriting, practice crossing midline, and basic skills of self-dressing, tooth/dental health, labeling body parts, building social skills, and other adaptive skills. Just remember, at this age, it is all about play and learning through experience versus any formal education.
Two of my children have issues with aphasia. I did not know that at the time. I just saw two children who struggled with language. One child, Margaret, could talk but she ONLY spoke with echolalic speech. Joseph did not speak at all until
he was two. Then he said ONE word; light. He did not speak again until he was four when he suddenly could say all the alphabet. During the early years, I spent time working with my children teaching them sign language from Signing Time. We worked on this during any free time. Even doctors appointment. I used to go to doctor’s appointments and spend our time waiting for the doctor to come into the room by signing colors, numbers, and animal sounds to the children. They would have to guess what I was signing. They loved to play that game! That was great because I think we did that one time for about 40 minutes waiting for a specialist to come into the room to see us! LOL

How to Squeeze in Homeschooling Around Therapy and Doctor Appointments

Having surviving quadruplets with special needs out-and-about while homeschooling I have spent many times waiting two or three hours at a therapy center while my children got therapy back-to-back-to-back. Let me share some of the things I did to be prepared for being out yet we could STILL homeschool the children at the same time. As the children have gotten older (6+) I have moved from unschooling a more structured school. I did this for a couple of reasons. All my children have Autism. They like having a schedule. They like knowing what is going to happen and being able to predict their day.

Making a schedule allowed me to plan out the day and let the kids know what I am expecting and when I am expecting to do it. The LOVE being able to reference the schedule to let me know when I am not on-task. LOL I sat down and made a schedule for 6 days a week. This gave me some time to work with each of the kids individually on Math and English/Reading for at least 8 hours a week. Then we had 2 hours a week on science, 5 hours a week on history (kids love history), about 5 hours of play time, 2 hours of art that we all do together. Some of the subjects we did online using programs like Cleaver Dragons/Always Ice Cream or Time4Learning when they were older.

I found many therapy centers, if I asked, were willing to let me tie into their internet. They would either give me their password or they would take my device and put their password in for me so my device could remember the password and give me access to the internet. With access to the internet, we could complete work

while waiting. One child would be called into the back. Another child would have their personal electronic device and would play with some of their educational apps while I worked directly with the other child. We would rotate around like this until all the children had received their therapy. For the two children I was working with, we would work for about 10 minutes, then take a 3-minute break, and then work another 10 to 15 minutes, and another 3-minute break, and then we would do our final 10-minute push through the material. At that point we would stop so they have a couple of minute break before going into therapy.

I know this seems choppy, I know it may feel like you are not covering much, but that is not true. When I get my children academically evaluated I am always shocked at how much they know on their tests!

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For curriculum, I look for things that are inexpensive and we might use on the go. My children LOVE Life of Fred for math. Life of Fred is pretty inexpensive. The books can be used over and over again. The books do not have a lot of practice of the various concepts that are taught in the early sets. The good news is this can be addressed with the material you can buy from Teachers Pay Teachers for each of the math concepts where your child needs more practice.
We are also using SumBlox for their math lessons too. SumBlox is great for teaching number sense, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division along with how to add fractions. These work great the Life of Fred books in the Elementary Series (Apples to Jelly Beans).

For English, we use a variety of products. Much of the English grammar and sentence structure my children picked up from reading to them. We have been reading to them since they were 3 years old. Keep in mind my children did NOT sit still while we read to them. Heck, often they do not even seem to be paying attention; yet, when I ask questions, they often get several questions right. I figured that if just ONE question was right then I was doing great!

 

Now my children are eleven and we STILL read to them. Reading to older children is great! Only 17% of parents of kids ages 9–11 read aloud to their children. Yet 83% of kids ages 6–17 say being read to is something they either loved or liked a lot. We use reading at bedtime as part of the bedtime routine with the children. The children enjoy the time with Dad (he is the primary storyteller). The kids enjoy the special time with him, they love the stories he reads, and he reads them in such an animated style the kids are enthralled.

Often we mix story time and alternate academic-type material with fiction. We may read
Stories of the World and then switch to reading Happy Potter. Then we might read Hidden Figures and then we will read The Four-Fingered Man. The children are currently on book four of this series, The Ancient Starship, and they are clamoring for the rest of the series. I will be buying the rest of the series shortly. I try to still rotate the books so they will not run through the series so fast. If they are really excited by the books sometimes we will read a series straight through.

For English, we have also used
Grammar Minutes, Wordly Wise, and as the children have gotten older we have added Word Root. This has covered enough of the basics of English mechanics for the children.
For science lessons, we have used YouTube videos on science topics that have interested in the children. We have done unit studies on specific areas of science where the kids wanted to know information like weather, plants, rocks, and other topics. We have also used Real Science-4-Kids. I like their books and the ease of their experiments. All of these resources are easy to do on the go in between therapy.
Real Science 4 Kids

Don't Forget about Roadschooling!

Okay, what I do is not true roadschooling, but it is homeschooling in the car. If you are on the go a LOT then you may want to consider finding some audio sources for information to listen to in the car. Again, this may not be the most ideal way to learn for your child but don’t underestimate what they might be picking up while driving down the road. One of our favorite podcasts for kids on science is Brains On Science for Kids. This is a super cute program, run mostly by kids, and cover lots of fun topics. There is also Tumble. Tumble is a science podcast for kids, to be enjoyed by the entire family. It covers stories about scientific discoveries, with the help of scientists.
For audio history lessons, there are a few ideas I can share. Heirloom audio has a few stories covering history that may be of interest.  Stories of the World also come as a CD set. This is great to play in the car! For Podcasts, there is the 15 Minute History Podcast. This one is nice because it is short and my kids are more likely to listen to the entire story. Oddly, my kids sometimes like the Stuff You Missed In History Class. This can be dry compared to other things because it is really meant for adults but the stories are so interesting my kids were enjoying listening too. The Past and the Curious is more geared for children and is a fun show.
But Why is a show led by children. You ask the questions and they find the answers. It’s a big interesting world out there. But Why tackles topics both large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world. If you have a question you can send it to But Why and it may be answered on a future broadcast! The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd is the first, and longest running, professionally produced audio drama podcast! This family-friendly new twist on “old time radio” features the adventures and exploits of the World’s Most Brilliant Scientist, Dr. Floyd! Join Dr. Floyd as he tries to thwart the plans of his evil arch-nemesis, Dr. Steve, all the while learning about the people and events that shaped the history of the Earth. If satirist Stan Freberg and Jay Ward, creator of Rocky & Bullwinkle, had created Mystery Science Theater 3000 mixed in a little Time Bandits and gave it an educational spin, the result would have been this podcast. LOL It is a fun show and worth a listen!

I hope this post has helped answer some questions on how you can get in homeschooling academics on the go and fit it in around therapy and doctor appointments. As always, you are welcome to join us for more discussion on homeschooling children with special needs in our Homeschooling Special (Needs) Kids group. We also have a group for all parents and caregivers of special needs children called Special Needs Parenting Advice and Support where we discuss ALL things related to special needs care and Educating Gifted Children is where we discuss topics concerning gifted children and those that are twice exceptional (2e).  Finally, we also have a FB group, IEP/504 Assistance, for parents of public school students from all over the United States. I hope to see you there!

Michelle Reed-Harris

Michelle Reed-Harris

CEO and Advocate

Michelle Reed-Harris is the mother of six children including surviving quadruplets. Her frustration with doctors and educators led her on a quest to learn about all the facets that touch the quads lives as children with disabilities. In the process, she gained a lot of useful information she could share with others so she started a Facebook group focusing on special education advocacy. The group quickly grew to over 6,000+ members. Recognizing the overwhelming need for assistance, she founded a nonprofit, AESA, allowing her to provide support, advice, and advocacy to parents with children who are outside the (Bell) curve.

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