Homeschooling Resources

The 2020-2021 school year is going to look different, we can all agree on that! Your school may be going back in-person full time, may be staying virtual this year, or may even be taking a hybrid approach and using both in-person and online formats. 

Some of you may be considering, or have even begun, homeschooling rather than try to navigate this unique school year through your local school. That’s okay, too! There’s no right or wrong choice for your family and your apraxia star. Everybody’s needs, abilities, and goals are different so schooling will be very different from state to state, district to district, and even family to family this year!

Regardless of your schooling choices, this is a school year unlike any other and you probably have a million and one questions! Let’s start with the basics.

Homeschooling Resource Guide

GETTING STARTED

What are your options for schooling this year?

 

Public / Private / Charter Schools

  • These provide in-person, on-site  schooling in a brick-and-mortar building
  • Teachers provide curriculum, care, and education throughout the full school day

 

Virtual / Distance Learning

  • Many of our public/private/charter schools are offering virtual learning instead of in-person learning this year
  • This type of learning is done online instead of in a brick-and-mortar school building
  • The school and teachers guide all education and lessons but the student does the work at home and parents can help to supervise and keep students on track

 

Hybrid Schooling

  • Some schools are offering a mixed approach to the new school year
  • Some students will go in-person a few days a week and do virtual learning the other days, and then the students will rotate so there are fewer students in the building at the same time (that exact format will likely vary from school to school)
  • The teachers are still responsible for providing education and curriculum but the student will need to do some work at home and parents will likely need to be involved to help supervise and keep the students on track as needed based on the student’s level of independence.

 

Cyber School

  • You can register to attend a Cyber School to do virtual learning full-time 
  • The Cyber school will provide all teachers, curriculum, and lessons while the student does their work at home
  • Parents will likely need to be available to help as much as they would in the virtual learning format

 

Homeschooling

  • Fully parent-taught education using a curriculum of your choice
  • Curricula are either faith-based or secular so you will need to do your research to find the program(s) that best fits your family and learning style
  • This method can become rather costly as you buy curriculums, programs, and other learning materials
  • This method is the most time consuming for parents as you become the full-time teacher, parent, at-home therapist, and more!
  • In order to begin homeschooling correctly, you must follow your state’s laws (which vary state by state) 

 

If you’ve thought through all of your options and think that homeschooling is the best fit for you, your family, and your apraxia star, here are some tips to get you started!

  1. First and foremost, have a thorough discussion with your apraxia star and your family about homeschooling. Make sure that everyone is on the same page and you all understand the changes that homeschooling may bring!
  2. Review the homeschool laws for your state (or country). Homeschooling laws vary by state (and it is illegal to homeschool in some other countries outside of the U.S.). Check out this site to make sure you fully understand the laws for homeschooling in your state: https://hslda.org/legal
  3. Find out the parent qualifications in your state. Parents are not required to have a college degree to homeschool, but a lot of states do have an education requirement (like a GED).
  4. Figure out your homeschooling style. Not everyone will homeschool the same way so try out a few things to see what works best for you.
  5. Find homeschool support in your community. When you’re starting homeschooling for the first time, you’ll probably feel a little overwhelmed and have a lot of questions! Finding a good support network with experienced homeschoolers can help! To find the support organizations near you, check out the “Education & Schooling” tab in your State by State Resource Guide here: https://www.apraxia-kids.org/resource-guides/
  6. Choose your curriculum or courses. There are many options for homeschool curriculum and online courses that will assist you in home education.

 

Regardless of what method of schooling you choose for this upcoming school year, the most important thing is to be kind to yourself! Every day will be different than the next. Some days will be easier or harder than the next. We are all doing our best to navigate the changes to our schooling environments so we all need to have a little extra patience and kindness with ourselves, our teachers, and our students!

 

Here are some great resources to get you started on your homeschool adventure!

 

Family Guide to At-Home Learning

By Ceedar Center

https://ceedar.education.ufl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/CEEDAR-Family-Guide.pdf

 

School Virtually

https://schoolvirtually.org/

 

Homeschooling Kids with Learning and Attention Issues

By Understood.org

https://www.understood.org/~/link.aspx?_id=08669B052EEB4D6A8B2C730A3E11BA61&_z=z

 

Public Resources Available to Homeschoolers

By Understood.org

https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/choosing-starting-school/home-schooling/public-resources-available-to-homeschoolers

 

Here is an article from American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) on helping your child with virtual education as well as the changes in person school will have:

https://www.asha.org/public/How-Parents-Can-Help-Children-With-Speech-and-Language-Disorders-in-Virtual-and-Modified-In-Person-Classroom-Settings/?fbclid=IwAR3Ll-WbQVzahuSt7q_-auXlP7TeHSEYPsWoJckccWJxgsT9qIBuys4RC48

SPECIAL EDUCATION AND IEPs IN DIVERSE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS

“But what if my child has an IEP and we are doing distance learning?”

 

In short, schools must continue to follow students’ IEPs and 504s as closely as possible during these times, regardless of how schools are providing learning (in-person, online, or hybrid). 

 

Special Education falls under the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), Section 504, and Title II of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). These legal guidelines must be followed under normal circumstances, however, these documents do not address what should happen in the event of a prolonged school closure (more than 10 days), so we are all sort of in uncharted territories here! However, if schools are still open in some fashion and still providing some level of education (online, in-person, or a hybrid), then they must continue to do everything in their ability to follow IEPs and 504s as they are written for each student. 

 

The schools also may need to consider what type of compensatory services might be needed for certain students once they are able to provide it. If a student doesn’t receive services (speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, etc.) for a prolonged period of time, the school will need to determine what compensatory services will need to be provided to make up for missed services and any skill loss that may have occurred. 

 

All that being said, the way that schools interpret and implement these special education documents varies widely from state to state, and even district to district. It’s important to stay in close communications with your IEP/504 team to make sure that your child’s needs are being met to the best of the school’s ability during this time. 

 

Here are some helpful links about special education during COVID-19 that may help!

 

Q & A on Providing Services to Students with Disabilities During COVID-19

By IDEA

https://sites.ed.gov/idea/idea-files/q-and-a-providing-services-to-children-with-disabilities-during-the-coronavirus-disease-2019-outbreak/#Q-A-2 

 

Additional IDEA Updates

https://sites.ed.gov/idea/ 

 

Special Education Services During COVID-19

By American Bar Association

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/litigation/committees/childrens-rights/articles/2020/are-special-education-services-required-in-the-time-of-covid19/ 

 

Q & A on Providing Services to Children with Disabilities During COVID-19

By US Department of Education

https://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/qa-covid-19-03-12-2020.pdf 

BALANCING ACT

This year, many parents have made the academic decision for their child(ren) to either homeschool or virtually learn. In some cases, parents have no choice because their schools are closed to an in-classroom experience or have transitioned to a hybrid model using both in class and virtual lessons. This is a very new way for many families to live and learn. Some parents and guardians still need to work full-time, either on location or at home, all while trying to support their children’s academic journey. Needless to say, many parents are experiencing the same hurdles, but their approaches to overcome those hurdles all look very different.

Trying to balance all of these scenarios can be quite complicated, especially when ideas, rules, and regulations change almost daily. It can become very frustrating. The best way to approach these stressful times is to let go of the things you cannot control and focus on the things you can control. That might sound very simplistic, but it can easily become a forgotten concept!

When trying to balance life and academics at home, the biggest key component to success is sticking to  a schedule and staying as organized as possible. Of course things come up and that is okay, but if a schedule is determined prior to starting your child’s academic journey then you will know where to pick up if you fall off track. Here are some other key points and suggestions to consider while supporting your child when he or she is either homeschooling or virtually learning. 

  •       A child can learn whenever and wherever. Homeschool families can use activities like playing, reading, cooking, and other everyday actions as part of their academic lessons. Virtual learning families can take their lessons on the road to a park, library or zoo if their destinations allow them to complete required work by logging into their resources.
  •       Consider all childcare options. If you are a working parent and need childcare, you have to decide to either hire someone to come to your home or if you will drop your child off at a facility.  Will this person or facility help assist your child with his or her academics? Instead of hiring childcare, can you form a home school or virtual learning team to support your children – family, friends, older children in your family, or trade days with another family?
  •       Planning & Scheduling. Make lists and categorize items into either work (if you are working), school, or personal life. Use a pencil when scheduling to allow for some flexibility to move things around. Schedule “catch up” times for when you fall behind, days you need to utilize a Plan B, or to make up for times when you need to schedule activities that are outside your normal routine (i.e. doctor appointments).
  •       Find a Community. Join social media groups that include other homeschool or virtual learning families. Start a group in your school district if one is not already established. 
  •       Set up a special place. Make an area designated for work or school. Enter those spaces in the mindset of going to work or your child(ren) going to school. Entering those spaces should be an indicator to others in your home that it is time for you to concentrate on your job or school work. Leaving those spaces should allow you to take a break or mean you are done. Of course there will be crossover while working, homeschooling, or virtually learning from home, but having separate spaces will allow you and others to detach from those responsibilities when needed.
  •       Be intentional. Have a pattern to your day and keep a list of things you must do daily.
  •     Make a Quiet Box. Fill two boxes with engaging items that are quiet and only use them during special times. Include items such as audio and regular books, board games, cards, coloring books and supplies, tablet with only educational apps/games, art supplies, play doh, or anything else quiet a child can do on his or her own time. Switch the boxes so your child is not doing the same quiet activity every time he or she receives a box.
  •       Take pauses or tangents. Schedule daily downtime for both you and your child. Put some fun in between long periods of work. Be flexible and allow for impromptu down time when times are tough. Jump back on schedule when the stress is lifted. Keep a Plan B ready for days that are particularly hard.
  •       Set realistic goals.Try to only tackle three goals at a time. Once an item is complete, cross it off and add another item. Focus on what you can juggle at one time and say “no” to things that you can’t do all at the same time. Outsource if need be – hire tutoring, find another parent to cover certain subjects with your child and vice versa, find a program to assist your child in topics that you are less familiar with.

Some questions to consider when homeschooling or virtually learning:  

  • How does your child learn? 
  • Where are they academically? 
  • Do they have learning glitches? 
  • Do you have attention issues or behavior to consider? 
  • How is your child’s mental health? 
  • What are your child’s passions?  
  • Do you have multiple age groups to consider?

Answering those questions and personalizing your child’s homeschooling or virtual learning experience will make the content more relatable for your child. It won’t make education feel like a chore. Celebrate meeting goals and reward your child with positive feedback or incentives.  Homeschooling and virtual learning can be fun, exciting, positive, and rewarding for not only your child, but also for you and build a closer relationship between you both.

INCORPORATING SPEECH PRACTICE

When homeschooling or learning at home, there are many opportunities to incorporate practice of speech targets, regardless of the level of your child. Here are tips to think about in general:

 

  • Your child’s SLP is your coach, tutor, and guide for your home practice. There is information that you need to find out including what are appropriate,functional targets that you should be practicing? Only pick one or two targets to focus on during the day. The words/phrases you practice during school activities should be words that the child is able to say correctly, consistently, and with minimal cueing. The point is to practice words in a variety of situations throughout your day, (not just during speech therapy time) so that the motor plan becomes automatic. If the child struggles to get the word correct, you spend time and energy getting it right which interrupts the flow of the activity and can cause frustration, so it is better to put that word in a speech practice session rather than during other activities. 

 

  • If your child requires cueing to get the correct production, be sure you are comfortable with giving your child cues. Have your child’s SLP watch you give cues to help you be successful.

 

  • Functional phrases are great to do during activities: “I do”, “me too”, “my turn”, “I see”, “go now”, “I do it”, “I put it”, “put it in”, “put it on”. 

 

  • Ask questions like: “Who wants a snack?” or “Who wants a turn?” The child can say “me” or “I do.”

 

  • During physical activities, choose a word or phrase to repeat “push”, “go”, “up”, “down”, ready, set, go”, “high”, “low”. 

 

  • Cooking can be a very educational activity and there are lots of opportunities to use words repetitively: “open”, “in”, “wash”, “hot”, “yum”, “yuck”, “more”, “wet”, “stir”, “mix”, “sift”.

 

  • Consider having the child say the target 3-5 times before moving on with the activity. 

 

  • Vary the pitch, loudness, and rate during multiple repetitions to increase prosody. Say the word like a lion, a mouse, a bear, a snake…  Say it quietly, loudly, happily, angrily, sadly. Changing the voice during repetition helps to make it more automatic and solidifies the motor plan!

 

  • Remember to always provide support to your child and praise them for working so hard, trying to improve their speech, how much you like to hear their words – even if they are not perfect or if you don’t understand everything they say. Practicing speech words should not be painful or frustrating. You are there to provide support and let them know it is ok to make mistakes. Point out if you say something incorrectly!  

 

  • Try to be in front of the child and on their level when you want them to pay attention to what your mouth is doing when you provide models of their words. Sometimes that is the only cue needed!

 

  • Bring in other family members to help – siblings, spouse, grandparents… the more people who are aware of what your child is working on, the more practice he/she will get!

 

When you need a break from school work, have book sharing time. Working on pre-literacy and literacy skills is so important as many children with CAS struggle with reading. Parents can read a book to the child, or go online to have a book read with sound/music (Like Story Online here: https://www.storylineonline.net/) During book sharing, point out or talk about

  • rhyming words from the story (Dr. Seuss books)
  • words with the same sound at the beginning, 
  • words that have a sound/word/phrase they are working on, 
  • what sound a word starts with (not letter), 
  • Words on a page that starts with the same sound as their name,
  • Where the first/last word is on the page. 

 

Use of repetitive books are wonderful like Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carl. If the book has a word/phrase that they have targeted, pause and have them say that word/phrase as you are reading.  Ex: “Brown bear, Brown bear, what do you see?”  Pause for the child to say “I see” on their own or with you and then you continue – “a red bird looking at me.”  Or pause at the end of the phrase for the child to say ”me”. If your child is reading, pick a book at his reading level and you read a page and he reads a page. Ask comprehension questions – “where did the bear go?” and predictive questions “what do think will happen next?” or “What would you do if that happened to you?”  

 

More reading activities are here: https://growingbookbybook.com/reading-activities/preschoolers/

 

The most important thing is to have fun with the child.  That is what they will remember!!!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Searching and gathering information from the internet can seem cumbersome and overwhelming most of the time. Now factor in trying to comb through the seemingly endless information out there about schooling, virtual learning, and homeschooling and it’s hard to keep that defeated feeling at bay before you’ve even had a chance to begin. 

 

Below is a small ‘tool kit’ to help you prioritize your search and ensure you are gathering resources and information that are right for you. Before beginning, ask yourself a few questions. “What is the goal of my search?” or “Are there any specific questions I am looking to get answered?” will help you navigate what you are and are not looking for. 

 

Remember that you might have to read and go through a few different articles, websites, blogs, etc to make sure the guidance and resources you are using make the most sense for what you are trying to accomplish.  

 

Homeschool Tool Kit 

  • Look into your state’s requirements and laws 
    • Things vary state to state
    • Make sure when researching and using resources they pertain to your state AND county! 
    • Check out our State Associations page to learn more about your state and local homeschool laws! 
  • Research your options
    • You don’t have to decide on the first piece of information you come across 
    • Getting a different perspective may lead you to something that you might not have come to on your own 
    • Our Tips, Blogs, and Advice resource page is a great place to help what you might be looking to get out of a resource search! 
  • Join a local support group 
    • Connect with other parents in the community & share tips, struggles, and successes!
    • A great opportunity for fields trips and social interactions with kids in the same grade/age range 
    • Click here to go to our State Resource page and find your state to get connected with a local support group near you! 
  • Decide on a method and curriculum 
    • Consider your child’s learning style, as well as YOUR teaching style 
    • What are some things that hold your child’s interest? 
    • Start your ‘all things curriculum’ search Here on our website!
  • Create a space 
    • Having a space that separates home life and school will help keep things organized
    • Don’t be afraid to get creative 
  • Set up specific goals 
    • Setting up daily, weekly, or monthly goals that are specific to any learning objectives you may have for your child 
    • This will help you stay on track and make sure you are covering everything you set out to & checking off those goals together will be a totally awesome feeling! 
  • Make a plan and define a schedule 
    • Writing out a plan and keeping a schedule will help everyone stay on task
    • Even if the ‘daily’ schedule is the same, you can absolutely play around with it and have fun! 
  • Be Patient & Trust the Process 
    • It may take time to find the best routine for your child, as well as yourself! 
    • If things do not seem like they are working, you can always switch things up

The 2020-2021 school year is going to look different, we can all agree on that! Your school may be going back in-person full time, may be staying virtual this year, or may even be taking a hybrid approach and using both in-person and online formats. 

Some of you may be considering, or have even begun, homeschooling rather than try to navigate this unique school year through your local school. That’s okay, too! There’s no right or wrong choice for your family and your apraxia star. Everybody’s needs, abilities, and goals are different so schooling will be very different from state to state, district to district, and even family to family this year!

Regardless of your schooling choices, this is a school year unlike any other and you probably have a million and one questions! Let’s start with the basics.

Homeschooling Resource Guide

GETTING STARTED

What are your options for schooling this year?

 

Public / Private / Charter Schools

  • These provide in-person, on-site  schooling in a brick-and-mortar building
  • Teachers provide curriculum, care, and education throughout the full school day

 

Virtual / Distance Learning

  • Many of our public/private/charter schools are offering virtual learning instead of in-person learning this year
  • This type of learning is done online instead of in a brick-and-mortar school building
  • The school and teachers guide all education and lessons but the student does the work at home and parents can help to supervise and keep students on track

 

Hybrid Schooling

  • Some schools are offering a mixed approach to the new school year
  • Some students will go in-person a few days a week and do virtual learning the other days, and then the students will rotate so there are fewer students in the building at the same time (that exact format will likely vary from school to school)
  • The teachers are still responsible for providing education and curriculum but the student will need to do some work at home and parents will likely need to be involved to help supervise and keep the students on track as needed based on the student’s level of independence.

 

Cyber School

  • You can register to attend a Cyber School to do virtual learning full-time 
  • The Cyber school will provide all teachers, curriculum, and lessons while the student does their work at home
  • Parents will likely need to be available to help as much as they would in the virtual learning format

 

Homeschooling

  • Fully parent-taught education using a curriculum of your choice
  • Curricula are either faith-based or secular so you will need to do your research to find the program(s) that best fits your family and learning style
  • This method can become rather costly as you buy curriculums, programs, and other learning materials
  • This method is the most time consuming for parents as you become the full-time teacher, parent, at-home therapist, and more!
  • In order to begin homeschooling correctly, you must follow your state’s laws (which vary state by state) 

 

If you’ve thought through all of your options and think that homeschooling is the best fit for you, your family, and your apraxia star, here are some tips to get you started!

  1. First and foremost, have a thorough discussion with your apraxia star and your family about homeschooling. Make sure that everyone is on the same page and you all understand the changes that homeschooling may bring!
  2. Review the homeschool laws for your state (or country). Homeschooling laws vary by state (and it is illegal to homeschool in some other countries outside of the U.S.). Check out this site to make sure you fully understand the laws for homeschooling in your state: https://hslda.org/legal
  3. Find out the parent qualifications in your state. Parents are not required to have a college degree to homeschool, but a lot of states do have an education requirement (like a GED).
  4. Figure out your homeschooling style. Not everyone will homeschool the same way so try out a few things to see what works best for you.
  5. Find homeschool support in your community. When you’re starting homeschooling for the first time, you’ll probably feel a little overwhelmed and have a lot of questions! Finding a good support network with experienced homeschoolers can help! To find the support organizations near you, check out the “Education & Schooling” tab in your State by State Resource Guide here: https://www.apraxia-kids.org/resource-guides/
  6. Choose your curriculum or courses. There are many options for homeschool curriculum and online courses that will assist you in home education.

 

Regardless of what method of schooling you choose for this upcoming school year, the most important thing is to be kind to yourself! Every day will be different than the next. Some days will be easier or harder than the next. We are all doing our best to navigate the changes to our schooling environments so we all need to have a little extra patience and kindness with ourselves, our teachers, and our students!

 

Here are some great resources to get you started on your homeschool adventure!

 

Family Guide to At-Home Learning

By Ceedar Center

https://ceedar.education.ufl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/CEEDAR-Family-Guide.pdf

 

School Virtually

https://schoolvirtually.org/

 

Homeschooling Kids with Learning and Attention Issues

By Understood.org

https://www.understood.org/~/link.aspx?_id=08669B052EEB4D6A8B2C730A3E11BA61&_z=z

 

Public Resources Available to Homeschoolers

By Understood.org

https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/choosing-starting-school/home-schooling/public-resources-available-to-homeschoolers

 

Here is an article from American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) on helping your child with virtual education as well as the changes in person school will have:

https://www.asha.org/public/How-Parents-Can-Help-Children-With-Speech-and-Language-Disorders-in-Virtual-and-Modified-In-Person-Classroom-Settings/?fbclid=IwAR3Ll-WbQVzahuSt7q_-auXlP7TeHSEYPsWoJckccWJxgsT9qIBuys4RC48

SPECIAL EDUCATION AND IEPs IN DIVERSE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS

“But what if my child has an IEP and we are doing distance learning?”

 

In short, schools must continue to follow students’ IEPs and 504s as closely as possible during these times, regardless of how schools are providing learning (in-person, online, or hybrid). 

 

Special Education falls under the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), Section 504, and Title II of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). These legal guidelines must be followed under normal circumstances, however, these documents do not address what should happen in the event of a prolonged school closure (more than 10 days), so we are all sort of in uncharted territories here! However, if schools are still open in some fashion and still providing some level of education (online, in-person, or a hybrid), then they must continue to do everything in their ability to follow IEPs and 504s as they are written for each student. 

 

The schools also may need to consider what type of compensatory services might be needed for certain students once they are able to provide it. If a student doesn’t receive services (speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, etc.) for a prolonged period of time, the school will need to determine what compensatory services will need to be provided to make up for missed services and any skill loss that may have occurred. 

 

All that being said, the way that schools interpret and implement these special education documents varies widely from state to state, and even district to district. It’s important to stay in close communications with your IEP/504 team to make sure that your child’s needs are being met to the best of the school’s ability during this time. 

 

Here are some helpful links about special education during COVID-19 that may help!

 

Q & A on Providing Services to Students with Disabilities During COVID-19

By IDEA

https://sites.ed.gov/idea/idea-files/q-and-a-providing-services-to-children-with-disabilities-during-the-coronavirus-disease-2019-outbreak/#Q-A-2 

 

Additional IDEA Updates

https://sites.ed.gov/idea/ 

 

Special Education Services During COVID-19

By American Bar Association

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/litigation/committees/childrens-rights/articles/2020/are-special-education-services-required-in-the-time-of-covid19/ 

 

Q & A on Providing Services to Children with Disabilities During COVID-19

By US Department of Education

https://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/qa-covid-19-03-12-2020.pdf 

BALANCING ACT

This year, many parents have made the academic decision for their child(ren) to either homeschool or virtually learn. In some cases, parents have no choice because their schools are closed to an in-classroom experience or have transitioned to a hybrid model using both in class and virtual lessons. This is a very new way for many families to live and learn. Some parents and guardians still need to work full-time, either on location or at home, all while trying to support their children’s academic journey. Needless to say, many parents are experiencing the same hurdles, but their approaches to overcome those hurdles all look very different.

Trying to balance all of these scenarios can be quite complicated, especially when ideas, rules, and regulations change almost daily. It can become very frustrating. The best way to approach these stressful times is to let go of the things you cannot control and focus on the things you can control. That might sound very simplistic, but it can easily become a forgotten concept!

When trying to balance life and academics at home, the biggest key component to success is sticking to  a schedule and staying as organized as possible. Of course things come up and that is okay, but if a schedule is determined prior to starting your child’s academic journey then you will know where to pick up if you fall off track. Here are some other key points and suggestions to consider while supporting your child when he or she is either homeschooling or virtually learning. 

  •       A child can learn whenever and wherever. Homeschool families can use activities like playing, reading, cooking, and other everyday actions as part of their academic lessons. Virtual learning families can take their lessons on the road to a park, library or zoo if their destinations allow them to complete required work by logging into their resources.
  •       Consider all childcare options. If you are a working parent and need childcare, you have to decide to either hire someone to come to your home or if you will drop your child off at a facility.  Will this person or facility help assist your child with his or her academics? Instead of hiring childcare, can you form a home school or virtual learning team to support your children – family, friends, older children in your family, or trade days with another family?
  •       Planning & Scheduling. Make lists and categorize items into either work (if you are working), school, or personal life. Use a pencil when scheduling to allow for some flexibility to move things around. Schedule “catch up” times for when you fall behind, days you need to utilize a Plan B, or to make up for times when you need to schedule activities that are outside your normal routine (i.e. doctor appointments).
  •       Find a Community. Join social media groups that include other homeschool or virtual learning families. Start a group in your school district if one is not already established. 
  •       Set up a special place. Make an area designated for work or school. Enter those spaces in the mindset of going to work or your child(ren) going to school. Entering those spaces should be an indicator to others in your home that it is time for you to concentrate on your job or school work. Leaving those spaces should allow you to take a break or mean you are done. Of course there will be crossover while working, homeschooling, or virtually learning from home, but having separate spaces will allow you and others to detach from those responsibilities when needed.
  •       Be intentional. Have a pattern to your day and keep a list of things you must do daily.
  •     Make a Quiet Box. Fill two boxes with engaging items that are quiet and only use them during special times. Include items such as audio and regular books, board games, cards, coloring books and supplies, tablet with only educational apps/games, art supplies, play doh, or anything else quiet a child can do on his or her own time. Switch the boxes so your child is not doing the same quiet activity every time he or she receives a box.
  •       Take pauses or tangents. Schedule daily downtime for both you and your child. Put some fun in between long periods of work. Be flexible and allow for impromptu down time when times are tough. Jump back on schedule when the stress is lifted. Keep a Plan B ready for days that are particularly hard.
  •       Set realistic goals.Try to only tackle three goals at a time. Once an item is complete, cross it off and add another item. Focus on what you can juggle at one time and say “no” to things that you can’t do all at the same time. Outsource if need be – hire tutoring, find another parent to cover certain subjects with your child and vice versa, find a program to assist your child in topics that you are less familiar with.

Some questions to consider when homeschooling or virtually learning:  

  • How does your child learn? 
  • Where are they academically? 
  • Do they have learning glitches? 
  • Do you have attention issues or behavior to consider? 
  • How is your child’s mental health? 
  • What are your child’s passions?  
  • Do you have multiple age groups to consider?

Answering those questions and personalizing your child’s homeschooling or virtual learning experience will make the content more relatable for your child. It won’t make education feel like a chore. Celebrate meeting goals and reward your child with positive feedback or incentives.  Homeschooling and virtual learning can be fun, exciting, positive, and rewarding for not only your child, but also for you and build a closer relationship between you both.

INCORPORATING SPEECH PRACTICE

When homeschooling or learning at home, there are many opportunities to incorporate practice of speech targets, regardless of the level of your child. Here are tips to think about in general:

 

  • Your child’s SLP is your coach, tutor, and guide for your home practice. There is information that you need to find out including what are appropriate,functional targets that you should be practicing? Only pick one or two targets to focus on during the day. The words/phrases you practice during school activities should be words that the child is able to say correctly, consistently, and with minimal cueing. The point is to practice words in a variety of situations throughout your day, (not just during speech therapy time) so that the motor plan becomes automatic. If the child struggles to get the word correct, you spend time and energy getting it right which interrupts the flow of the activity and can cause frustration, so it is better to put that word in a speech practice session rather than during other activities. 

 

  • If your child requires cueing to get the correct production, be sure you are comfortable with giving your child cues. Have your child’s SLP watch you give cues to help you be successful.

 

  • Functional phrases are great to do during activities: “I do”, “me too”, “my turn”, “I see”, “go now”, “I do it”, “I put it”, “put it in”, “put it on”. 

 

  • Ask questions like: “Who wants a snack?” or “Who wants a turn?” The child can say “me” or “I do.”

 

  • During physical activities, choose a word or phrase to repeat “push”, “go”, “up”, “down”, ready, set, go”, “high”, “low”. 

 

  • Cooking can be a very educational activity and there are lots of opportunities to use words repetitively: “open”, “in”, “wash”, “hot”, “yum”, “yuck”, “more”, “wet”, “stir”, “mix”, “sift”.

 

  • Consider having the child say the target 3-5 times before moving on with the activity. 

 

  • Vary the pitch, loudness, and rate during multiple repetitions to increase prosody. Say the word like a lion, a mouse, a bear, a snake…  Say it quietly, loudly, happily, angrily, sadly. Changing the voice during repetition helps to make it more automatic and solidifies the motor plan!

 

  • Remember to always provide support to your child and praise them for working so hard, trying to improve their speech, how much you like to hear their words – even if they are not perfect or if you don’t understand everything they say. Practicing speech words should not be painful or frustrating. You are there to provide support and let them know it is ok to make mistakes. Point out if you say something incorrectly!  

 

  • Try to be in front of the child and on their level when you want them to pay attention to what your mouth is doing when you provide models of their words. Sometimes that is the only cue needed!

 

  • Bring in other family members to help – siblings, spouse, grandparents… the more people who are aware of what your child is working on, the more practice he/she will get!

 

When you need a break from school work, have book sharing time. Working on pre-literacy and literacy skills is so important as many children with CAS struggle with reading. Parents can read a book to the child, or go online to have a book read with sound/music (Like Story Online here: https://www.storylineonline.net/) During book sharing, point out or talk about

  • rhyming words from the story (Dr. Seuss books)
  • words with the same sound at the beginning, 
  • words that have a sound/word/phrase they are working on, 
  • what sound a word starts with (not letter), 
  • Words on a page that starts with the same sound as their name,
  • Where the first/last word is on the page. 

 

Use of repetitive books are wonderful like Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carl. If the book has a word/phrase that they have targeted, pause and have them say that word/phrase as you are reading.  Ex: “Brown bear, Brown bear, what do you see?”  Pause for the child to say “I see” on their own or with you and then you continue – “a red bird looking at me.”  Or pause at the end of the phrase for the child to say ”me”. If your child is reading, pick a book at his reading level and you read a page and he reads a page. Ask comprehension questions – “where did the bear go?” and predictive questions “what do think will happen next?” or “What would you do if that happened to you?”  

 

More reading activities are here: https://growingbookbybook.com/reading-activities/preschoolers/

 

The most important thing is to have fun with the child.  That is what they will remember!!!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Searching and gathering information from the internet can seem cumbersome and overwhelming most of the time. Now factor in trying to comb through the seemingly endless information out there about schooling, virtual learning, and homeschooling and it’s hard to keep that defeated feeling at bay before you’ve even had a chance to begin. 

 

Below is a small ‘tool kit’ to help you prioritize your search and ensure you are gathering resources and information that are right for you. Before beginning, ask yourself a few questions. “What is the goal of my search?” or “Are there any specific questions I am looking to get answered?” will help you navigate what you are and are not looking for. 

 

Remember that you might have to read and go through a few different articles, websites, blogs, etc to make sure the guidance and resources you are using make the most sense for what you are trying to accomplish.  

 

Homeschool Tool Kit 

  • Look into your state’s requirements and laws 
    • Things vary state to state
    • Make sure when researching and using resources they pertain to your state AND county! 
    • Check out our State Associations page to learn more about your state and local homeschool laws! 
  • Research your options
    • You don’t have to decide on the first piece of information you come across 
    • Getting a different perspective may lead you to something that you might not have come to on your own 
    • Our Tips, Blogs, and Advice resource page is a great place to help what you might be looking to get out of a resource search! 
  • Join a local support group 
    • Connect with other parents in the community & share tips, struggles, and successes!
    • A great opportunity for fields trips and social interactions with kids in the same grade/age range 
    • Click here to go to our State Resource page and find your state to get connected with a local support group near you! 
  • Decide on a method and curriculum 
    • Consider your child’s learning style, as well as YOUR teaching style 
    • What are some things that hold your child’s interest? 
    • Start your ‘all things curriculum’ search Here on our website!
  • Create a space 
    • Having a space that separates home life and school will help keep things organized
    • Don’t be afraid to get creative 
  • Set up specific goals 
    • Setting up daily, weekly, or monthly goals that are specific to any learning objectives you may have for your child 
    • This will help you stay on track and make sure you are covering everything you set out to & checking off those goals together will be a totally awesome feeling! 
  • Make a plan and define a schedule 
    • Writing out a plan and keeping a schedule will help everyone stay on task
    • Even if the ‘daily’ schedule is the same, you can absolutely play around with it and have fun! 
  • Be Patient & Trust the Process 
    • It may take time to find the best routine for your child, as well as yourself! 
    • If things do not seem like they are working, you can always switch things up


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