I didn’t post last week because we were on vacation—Sorry, not sorry! I have decided to turn my back to school posts into a little bit of a series though, so I am hoping to post twice this week.
My last post was about easing out of summer and into a routine. Going on vacation (I’m not going to lie) was not ideally timed and undid any good I might have done. So this week we are on crack down.
We aren’t establishing a routine. I implemented a schedule. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make every day the same because this week is a circus, but I scheduled us to the minute. I posted the week’s plan on the bulletin board and we are following it—by hook or by crook.
The routine was fairly summer friendly. It allowed Yoshi to choose whether he wanted to play toys or a game with mom. He had quiet reading time at the same time every day. That sort of thing.
This week? Not so much. We are reading. But this schedule only has a couple of small blocks for free time around things like typing tutor, math worksheets, and piano practice. Math worksheets. Yoshi has started school. It’s just a week sooner than everyone else.
I wish that we could do a more regular schedule. One where typing tutor is at the same time every day. I’d even settle for eating lunch at the same time every day. There is just too much going on this week. I’m doing the most with what I have.
One of the most important parts of this exercise is limiting screen time. Yoshi, like a lot of children with autism, loves his screens. We kind of have a love-hate relationship with them. They make our lives easier in the moment, but we pay the price dearly.
I’m not sure why too much screen time turns Yoshi into a crazy person. Video games (as opposed to just watching videos) are the worst. It changes his entire demeanor. He regresses: more temper tantrums, less control over his emotions, etc. During the school year his access to screen time is more limited.
I know what you’re thinking. If screen time turns Yoshi into a lunatic, why let him have it at all? My short answer to that is… survival. Summer days are long. Without school we have a lot of time to kill. Too much free time is just as bad as too much screen time.
In our house school days used to mean no screen time. A couple of years ago we started a system with Yoshi’s teachers where he earns time by doing school work—but that is for a different post. As much as I don’t love it, using screen time as a reward for working at school seems to be our best option.
It’s a little like a drug. We’re weaning him off. It’s not that he had unlimited access, but in the summer he certainly has a lot more time (read: freedom) with his screens. Now he has to get used to using a timer again. It’s a very big piece of being ready.
It’s only Tuesday, friends. We’re having a hard go. This post might seem a little sloppy (I apologize for that) but I am writing it in haste while trying to play teacher. I can barely get a sentence down without having to interrupt myself to take my writer hat off and put my mom/teacher hat on.
This week might be worse than the first week back at school. (I’ll let you know!) It feels like it is for me. Keeping Yoshi on this schedule is a lot of work. Being the teacher requires all of my attention for most of the day. I am hoping that this is worth it. I am hoping that it eases his transition back to school. I am hoping.
What do you do to get ready for the big day? It’s almost here for us! We’ll be meeting his teacher in a couple of days. Who is excited about school starting? Who is sad to see the end of summer?
PS I’m sorry if this post is rough around the edges. It was written under duress.
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This is the second post in a series about returning to school.
First: The Warm-Up
Third: The Coaches Meeting
Fourth: Game Day