Step by Step Homeschooling Success

For today’s post, I am stepping aside for Jack & Lily’s Mum. To take you through step by step a homeschooling success with Lily. I mentioned some time ago that after Lily’s chromosome micro deletion diagnosis, we had been tested for it. The results came back that it was passed on from Natalie. Her understanding of the kids has always been amazing, this perhaps explains where it comes from, especially with Lily. As I didn’t write it, I’m quite happily to boast that this post is an amazing insight into homeschooling and communicating with the children. Something I’ve been really struggling with myself.

Step by step homeschooling success

Hi everyone I’m Natalie, Adams partner and mother to our two children Jack and Lily.

Today has been a good day. This afternoon I came downstairs to play with Lily whilst Adam got a few bits done. Lily and I was having a big tickle fight, she absolutely loves tickle fights! This distracted her from wanting daddy too.

Happily chasing her round our living room saying ‘I’m going to get you’ lily happily laughing her head off waiting for me to catch her. She collapsed laughing on the sofa whilst I was tickling her. As Lily was in a good mood I thought it would be a good opportunity to see if she’d do some schoolwork. Now we can’t mention the school part as Lily becomes far too distressed, and anxious at the very thought.

Getting started

So instead I said “oh look what I’ve found, I wonder if you can put this sentence together” Lily laughing replied happily “oh yes I can” so the “oh no you can’t” game starts. It’s always best to keep Lily’s interest where possible so I always try my best to keep tasks to interests of hers. Before we knew it Lily had completed the worksheet finding it interesting and no pressure of it being schoolwork she was enjoying doing it.

So I turned the page over to Lily’s delight all that she needed to do was copy the sentences putting capital letters at the start and full stops at the end. Lily wizzed through this page, “Mummy this is easy”. Every step of the way I tell Lily how well she’s doing, how proud of her I am and how clever she is. Lily likes praise so doing this throughout encourages Lily to carry on. Of course at the end of each sheet we add a quick tickle fight in and big praise for how amazing she’d done to complete the sheet.

The joy of maths

Still on a high note with the odd tickle in between Lily was happy to carry on still unaware it’s school work. Lily wanted to now do a maths sheet as maths is her favourite. See with maths it’s more black and white than English, her answers are either right or wrong which is more straight forward so she can cope with this.

Lily turns to number lines and with my guidance on how to work the sums out, Lily happily sat next to me smiling away giving me her answers with a little doubt in her voice. So I decided to make out I had no idea on the last 5 sums. I was pretending to act surprised and shocked when she gave me the workings out and answers. Lily really enjoyed teaching mum instead of mum teaching her. Making it a game seemed so much more fun and kept Lily’s interest throughout.

Incorporating an activity Lily loves

Subtraction was next only it was a picture of an elephant with sums in squares. She needed to solve the sum in each square, to be able to then colour the square in with the right colour from the chart of answers above. Lily loving arty projects I knew this was perfect for her. She has no confidence with subtraction and my maths isn’t brilliant. So I showed Lily how to use a number line to help her do the sums.

Colouring the elephant
Working hard


Throughout this sheet Lily wanted to guess which colour that square was, then do the sums as this kept Lily’s attention. So that’s what we did. We would both guess a colour first then work out her sums to see who was right, making this as fun as possible I’d say ‘oh no I got that one wrong’ she absolutely loved this. Lily took great pleasure in doing these sums so she could colour the elephant in. With her loving art this task is a fantastic way for lily to engage in learning, and be able to combine art together. Lily only saw this as an arty task, and had no idea she was learning along the way.

Homeschooling success coloured elephant
The completed elephant

Then Lily’s meltdown hits hard

Her final sheet was reading comprehension on Honeybees. Lily chose this sheet as she wanted to learn more about wonderful Honeybees.

Lily was fine whilst I read to her the information sheet which contained the answers for the questions on the following page. However Lily’s mood quickly changed, on the first question seeing she needed to write a medium size sentence, and thinking she needed to do this for every question. Lily started becoming distressed and a meltdown started. Crying, upset and anxious Lily kept repeating that ‘it’s too much’ ‘No one likes me’ I can’t do it’ ‘I’m too stupid’.

I sat next to Lily calmly, and spoke quietly as well as calmly to her, holding her by putting one arm round her and gently applied deep pressure by hugging her. I calmly said ‘Lily it’s ok, your very clever, look at all these sheets you’ve done. Wow your so much cleverer than me! Lets take a few minutes, it’s ok.” I was already seeing this as a big homeschooling success, but I wanted to see if we could do this last piece of work.

Controlling the anxiety and sensory overload

At this point I invited Lily to stand up with me and to walk round our living room calmly. I then sat down whilst Lily did 10 big jumps, at this point Lily sat next too me. I calmly mentioned how good the picture of the honeybees was and the interesting fact about their wiggle dance. We were soon both laughing, and having ago at their wiggle dance.

I then calmly said let’s give this question a go. I wonder what we can learn about honeybees, let’s do it word by word. At first Lily started to become upset again crying, but by remaining calmly at her side and just gently reminding her that it’s only one question. Which is about the difference between bumblebees and honeybees. By taking it one word at a time she’s so clever that she could do this. Still crying she reluctantly carried on writing out her answer. At this point Lily started to say she was tired so we finished this question and had a 5 minute break.

To keep Lily interested I started asking what colours are bees? She said black and yellow so I quickly replied with oh wow look your using a black and yellow stripped pencil it looks the same as bees. Lily was excited by this, laughing she said “Bees will think this pencil is another bee mummy and the end is there sting” this encouraged Lily to carry on.

There’s nothing wrong with giving a little help

With Lily struggling to read, I would read the section of text again. Where the answers to each individual question were in. Once I had read the information to her, I would repeat the question. Giving Lily plenty of time to process both what I had just said, and for her to find her answer.

Lily has always needed extra processing time. So by allowing her this extra time I was removing pressure and avoiding the meltdowns that would follow. After a few minutes I would gently guide Lily if she had not given me any answers. Again this would be done in a playful manner “oh Lily I think it’s somewhere on this line, what about you?” At this I was directing Lily towards the answer without giving it to her.

With reading Lily struggles to read text when it’s black text on white paper. She has previously said the letters/numbers move about. Which is common for children and adults alike, that have learning disabilities. So Lily uses a little slip of red see through plastic sheet, that she puts over the text to make this stand out more. Therefore making it easier for her to read. This also makes it clearer for Lily to read and stops the letters/numbers moving about on the page.

How we helped Lily to Read


The sheets we use and that I used as a child, are coloured projector sheets. If you wish to try this with your child,to start with you’ll need the different colour sheets. Then get a piece of text the text being black on a white piece of paper. This could be in a text book, worksheet or something you type up on a Microsoft word account and print out. Sit with your child and have this document with you. Then simply place the text infront of your child and then place the different coloured sheets over the page with the text, on doing each colour sheet individually.


Each time ask your child if they can see as well as read the text easier with the coloured sheet on the page. At the end ask which colour sheet makes it easier for them to read. At this point you may need to place a few sheets back over the text for your child to be able to say fully. Each child is different so may find different colours suit them better than others.


Then going forwards when doing readings or writing tasks with your child use the colour sheet to place over what your child is reading. I would recommend having a few spare colour sheets that your child prefers. We’ve also designed it so it’s cut to the size of a sentence or 2 so Lily doesn’t always need the full sheet, and it helps Lily to identify where she is within the text.

You can buy these in most places, here’s a direct link to amazons website where it’s tends to be the cheapest place to purchase them. Should you wish to try them with your child. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Assorted-Colour-Acetate-Transparent-Plastic/dp/B00Y0VDRZK

Finishing the work

Homeschooling success


Knowing it would be too much for her to write full sentences, like the worksheet asks. I instead just asked Lily to simply write the answers below the questions to reduce the pressure on her. As Lily worked her way through the questions she’d become a lot happier. Talking freely about things she’d already learnt about honeybees and putting that together with the sheet. One question Lily didn’t require any help with, and she was very proud of herself for this, as she should be. Then the last question came. This was a fascinating fact about honeybees. Lily wanted to say about there wiggle dance, so she copied the text to answer the question, and every so often we’d be laughing as we’d have a go at the wiggle dance.

This completed Lily’s worksheets for today. At the end I could not believe she’d completed 6 worksheets. The whole time I’d made it fun and interesting keeping her mind busy, and not at any point did I mention that it was schoolwork. She was allowed breaks including movement breaks, as Lily is very hyperactive, and struggles with staying still. This was a huge homeschooling success. More importantly Lily was super proud of herself. At no point did I actually think Lily would take part, or that she’d work through her meltdown with me. Then come out the other side happy and excited.

Lily’s reward for doing all these sheets was to play hide and seek with daddy and her baby doll who she hasn’t given a name yet. She was very excited about this and very proud of herself.

We never claim to be super parents, and homeschooling has proved difficult. Today was the most work Lily has done in a day, and we are so proud of her. Do you have any homeschooling success stories? How are you engaging your children in learning? Leave a comment below. The

Dad Does Autism

My name is Adam. I live with my partner Natalie, and our 2 children Jack and Lily. Both children are autistic, it is now my mission to show what life around autism is like. Spread the awareness and gain the acceptance that autistic people deserve.

15 thoughts on “Step by Step Homeschooling Success

  • May 2, 2020 at 3:52 pm
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    Some brilliant strategies. I especially love the wiggle dance, it sounds like you made learning fun, which is so important.

    Reply
  • May 2, 2020 at 4:07 pm
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    I really want to join in the wiggle dance 😂

    Really great work my mum and Lily!

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    • May 3, 2020 at 3:39 pm
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      Very inspirational, your blog is a valuable source of information. Thank you for sharing.

      Reply
  • May 2, 2020 at 9:42 pm
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    Such a great approach to getting an autistic child to do some work, but be comfortable and happy at the same time. Well done.

    Reply
  • May 3, 2020 at 5:36 am
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    You may not claim to be super parents, Adam & Natalie, but you surely are! This entire homeschooling day was woven together with a mother’s love & patience. Lily is adorable and quite the artist! I love the tip about using transparent acetate sheets in different sizes and colors for easier reading. I’d never heard of that before, but I can see that it would be very helpful.

    Reply
  • May 3, 2020 at 1:19 pm
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    It sounds like you are doing an amazing job, Natalie! I imagine homeschooling is tough but it sounds like you are keeping things fun and enjoyable. You have excellent strategies and it looks like Lily produced some fantastic work, well done! Thanks for sharing your experience, really interesting to read and all the best with future homeschooling! <3 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    Reply
    • May 8, 2020 at 8:01 pm
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      Making games out of things such as the school work is a great idea and one me and my partner do with the kids too, it seems to make them engage in the task at hand more too. The tickle game is a massive favourite, who doesn’t love a good tickle fight right. Great Post Adam your partner has written well.

      Reply
      • May 8, 2020 at 8:18 pm
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        Thanks, I hate tickle fights 🤣 so the fact Lily wants one about 4 times a day is a nightmare that I just have to get over.

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  • May 3, 2020 at 4:53 pm
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    Wow it sounds like you’ve done an absolutely amazing job! This post has some really valuable information that could help loads of people who are homeschooling. I particularly love the idea of the wiggle dance! You’ve made learning fun and that’s exactly what it should be – thanks for sharing!

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  • May 3, 2020 at 5:27 pm
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    Really great work from both Mum
    and Lily! So many helpful things in this post.

    Reply
  • May 3, 2020 at 6:10 pm
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    It sounds like you’re doing an amazing job and have great strategies in place to keep her engaged and help her when she’s struggling. Homeschooling is tough! Being able to find ways to make it more fun for her is an amazing skill x

    Sophie

    Reply
  • May 3, 2020 at 8:32 pm
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    Sounds like you guys are making the best out of what is a stressful situation for a lot of people. Keep up the good work recognizing her needs, and I’m sure she will do just fine. Hang in there!

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  • May 5, 2020 at 11:38 pm
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    Aww, it sounds like you’re doing an amazing job! I bet you’re a wonderful teacher. I would love to join in with the Wiggle dance, what fun. I really admire your strategies. This is a really crazy time, I know I struggle trying to homeschool myself and my little brother. It can be hard but you’re amazing 🙂

    Em x

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    • May 6, 2020 at 2:31 pm
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      Everyone seems to love the wiggle dance 😂😂

      Reply
  • May 7, 2020 at 6:05 pm
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    I love this. Such a great of making learning fun, but also getting work done that’s needs to be done.

    Reply

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