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Help with balancing needs and time . . .


mktyler
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My situation is this:

1. oldest dd11 has asperger's, and add. Really needs help keeping her going. Is depressed and struggling.

 

2. dd7 has add and struggles with memory and language issues.

 

3. ds5 has asperger's, sensory integration and add. Extremely aggressive. Upsets dd11 and dd7 all the time.

 

4. ds2 enough said.

 

5. dh depressed

 

6. me depressed, add, sensory integration disorder, aspergers, multiple health issues.

 

Everyone is getting help but it all takes so long and is incremental.

 

I am at my wit's end. I don't know what to do with my children. I moved to separate schooling and that has helped, but my kids fight all the time and it overwhelms me. I feel such grief over the way my family is; it is so different than the idea I had when I started homeschooling. I am trying to move on and accept this is who we are, but the failed expectations do get in the way.

 

I think that I should put my son in school. We have a charter school designed for HFA and aspergers. However, that doesn't start until next August. The only way I can keep my son "happy" is with movies and videos, however when these are put on, my girls are sucked in and it is so difficult to get them to do anything. I'm scared I'm turning my son into Cable Guy.

 

So, what can I do right now to make things better for my family till I can get some of the stuff taken care of? I've been thinking for the remainder of the year to cut everyone's schooling down to a minimum, just to ease some of the pressure for everyone. I need help as to what to do with my son until I can get him into something.

 

Thanks for listening!

 

Melissa

Minnesota

Reading Program Junkie

dd(11) dd(7) ds(5) ds(2)

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You do have a lot going on.

 

Do you qualify for respite services at all? That is a HUGE help here. I get a few hours a week of time to myself or with dh while the kids are well cared for. I can chose who watches them so often it is my best friend.

 

I don't know what help you are getting right now, but if you are not seeing one, a TOP NOTCH pediatric psychiatrist might be of great value. Again, I don't know your views on medication but for some kids, it is life changing--and for their families.

 

My own daughter was not expected to be able to stay at home past preschool age due to many special needs. She is now 14 and doing very well. She is on medication for bipolar and ADHD. It has made a huge difference in her life and our family.

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Thank you for your replies! I read my post and went AHH! Is that really my life right now?

 

We are scheduled to see a ped psych in March for everyone. I recently started on Ritalin and probably everyone will be on ritalin eventually. Everyone has had a primary visit but it takes a while to get into the specialist.

 

I am divided about what to do. I want to teach my son -- it is the best time with him. However, I feel I can't adequately address my girls' needs and his needs at the same time.

 

I will talk to my friend who is the only one with whom I have been able to successfully leave him. Perhaps we could set up some babysitting exchanges so I can have some regular planning and alone time.

 

My husband is very supportive, as much as he can be. This situation is overwhelming to him as well.

 

I haven't had a chance to explore further services, but they told me I was eligible for county services, perhaps I can get a para or something.

 

I feel a little better - I was able to read 3 books to my kids this am, which is unusual.

 

Thanks,

Melissa

Minnesota

Reading Program Junkie

dd(11) dd(7) ds(5) ds(2)

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One thing that might help everyone is adding a very good fish oil supplement. You want to get 1000mg of EPA (not just total fish oil) per day--even for the younger ones.

 

I use Country Life Omega 3 Mood--2 capsules per day. The Omega Brites http://www.omegabrite.com are also very good--3 per day or 2/3 tsp. of the liquid.

 

Try to get everyone some exercise OUTSIDE and maybe look at vitamin D levels as well. My girls both came up low on the blood test and it is SUPER easy to supplement. I was surprised in a way because they are outside in the sun every day--often many, many hours a day--even in the winter.

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Sometimes just cutting back to essentials is what everyone needs. Reading, math, grammar as the focus then do the rest as you can. I had to do that the first year of my dd's life. If you have access to educational computer games, use those instead of just videos and schedule them when you need them most. It was kind of pricey, but we used Time4Learning that year as well. My son loved the educational games and could do those while I tackled other things. We would also check out some titles for free from our local library.

 

If your son is receiving OT or other therapies, use that as special time with your girls instead of catch up time on things like house work and errands. The same can be said for your son - use therapy times as a way to get 1-1 time with the others.

 

Is there a program/preschool now that he could attend half day or even a day or 2 a week instead of waiting until August? You mentioned a babysitting exchange - a friend of mine has exchanged laundry services with a neighbor for babysitting so that her spectrum son. She does send some school work with him for 1-1 teaching as they have time.

 

In the meantime :grouphug::grouphug::grouphug:

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First of all big hugs to you and your family!! :grouphug:

While I only have three kids I can really relate to what you are experiencing. My oldest son, 11, is an Aspie (with SPD/ anxiety/ ADD), middle son,7, has ADHD and dyslexia and SPD and I have a 4 year son with developmental delays - he started finally potty training about two months before his 4th birthday and still has accidents, he also has speech delays and SPD. Add in my oncoming fibromyalgia/back problems and my mom who lives with us having fibro and bad osteoarthritis (I end up driving her to most of her dr apptmts with the kids in tow) and my house is a madhouse sometimes!

 

What I have been doing is trying to set small, attainable goals on a daily basis, and when we are having a good day or week we do more. I keep all of my kid's work in small bites so that they can take frequent breaks throughout the day (especially my hyper 7 year old - he can't stay in a seat for long). This allows me to take a break as well, go check laundry, wash a few dishes, play with the 4 year old for a minute, plan a meal, etc... I plan in space where it's ok for the kids go outside to swing or go play in their rooms.

 

If I'm having a bad pain day it's ok to just focus on the 3r's, we do math, writing and bible and try to review our language vocab - I make the schedules and can always push something to the next day or the next week if possible.

 

I focus on simple daily routines:

- spend 15-30 mins with some short memorization/character lessons (we read a story from the Children's Illustrated Bible and talk about it a little) and always some prayer - we need it! lol

 

- 10-15 mins on Writing With Ease per each older children (this is a short read aloud, a few comprehension questions and narration or dictation)

 

- 15-30 mins per older kids on our math practice/lesson.

 

- 15 mins Songschool Latin for younger child

 

- 30 mins Latin for Children for older child

 

(We have chosen to do Latin and started learning the Greek alphabet using The Greek Code Cracker - this is replacing our logic workbooks this "semester". Both lessons involve chanting, clapping, singing and some fun puzzles and are enjoyed by the kids. For the most part Latin and Greek are considered a treat during the school day.)

 

Twice a week:

- 30-45 mins on history work (reading a part of a chapter from story of the world, comprehension questions, coloring a sheet, doing map work)

 

- 10 mins Grammar for younger (FLL)

and

-15 mins Grammar for older (FLL 4)

 

-15-30 mins RS4K Biology and reading some science encyclopedia's for kids, animal sticker books, etc..

 

If you add in some free reading and read alouds either at bedtime or a few times during the week you have about 2-2.5 hours in total of "school" each day per child, older with a little more, younger with less. Of course Mom ends up doing 3-4 hours total if you do everything but still that's usually manageable. With our breaks some days we don't finish until mid-afternoon but I've learned for us that is better than stressing out and trying to finish before lunch. If I'm working with one child one-on-one the other either gets a short break (mini trampoline/snack/daydreaming/looking at Pokemon cards) or works on his daily sheet of copywork/Readywriter or does some handexercises using playdough.

 

Rather than being stressed it's more important that everyone is getting their emotional and physical needs met (including you!). We focus on everyone getting enough sleep (this means we don't start school some days until 10am), everyone gets their vitamins (multi, omegas, b12 for me and oldest son) in the morning and we all get some kind of daily exercise (this can be tricky at times). At our mid-morning break (after about three subjects) the kids walk the dog and/or go swing outside and I try to do some therapy exercises for my back and 10 minutes on the exercise bike. If I'm having a bad day physically I may just veg and enjoy a little peace! lol

 

We are doing the best we can - if I thought that I could find some outside schooling for any of my kids that would be better suited to their needs I wouldn't hesitate to go that route. I've tried ps and IEP's and have found trying to get diagnosis and eval's to be more effort than I can afford most days - at this point it seems to be more productive to use my energy for my family and address their needs as best I can, while constantly evaluating progress and emerging needs. Everything listed above is just what is working for me right now, the schedule and plan will change if my needs change.

 

The most important thing in my opinion is that you give yourself a break and your kids a break - whatever you need! Set some reasonable expectations for yourself and your kids and let go of feeling like a failure. It's hard but for your sanity a must.

 

After rereading your post wanted to add - my youngest son is also very aggressive with my olders and I have to take a strong stand with him to get his attention. Even if I'm in the middle of school I'm learning to get up and take him to time out, redirect his play, or whatever is needed. Over time his behavior is getting better. Sometimes he just needs a little attention. I've had to pretty much limit no tv/computers while we do school - like your kids mine are totally lost if a screen is on in their vicinity. Occasionally I allow my youngest to watch a dvd in another room (nearby) while we do school but generally speaking he has to play near us (trains, blocks, puzzles, coloring, etc). Adding in another child would be very difficult for me so I can really sympathize. My approach is always to just try to schedule breaks to set up some kind of entertainment/play with the littles and try to do the seatwork (math, writing, handwriting) during naptime of the baby. I also have my older kids take turns playing with the 4 year old while I'm doing one on one work with the other child. It isn't always ideal but it works more often than not. All of this takes practice and training, especially for the younger child but over time they can learn how to play together. Helping with a younger sibling counts as helping mom (just like taking out the trash, walking the dog, cleaning up toys in the living room, etc...) and are counted as effort for the family when we go shopping and they want some kind of little toy or treat. Incentives can work wonders with kids of all ages! :P

Edited by Verity
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I have my oldest in school. There's just no way I could work with him enough to hs him and get anything else done.

 

I school ds and dd separately. I'm lucky that dd is starting to be able to do some things by herself after I introduce them.

 

If I'm with one kid, the other can watch a video in my bedroom where it won't disturb the other or play quietly. They've also started to read a bit for fun so hopefully we can ditch TV in a year or so.

 

I hope you can find a solution until August.

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You have been so helpful!

 

Little by little the pieces are coming together. My oldest two are going to spend T and H at a friend's house where she will direct their studies. We already meet with them 2x a week but this will give my girls a break from their brother and greatly reduce the friction in the family.

 

I have decided to eliminate a bunch of subjects for my 11yo d and have set these goals for her:

 

1. Finish Saxon 7/6 by June

2. Finish R & S LA 4 by June

3. Finish reading Twelfth Night

4. Finish Dictation Day by Day 4 by June

5. Finish Real Science 4 Kids Chemistry

 

I hate using the TV so much but I think peace is the most important thing right now. I have some daily therapy in the wings for my 5 yo so I can at least know that it won't be forever.

 

My husband started taking my son to the gym with him this week and it has improved their relationship which is helpful. Also my husband started reading about Asperger's and ADHD, which is a good sign; I think he's been in denial.

 

I also started seeing an ADD coach/therapist this week so hopefully I can get a better handle on myself.

 

Thanks so much for listening, it has meant a lot.

 

Melissa

Minnesota

Reading Program Junkie

dd(11) dd(7) ds(5) ds(2)

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