(Inside: Creating a homeschool routine for your autistic child doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems! You really just need to find your family’s rhythms and create a homeschool routine that works for everyone!)
I’m not great with schedules…
I work from home and homeschool, so I pretty much never know what day it is.
I wake up at different times every day.
As hard as I try to set a strict schedule, I can’t seem to follow it for more than an hour or two before I’m off track…
Naturally, my autistic son thrives on routine.
The same things, in the same order, always.
So we’ve had to figure out some sort of system that works for the both of us, and I’m sharing all about creating a homeschool routine for your autistic child with you!
Creating a Homeschool Routine for Your Autistic Child
See, my son needs a routine, but not necessarily a schedule.
We may get up at eight, or we may get up at ten, but either way when we get up we have breakfast and start school immediately after…
But how did we set up that routine?
First, let’s figure out exactly why we need a routine in the first place.
Why is a Homeschool Routine Important for Your Autistic Child?
Autistic people thrive on routines.
As much as I hate timed schedules, having a solid routine to my day is the only way I get anything done.
For A-Man, his routines help him feel safe because he knows what to expect.
After breakfast, we start school. After lunch, we take a rest time. After errands or outside time we have a snack.
These are constant routines that he can count on.
It’s reduced his meltdowns and his anxiety, and it’s helped my other kids feel more confident as well.
What Type of Homeschool Routine Fits Your Family?
Now, our family has to have what I call first, then routines.
First breakfast, then school. First reading, then math. First lunch, then rest.
Because breakfast is never at the same time each day, sometimes reading takes a little longer than normal, and sometimes we have some errands to run, so lunch gets pushed by a half hour.
Having first, then routines allows us to know what’s coming next while having flexibility in the details.
Other families thrive on timed routines.
At seven they have breakfast, and school starts by eight. Eleven means it’s snack time and two is screentime.
If that’s the type of routine that fits your family, awesome!
The point of this is to find whatever works for you and your autistic child and stick with it.
Inflexibles, Non-Negotiables, and Negotiables
Now it’s time to chat about the three major things that go into your routines.
First, inflexibles. Inflexibles are things that are at a specific time with no ability to change them… Maybe it’s a therapy session or other meeting.
Inflexibles get put into the routine first because, well, they’re inflexible. You have to plan everything else around it.
Next, we have non-negotiables. Non-negotiables are things that have to get done without exception, but they’re flexible in when and how they get done.
For example, you might have daily math and reading practice as a non-negotiable in your homeschool routine.
You’ll want to add these to your routine next because they have to get done one way or another.
And finally, we have the negotiables. These are things that should get done, but life doesn’t end if it gets missed.
Maybe it’s a typing practice or play date.
The negotiables go in last because if you don’t get to them it’s okay!
Remember to have grace for yourself, creating a routine isn’t always easy.
Using Natural Family Rhythms
My final tip is to pay attention to your natural family rhythms when you’re creating a homeschool routine for your autistic child.
We all get tired and cranky after lunch, so we make sure we add a rest there.
I’m not a morning person at all, so the kids talk and play in their room when they wake up.
I have busy work days on Mondays, so we keep school light those days.
Creating a homeschool routine is all about making something that works for all of you, so take everyone’s rhythm into account.
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