Homeschooling My Autistic Son in Covid Quarantine Times
After a few years’ hiatus I am starting this blog again. I will repost some old articles as I develop this site. My goal is to share what I’m learning as we go. This blog can be helpful to those who are raising an autistic or special needs child. And some information, such as recipes, are great for everyone! I will write about education, everyday life, sensory issues and therapies. Basically a whole variety of things!
The Beginning of Homeschooling
It is the beginning of June 2020. We have been out of school since mid-March, so about 10 weeks. When the coronavirus started to spread, everything came to an abrupt halt. I remember going to Costco to stock up for what we thought would be a temporary shut down.
Thursday March 12, 2020. I spent the night preparing for Pi Day at school, peeling and chopping apples and slicing strawberries. We were prepping apple and strawberry pies for a 6th grade party.
But the next day, Friday March 13, we got word that the school was closing. (Wait, did that really happen on a Friday the 13th? Crazy.)
And it has since remained closed. Our school district decided to use the snow days built into the calendar. Then as time progressed it ran into our Spring Break. We slowly realized we were in this for the long-term, and we hunkered down in our homes and hid from the virus.
The switch to online distance learning
The school district then implemented online learning and it’s been challenging. Teachers had to get up to speed with teaching through the internet. And parents had to learn how to homeschool. I realize it’s a lot different from traditional homeschooling. There’s no opportunities for social outings or playdates with other kids. I guess I’ll call it Covid homeschooling.
Online learning can be challenging on a regular basis, especially when you’re first starting out and figuring out how it all works. It’s even MORE challenging with a special needs kid. My son is in 4th grade and he found it hard to have sessions through his laptop. I’m not exactly sure why, there is some sort of disconnect and he has a hard time paying attention and answering questions. It may have to do with the struggle that some autistic kids face with reading social cues. He does MUCH BETTER with live instruction.
I have to say his autism teacher has been doing a fantastic job. She has morning meetings about 30 minutes long. We have our opening song, talk about the calendar and hear a story. Then she has individual sessions with my son twice a week. Sometimes the speech therapist joins in too.
When we first started my son would cry and beg to go back to school. So I explained that there were many sick people out there and they had to close the schools. BUT, one day he would be going back. I would repeat this explanation over and over.
It’s been so hard for him, school is his Happy Place. It truly breaks my heart that he can’t be there.
But over the weeks my son started to adjust to the online learning. He stopped crying during the sessions. He still has a hard time focusing and interacting with teachers and peers. But hey it’s progress!
What does the future hold?
The school year will be ending in a couple weeks. Then we will have another 10 weeks of summer vacation. And that’s assuming school starts up on time. No one really knows what the future holds. I do know we probably will not return to a regular school schedule. I’m guessing IF we return, it’ll be on a part-time basis.
In the meantime, that leaves me to figure out what to do for the next several months. Possibly longer. I’ve been furloughed so I have more time on my hands, in a way it’s a blessing because it enables me to focus more on schooling.
What are your plans for the summer? Chime in below, I’d love to hear your ideas.