Students At Home

For Everyone who Learns at Home

How a Sock Changed My Career

For over five years, I’ve made a living writing web content. When I started, I was homeschooling my children, and I needed a flexible career I could manage during independent work times or after school.

Three years ago, we finally enrolled both of them in public school, but my days were still busy caring for them. My son has autism with behavioral and anxiety challenges. I never knew when I’d need to pick him up from school early. I also had to be available for numerous therapy appointments, snow and vacation days, and other emergencies.

Thankfully, my son has finally turned a corner this year. He’s mainstreamed at our local middle school, and he rarely has a problem that requires me to pick him up early. I still have multiple therapy appointments each month for him, but overall I have more free time during the day.

That’s why I decided to branch out this year and try my hand at subbing for classroom/office aides in our local school district. I have a Christian Education degree and have worked with children of all ages in various educational settings. And of course, I did and continue to teach my own kids at home. Several friends sub, and they shared information about how to get started and their positive experiences.

I took the plunge and applied. I filled out all the required paperwork and clearances and attended job training. I even have an official badge! I also applied to sub for the IU-13 and Substitute Teacher Services. I can still write in my free time, but I can also begin a fulfilling career in a classroom.

My first job was supposed to be Monday morning at the elementary school my son attended last year. However, a sock changed everything.

socks

You see, because of his autism, he has sensory issues. If his clothes feel the least bit tight, scratchy or irritating, he feels anxious and won’t wear them. We haven’t had any clothing issues for months, but he sure did have an issue this morning before school!

For some reason, his socks didn’t feel right. He has successfully worn these same socks for months with no issue, but suddenly they feel weird. He complained about the crease and how it felt on his feet and in his shoes. In the past, he simply switched the uncomfortable sock to the other foot where the crease is not an issue, but today, no tricks he tried worked.

As he tried on sock after sock and realized it was uncomfortable, he simply tossed it across the room. And his anxiety grew as he realized he would be late for the bus if he didn’t find socks soon.

My son’s anxiety attack lasted about 15 minutes. He screamed, shouted, cursed and cried.  It wasn’t until the very last possible second that he finally choose a pair of socks to wear and rushed out the door to the bus.

Today’s sock incident used to happen every day. I’m incredibly grateful that it only happens rarely now! However, because he does still have anxiety challenges, I decided to reevaluate my career.

Most substitute jobs require me to leave for work around 7 AM so I arrive at the school by 7:10 and have time to find the classroom and get my duty assignments before the students arrive. My kids don’t leave on the bus until 7:06.

Those six minutes are short and long.

What happens if he has another sock incident? I won’t be home to coach him through it. And since my husband leaves for work at 6:30, he’s unavailable. I also committed not to give my daughter, who’s two years older than him, the responsibility of parenting him.

After my children successfully walked out the door today, I brewed a cup of coffee, took a few deep breaths and spent time in prayer and soul-searching. For the sake of my children, I decided to pass on any jobs that require me to leave in the morning before they do. I’m disappointed, but it simply doesn’t make good sense for me to put my career before my kids at this point.

Which brings me to how a sock changed my career.

Because of this incident, I have decided to branch out and find new writing clients. I even began outlining several ebooks (topics to be announced!). I’m exploring other options, too, that allow me to be home for my kids and earn a living.

I know that for me, this is the right decision. And I trust that God will bring me opportunities and courage to search for new opportunities.He has always been faithful and will continue to be faithful in providing all our needs!

And I’m thankful for socks, too.

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Happy New Year!

Welcome 2017!

How are you celebrating? I’ll be watching movies with my family and enjoying traditional pork and saurkraut with homemade mashed potatoes and biscuits, a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition.

It’s also a day often set aside for making resolutions. I doubt I’ll do that because I usually end up falling off the wagon by the third day, but I did think it would be fun to learn something new today.

So what will I learn? How about how to say “Happy New Year” in 165 languages. Want to join me? Check out the list compiled by my freelance colleague Daisy Mariposa at http://hubpages.com/education/Saying-Happy-New-Year-in-165-Languages

Shana Tova!
2017
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DIY Made Easy

One of the bloggers I follow wrote an interesting post today. She introduced Kathy Ceceri, a DIY professional. Check out the post and learn about some fun, creative projects you can do with your kids!

I Want You To Meet Kathy Ceceri

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Who Are Your “Necessary People”?

In my inbox today, I found an interesting idea. Karen Ehman and her family surprised one of their family’s “necessary people” with a celebration.

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Her story made me consider the necessary people in my life. I would certainly include my spouse and kids, family and friends, but the list doesn’t stop there. Grocery store clerks, mail carriers, bank tellers, medical professionals, school teachers – they all are important.

So who are your necessary people? How will do you celebrate these important people? Let’s share ideas as we spread kindness and show others that we value them!

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Are We Really So Different?

As a business owner and copywriter, I follow several business bloggers. Seth Godin is one of the people whose writings often teach me something new. Today, he blogged about differences. His words hit a chord, and God used them to remind me to change my perspective.

Are we really so different?

What would life be like if we looked for commonalities?

Read the article here and let me know what you think.

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When Frustrations Become Blessings

My son has autism and other issues, which means he takes several medications every day.

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His weekly pill organizer, my awesome hubby’s idea!

So far, we haven’t noticed negative side effects, but we’re always looking for natural products that address his challenges without harming his body or mind.

His autism med doctor recently suggested NAC (also known as N-acetylcysteine or N-acetyl-L-cysteine, a derivative of the amino acid L-cysteine). NAC is a supplement that is shown to help kids with autism and includes no adverse side effects. Awesome!

There were only two problems – our pharmacy doesn’t carry it on the store shelves and insurance doesn’t cover it. In fact, since it’s a supplement, we don’t even get a prescription for it.

My pharmacy is pretty helpful and willingly ordered the pills the first time. And when I called last week for a refill, they said they’d order it again no problem. Except there was a problem. The pharmacy didn’t place the order. When I stopped by yesterday to pick up the pills, they told me they would not order it.

Now usually, I try to be nice. Honey gets more results than vinegar! But when it comes to my kids or my family, mama bear sometimes shows her claws. And I got a little huffy at the pharmacy yesterday when they said they wouldn’t order the pills my son needs. I clearly expressed my frustration that this supplement can help my son get off the other meds that could be harmful, and it’s frustrating that they won’t help.

I stewed on the frustration for almost an hour as I drove home, unloaded groceries from the car and prepped lunch. Finally, I did what I should have done in the first place. I prayed and asked God to show me what to do next. He prompted me to look up the medicine online, and guess what – I found it on Amazon where we can buy 250 pills for less than half of what the pharmacy charged for 90!

My frustration at the pharmacy was actually a blessing. Now, we can order the medicine a few days before we need it, have it delivered directly to our house and save money! I called the pharmacy, apologized for my attitude and told them that I found the medicine. They rejoiced with me.

What about you? What frustrations have you seen become blessings in your life? Despite the roadblock, you could see the negative turn into a positive! Share your story so we all can be encouraged to keep looking for the silver lining in all things!

silver-lining

Photo credit: printsforartssake.com

For more information on NAC:

https://sfari.org/funding/grants/abstracts/efficacy-of-n-acetyl-cysteine-in-autism

http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-nac.html

 

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Teaching My Kids About Politics

y-and-recorded-message-from-donald-trumpGrowing up, politics was a big deal in my family. My dad never missed an opportunity to vote, even if he had to leave work early to make it to the polling place on time. Usually, he took me with him. I learned early that voting is our right and responsibility as American citizens.

That’s why turning 18 was a big deal for me! I could finally vote! What an honor and privilege! And when my study abroad semester found me living overseas during the 1996 election, I eagerly signed up to receive an absentee ballot (I still have the Egyptian newspaper that announced the winner!).

Fast forward to this year. I’m now a mom with two kids. They’re both in middle school and definitely opinionated about all kinds of topics like their favorite music, cars, food, beliefs and books, so it makes sense to include them in our political discussions.

Plus, hubby and I are both very into politics. Even though we don’t always agree, we do often watch political talk shows and the news together, and we regularly discuss current events. In fact, everyone knew well in advance that I would be taking over the remote when the conventions aired. They’re a highlight for me since I love the patriotic stories. (And I also hoped that this year’s conventions would help me decide who to vote for!)

We’re now less than two months away from the election. I’m still not totally convinced on which presidential candidate will get my vote, but my kids have their minds made up, and their arguments for their candidate are very logical and convincing. My son even likes to listen to the recorded political phone calls we receive.

I finally captured his joy tonight. He listened to the whole message from Donald Trump with a highly animated look on his face, and was so excited!

Because it was a big deal to him, I decided to post the picture on Facebook. Some of my friends shared his enthusiasm, others commented on how handsome he looks and one  lady blocked me.

I actually laughed when I saw that she blocked me, then I deleted her comment. And that led me to consider whether I was right to post something political on my page.

Generally, I avoid controversy. Life is hard enough without starting fights online! But I am proud of my kids for being interested in politics and for making their own political decisions. I believe I owe it to them to teach them how to weigh the candidate’s words and actions, consider all the facts and decide who they will support. That’s why I shared my son’s picture. I wanted to support his right to his own opinion and share with my friends that he has been listening and learning and knows who he wants to win. I’m proud that he is willing to stand up for what he believes in, and I won’t apologize for that!

So whether or not you agree with him or with me, know that I will not unfriend you (unless you get obnoxious, rude or mean about it!). I welcome conversation and support your freedom to vote, live and choose as you wish. Those are the same values I wish to teach my children as I equip them to participate in their democratic right and responsibility.

God Bless America!

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Has Your Router Been Hacked?

A few years ago, a Facebook friend started sharing posts by Kim Komando. She’s a tech guru with tips on how to do everything from how to choose a new phone to how to secure your online accounts. I became a fan and have used dozens of her tips over the year. Today, I found a new one that I want to share with you.

Use this tip to test your router and find out if it has been hacked. It only takes a few seconds, and if there are any problems with your router, you’ll receive clear steps on how to fix it.

Happy surfing!  TPLINKrouter

Good to do: Test your router to see if it’s been hacked – Here's how

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Organizing with Kids

 

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Play time!

I’m always looking for new ways to keep our toys organized. My son collects toy cars, and I find them all over the house – under the kitchen cabinets, in my bedroom, under the sofa and yes, in the toy box.

Because of his autism, he sometimes decides that he wants to play with a particular car or truck. If we can’t find that particular toy, he gets anxious and upset. That’s one reason why we need a toy organization method that works! Plus, I want my kids to enjoy playing, but I don’t want someone to get hurt or the toys to get broken.

So far, we’ve tried a few toy organization methods.

  • Bins – He sorts his toys into a cube bin: one for cars, one for water toys and one for figurines. The key is to get him to put his toys in the bin AND to sort them so he can find what he wants quickly.
  • Toy box – Our neighbor gave us a cute wooden toy box that’s decorated with animal pictures. It reduces clutter since most of the toys fit inside it, but finding anything inside is a mess.
  • Rectangular bins with lids – He can toss his toys into a bin and stack them in his closet. The toys aren’t sorted by type, but at least they’re off the floor and out of the way! The bins are clear, too, so he can see what type of toy is inside.

I asked Candy at Finding Order in Chaos for suggestions on ways my family can stay organized. If her tips help, let her know!

And I’m always open to additional suggestions. What toy organizing solution works for you? Please share your ideas here!

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Need a Smile? Check Out This Cute Snack!

healthy snack

I opened Facebook today and saw this cute snack staring at me from a friend’s wall. It instantly made me smile! Not only is it cute, but it’s healthy and my kids would eat it! Those are huge reasons to be happy!

Do you have any cute and happy snack ideas? I’d love to see them!

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