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Supporting flexibility with health and school

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    Supporting flexibility with health and school

    I know we are not the only ones that struggle with chronic/recurring illness.

    My little guy has been crying this morning...ha not so little! He is going to be 13 this next week...ok now I am crying ha! I am not ready for all these big kids <3 Sickness all week has put us in an emotional mood.
    Anyhow he is frustrated once again by his limitations...

    The problem lies in that ASD need to be on schedule and follow the routine conflicting with the reality of having medical limitations... when he was younger it never mattered and we just always moved forward where we were at taking in one week and day at a time. His health was a huge reason we never put the kids in school knowing that he would most likely never be able to finish/attend a regular school year. And it always worked well...

    But now he is more and more aware of the world outside which is great to see but he keeps comparing..."other kids don't do lessons on Saturday or Presidents' day, other kids don't do school in the summer..." except given the amount of snow days they some times do ha! I try to help him be flexible but we have been so sick this last 2 weeks and he is upsetting himself about being "behind" He keeps wanting to "be done with school to play with the other kids this summer" though the sad reality is probably he will have no one to play with.

    He knows exactly how many days and weeks each book "should" take and has countdowns and talleys in his head...he insists on attempting lessons when too ill to really focus and my choice becomes face a full panicking meltdown by preventing the attempt or allowing it then comforting and supporting the emotional though smaller meltdown when he can not accomplish simple tasks because of being ill. It is a hard path set for him!

    We shoot to take July-August and various Holy seasons off...the weather is usually dry and sunny enough in those 2 months for him to be outside running most of the day with out risk of hives so he is ok just playing wild boy all day ha! But it takes 40-45 weeks most years to get through the work due to illness delays ...though the work load does get lighter and lighter as we get to the end and finish things off... we do often add one extra lit book for fun and to keep us occupied through rainy June days...but he knows where we are at on any given day in every book and where he thinks we should be relative to when we started...sheesh he has a clock and calendar 3 years out in his head...and I can not help him let that go...

    Today after a failed attempt to do his math lesson he is comforting himself watching/listening to the Highland Horatius at the Bridge recitation videos on youtube to practice...I would pay hard money for any other videos or audio of recitations for each year...does such a thing exist? At MP or Highlands? Esp when his urticaria is so bad he has trouble with vision he feels comforted listening to something related to his lessons. He feels like he is still working... I used to be able to distract him with reading or audio books but if it is not related directly to his current school work he will have none of it...

    I get sad because he is so mean/down on himself verbally and physically when he can not work to plan...I have been working on some home therapy with him to work on flexibility and his reactions to the unexpected but obviously it is a work in progress, time and patience and practice...

    I build in the extra time in our plans to accommodate for illness and the unexpected but somehow he sees it a challenge or time to beat that he is failing at when compared to others...honestly he is so much healthier than he used to be that I see every day we do lessons as a cause for rejoicing and take sick days in stride I wish he could do the same.

    Anyone have suggestions about helping kids not compare or being ok with having an outside the norm schedule...ways of talking about schedules or lesson plans with your dc?
    I tried whiting out all the numbers on our lesson plans one that did not go over bawahahha.

    Goodness I feel like I always repeat the same silly questions I always ask but goodness he does grow and change and I forget that until my support techniques stop working!
    I end up thinking "didn't I just figure this out?" ha!

    Thanks!
    Last edited by MaggieAnnie; 03-14-2017, 12:48 PM.
    Winter 2020 :
    DD - Graduated!
    DS - core 10 with remediation/support
    DD - core 7 with remediation/support
    DS - core 5 with remediation/support

    #2
    Re: Supporting flexibility with health and school

    Hi, MaggieAnnie.

    Would it be possible to create a new, more realistic planner for him? I needed to do this with my son and daughter (also schedule-relying people with ASD) around age 13.

    I divided some lessons into smaller bites, so then I could list a pared-down number of lessons we wanted to finish by the end of each month, rather than by the week. The new-and-improved planner gave us "wiggle room" for medical or emotional issues. It also eliminated the feeling (for them and me) of perpetually being behind. Yet they still had a monthly guide, and this gave them good direction on days they could work. It became more task-focused than day-focused. Tasks could be completed any time, so long as they were completed.

    During those years, a reminder stayed on our board: "Be Flexible and Agreeable." Like you, we reviewed flexible thinking often.


    If you can create a more individualized monthly planner, you will then need to have a conversation about his broad, long-term "game plan." He needs to understand that his medical challenges are real, and they are not his fault. No matter how hard he tries, they are there. This might change in the future, but right now you and he need to make a course-correction, because these conditions require a few modifications. A new, revised planner could help him visualize such modifications.

    If you get this far, then he may understand mathematically that these necessary accommodations will mean either 1) revising long-term goals to something different or 2) taking advantage of good-health days & weeks, even if these fall on snow days or government holidays. If the latter, those original long-term goals may eventually be achieved.

    If your husband or your neighbor or your son's favorite tv weatherman must work on President's Day, you can remind him of this as part of adulthood.


    But no matter what you decide, he needs a mood boost! We see this in our house too.

    I recently re-worked our white board to include a bright-red section of all fun things coming up in 2017. These are real, manageable items that they have been invited to enjoy. Both perked up to see so many things on the list this year. For example, we have a family driving trip planned this fall. It says Sept or Oct, rather than a specific date, because everyone's blood counts & emotional stability & overall health will need to be in place before we book anything specific.

    ...

    Regarding MP listening, ... could you add a mini-course called Listening to Latin? If you think he would do this, you could include the Latin Grammar CD, Latin pronunciation CD, and Lingua Angelica CD. This could be placed in his planner for his own choosing on those non-visual urticaria days.

    Or maybe the audio versions of his actual or upcoming MP literature selections? Something like this would make it seem purposeful, which it is, rather than a consolation activity.


    Just a few somewhat random ideas --

    It is hard to "plan" around the unpredictable, so I understand about combining medical needs & ASD needs!

    The most helpful thing for us has been overviewing any needed changes thoroughly. Whether a different planner or a change in today's schedule, they seem to handle this better when they see it all on the board. They seem to adapt much more easily, as if this is now the way it is just supposed to be.

    Let us know if something helps. As often happens, this situation creates a sort of crossroads -- forcing another step toward good self-knowledge.

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Supporting flexibility with health and school

      Big hug. <3

      I know -- I know! -- Cheryl can give you words of wisdom here as she has discussed this very issue before. So two quick things:

      1) Make a "master schedule" that he can do sick or well. Boxes to check off, a list of things to do. Make a "Sick" day schedule and a "well" day schedule. It will comfort him to know what to do regardless of what his health throws at him.
      2) I would be *more* than willing to send you a voice memo of anything you'd like performed for free. PM me your selections and your email and I'll get them out to you (one at a time) ASAP. I'm not a professional, but I have done some acting and stage work, so I can give you a passably soothing rendition of just about anything. I also used to sing professionally. Just let me know.

      All is well. No worries. Hug him, love him, pray over him.
      Boy Wonder: 10, MP2/SC4 (Special Needs)
      Joy Bubble: 8, MP2 (Special Needs)
      Snuggly Cowboy: 6, MPK
      Sweet Lightness: 2, Reverse-Engineering Specialist

      “Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”
      ~Pope St John Paul II

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Supporting flexibility with health and school

        Thanks guys!
        Anita you are sweet beyond words to offer! We are heading into the end 1/3 of this years books but i will look ahead and see if there is anything for next that would be a good one.

        It is time to shake up the planner we have.
        It has been a life saver the last few years for him but yes we need to mature into something else...I like the idea of a monthly planner but honestly can not visualize it at all
        we are so used to the MP style format. I will have to think on how that can be set up.
        Any old pics by chance Cheryl, ha!

        I think part of the problem is that long term plan/goal you mentioned..he is definitely feeling some loss as he grows and realizes that the dreams he had may not be achievable... were you the one that told the story of your son and the dream of military service?

        He is a planner ...once I found a list when he was about 7 that listed all the educational goals he would need in order to " Be a penguin doctor in the Antarctic and be a priest" with little check marks on the one he felt like he had accomplished "buy a coat, learn to read the bible better" <3 ...he still has a huge love of penguins but a few weeks after that he had his first cold hives attack , that plan is not gonna work out. There have been some bigger more serious conversations the last year about the reality of his health and learning issues and what that means as far a life of ministry and I have to say there is no other term than depression that he struggled with. Luckily a lovely, dare I say ancient ha priest took the time to sit with my son on a sunny bench during a summer trip and just listened and talked for several hours. While still very aware of his reality ds has been able to let some of the sadness go and has a renewed faith that even thought it may not be his plan that he very much has a place in God's plan...he has a lovely time serving at church with a strong support system so that helps. But he is left wondering what he is working towards.
        We do need that mood boost, this has been a super rough rainy winter and we have only 2 outside days all of March! We made a plan to sit down and plan some b-day activities.

        It is hard to get him to see his learning as something other than a means to and end...he so struggles to know why he is doing all this learning...the downside of living in the old STEM community we lived in was he picked up the idea that education is something you do to have a career or job and we are working not to discourage him from wanting to work but to see his education as a more intangible goal too...not just something to check off. For him everything is something to get to the next thing and it so hard to get him into the moment. We need to able to see learning as the long term plan.

        I like the idea of getting some Latin audio he has mostly focused on book work with his language learning.

        I wrote you "Be Flexible and Agreeable" right on the top of our board this morning , thanks for that!

        Thanks again to you both.
        Winter 2020 :
        DD - Graduated!
        DS - core 10 with remediation/support
        DD - core 7 with remediation/support
        DS - core 5 with remediation/support

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Supporting flexibility with health and school

          Originally posted by MaggieAnnie View Post

          ...now he is more and more aware of the world outside which is great to see but he keeps comparing..."other kids don't do lessons on Saturday or Presidents' day, other kids don't do school in the summer..." except given the amount of snow days they some times do ha! I try to help him be flexible but we have been so sick this last 2 weeks and he is upsetting himself about being "behind" He keeps wanting to "be done with school to play with the other kids this summer" though the sad reality is probably he will have no one to play with.

          He knows exactly how many days and weeks each book "should" take and has countdowns and talleys in his head...he insists on attempting lessons when too ill to really focus and my choice becomes face a full panicking meltdown by preventing the attempt or allowing it then comforting and supporting the emotional though smaller meltdown when he can not accomplish simple tasks because of being ill. It is a hard path set for him!

          We shoot to take July-August and various Holy seasons off...the weather is usually dry and sunny enough in those 2 months for him to be outside running most of the day with out risk of hives so he is ok just playing wild boy all day ha! But it takes 40-45 weeks most years to get through the work due to illness delays ...though the work load does get lighter and lighter as we get to the end and finish things off... we do often add one extra lit book for fun and to keep us occupied through rainy June days...but he knows where we are at on any given day in every book and where he thinks we should be relative to when we started...sheesh he has a clock and calendar 3 years out in his head...and I can not help him let that go...

          Today after a failed attempt to do his math lesson he is comforting himself watching/listening to the Highland Horatius at the Bridge recitation videos on youtube to practice...I would pay hard money for any other videos or audio of recitations for each year...does such a thing exist? At MP or Highlands? Esp when his urticaria is so bad he has trouble with vision he feels comforted listening to something related to his lessons. He feels like he is still working... I used to be able to distract him with reading or audio books but if it is not related directly to his current school work he will have none of it...

          I get sad because he is so mean/down on himself verbally and physically when he can not work to plan...I have been working on some home therapy with him to work on flexibility and his reactions to the unexpected but obviously it is a work in progress, time and patience and practice...

          I build in the extra time in our plans to accommodate for illness and the unexpected but somehow he sees it a challenge or time to beat that he is failing at when compared to others...honestly he is so much healthier than he used to be that I see every day we do lessons as a cause for rejoicing and take sick days in stride I wish he could do the same.

          Anyone have suggestions about helping kids not compare or being ok with having an outside the norm schedule...ways of talking about schedules or lesson plans with your dc?
          I tried whiting out all the numbers on our lesson plans one that did not go over bawahahha.

          Goodness I feel like I always repeat the same silly questions I always ask but goodness he does grow and change and I forget that until my support techniques stop working!
          I end up thinking "didn't I just figure this out?" ha!

          Thanks!
          Hi MaggieAnnie,

          My son (13 yrs) is struggling in a similar way. He doesn't have a chronic illness outside of ASD & anxiety, but he has the same problem you're describing of needing to work the MP curriculum at a slower pace and then tormenting himself by keeping tallies in his head of how far off he is from how long a book "should" take. Cheryl gave me some great advice earlier this year to combat this.

          I sat down with him and wrote out what was required by law to do as homeschooler in our state for middle & high school (which is not much), and what bare minimum skills he would need in each subject to survive as an adult, i.e. Math (be able to keep a household budget and make change), English (be able to write an intelligible letter and email), History (know how to find out applicable laws and vote) etc. Then I wrote out what they do in standard public schools, middle and high school. Then what is needed to attend a competitive university, and then what the scope & sequence is for HLS/MP and why there is so much more to a classical education.

          I found that he was incredibly relieved to see that HLS/MP is in the top tier of education in our society. It turned out he was thinking most American kids his age were sailing through Fourth Form Latin and starting Greek, while he was beating himself up for taking two years to go through First Form. I also broached the topic of taking longer than 4 years to do high school, and why that would be OK.

          I don't know if such a conversation would help your son, but just laying it all out like, "You're required by law to study these subjects at least until you are 18, and this is why we are pursuing these subjects using a challenging classical curriculum" helped my son see that while he is "behind" his peers at HLS or in 7A, the school work he is doing is still extremely valuable and rigorous. And just to acknowledge that the HLS curriculum is written for the high-achieving student, but even those students make adjustments, get sick and have to make up work on the weekend, or the teacher gets sick and they skip a few things, etc.

          I started off this year using the MP planner, but it was stressing him out because he couldn't complete the week's work in a week. I switched to the blank PDF planner, printed it out and bound it, and now I write in his assignments each week from the MP curriculum manual, in pencil, and then erase and adjust as the week goes on if we need to slow down further.
          Catherine

          2020-21
          DS17
          DS15
          DS13
          DD13
          DS8
          DD5
          DS 2.5

          Homeschooling 4 with MP
          2 in classical school

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Supporting flexibility with health and school

            Originally posted by MaggieAnnie View Post
            Thanks guys!
            Anita you are sweet beyond words to offer! We are heading into the end 1/3 of this years books but i will look ahead and see if there is anything for next that would be a good one.

            It is time to shake up the planner we have.
            It has been a life saver the last few years for him but yes we need to mature into something else...I like the idea of a monthly planner but honestly can not visualize it at all
            we are so used to the MP style format. I will have to think on how that can be set up.
            Any old pics by chance Cheryl, ha!

            I think part of the problem is that long term plan/goal you mentioned..he is definitely feeling some loss as he grows and realizes that the dreams he had may not be achievable... were you the one that told the story of your son and the dream of military service?

            He is a planner ...once I found a list when he was about 7 that listed all the educational goals he would need in order to " Be a penguin doctor in the Antarctic and be a priest" with little check marks on the one he felt like he had accomplished "buy a coat, learn to read the bible better" <3 ...he still has a huge love of penguins but a few weeks after that he had his first cold hives attack , that plan is not gonna work out. There have been some bigger more serious conversations the last year about the reality of his health and learning issues and what that means as far a life of ministry and I have to say there is no other term than depression that he struggled with. Luckily a lovely, dare I say ancient ha priest took the time to sit with my son on a sunny bench during a summer trip and just listened and talked for several hours. While still very aware of his reality ds has been able to let some of the sadness go and has a renewed faith that even thought it may not be his plan that he very much has a place in God's plan...he has a lovely time serving at church with a strong support system so that helps. But he is left wondering what he is working towards.
            We do need that mood boost, this has been a super rough rainy winter and we have only 2 outside days all of March! We made a plan to sit down and plan some b-day activities.

            It is hard to get him to see his learning as something other than a means to and end...he so struggles to know why he is doing all this learning...the downside of living in the old STEM community we lived in was he picked up the idea that education is something you do to have a career or job and we are working not to discourage him from wanting to work but to see his education as a more intangible goal too...not just something to check off. For him everything is something to get to the next thing and it so hard to get him into the moment. We need to able to see learning as the long term plan.

            I like the idea of getting some Latin audio he has mostly focused on book work with his language learning.

            I wrote you "Be Flexible and Agreeable" right on the top of our board this morning , thanks for that!

            Thanks again to you both.
            MaggieAnnie,

            This is so sweet! once I found a list when he was about 7 that listed all the educational goals he would need in order to " Be a penguin doctor in the Antarctic and be a priest" with little check marks on the one he felt like he had accomplished "buy a coat, learn to read the bible better" <3 ...he still has a huge love of penguins but a few weeks after that he had his first cold hives attack , that plan is not gonna work out.


            Just as in academics, can you aim toward approximations in life callings?

            For example, could he begin to volunteer somewhere warmer and more sterile than Antarctica or the penguin house, such as in a zoo's dietary section where they prepare food for penguins? Could he volunteer in a ministry-connected setting? You could call it "Exploration Toward Goal-Setting," or something like that to help him place specific goals on hold, until he finds something more suitable to his conditions.


            Yes, it was my son who,at one point, wanted to serve in the military. Scouting helped approximate this, because he wore a uniform, submitted to structure, and served. At other times, he wanted to be a pastor. He served as Chaplain Aide in scouting, helped as Assistant to the Director (me) in our summer Bible school. Once he wanted to be an EMT, but we told him that his slowed response time would preclude this; however, he could be in charge of our family first aid kit. This has been used surprisingly often, whether on hikes or errands. For years, he wanted to be Curator of our local town's history museum; instead, he was Junior Archivist and helped clean artifacts.


            When he was very small, my son wanted to be a shepherd; however, we never needed to approximate with any nearby sheep, because this seemed to be inspired only somewhat fleetingly by David of the Psalms.


            Your boy sounds truly charming.

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Supporting flexibility with health and school

              That is a good point to think about Catherine, I will go over those standards with him...both he and his big sis seem to think every kid the world is achieving and working at a this level far beyond them, I need to do rounds of reminders again that while we face difficulties we are setting ourselves to a higher standard and for good reason.

              The kids are always teasing about my metaphors but I tell them that most of the time everyone is strolling the easy path and they not only are managing a 75 lb back pack of challenges but climbing peaks with it as well...they may not climb as fast as some due to the extra weight but not everyone is even willing to do the hard work and boy the vistas make it worth the climb. At which point they roll their eyes "mom's using florid language again quick run" They think they are very funny!

              Oh Cheryl you made me laugh, I can just see that shepard...My son has a pom pom sling shot that always comes out after reading about David.
              And thank you. I find him very charming and sweet as well when he is not in totally normal kid fashion driving me up a wall just like his brother and sisters ha! He is often the most dedicated worker and first to notice someone lonely or in pain as well as being the most beloved by every baby at our parish.
              As always it is my tendency too much to dwell on the struggles and it helps seeing the gift we have through others eyes. Thank you for that reminder.
              Winter 2020 :
              DD - Graduated!
              DS - core 10 with remediation/support
              DD - core 7 with remediation/support
              DS - core 5 with remediation/support

              Comment

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