Our weekly schedule changes every week, but in general we are working on school goals and activities 4 days a week and we are going to therapy one day a week. Homeschooling with my crew likely looks a little different then someone else’s homeschooling day! Yes, we work on academics, workbooks, and hands on activities! We also have other activities to work on skills that are working toward a very different goal: self help and independence!
In their formal IEP’s, some of the goals for my children have previously been to identify objects, follow directions, play with others, focus on an activity, appropriately respond to greetings, transition between activities without difficulty. You know, LIFE stuff. Things that they’re going to use between now and forever, that will help them to survive as adults in this society.
When our children are 30, what do we want them to do for themselves? What are the steps to getting there? How do we break those steps down in to reasonable chunks and goals to begin working on now? Of course many of these skills I would expect most of them to do before 30, but start with the simple things that are REALLY important life skills and go from there! A lot of those may be modified for Wesley, too, with his difficulty physically.
In a typical day of an adult, you would get up, take a shower, get dressed, brush your hair, put on deodorant, eat breakfast, brush your teeth, then go about your day’s activities. Each of those takes multiple steps! Right now we’re working hard on getting dressed independently with some of the kids that don’t already, and they can all EAT breakfast on their own (we haven’t begun teaching them to prepare it).
Things like showering independently aren’t something that you just teach while in the shower, though! Before they are totally independent there will likely be a time when I need to say “did you wash your hair? Did you wash your arms and legs? Did you wash your body?” In order for those things to be meaningful they need two skills: 1. Be able to answer yes and no questions CORRECTLY based on a previous experience. 2. Know all the parts of their body so they can understand the specific question. Those are two things that we can work on in many different scenarios that will help get them to a skill goal.
Identifying objects, following directions, answering questions… we spend a lot of time in all sorts of different activities that work on those areas! Even… when we’re out and about. Maybe especially! Practicing and learning skills for use in a grocery or department store, skills for waiting in the doctor’s offices and crossing parking lots… Those are things that the kids NEED to learn, and they are doing great with them
Of course, we have “traditional” school time too. Academics and workbooks and puzzles and coloring. But we are getting a good measure of social and self-help skills in on a regular basis along with the book learning stuff!!