Thursday, April 19, 2012

Winning the Sock Wars

Laundry breeds in the dark. I’ll swear by it. The way my laundry pile grows…and grows…and grows the minute my back’s turned leads me to the only possible conclusion: Asexual reproduction is taking place in my laundry basket at the speed of a six year old mowing through a container of chicken nuggets. Competition for resources is so stiff, they’ve resorted to cannibalism.

Which brings me to the worst part about laundry: The bloody socks. 

I’m not a hoarder. I’m really, really not. I just can’t see the logic in throwing away a perfectly good pair of socks. Because of that, my kids have also adopted the mantra of, “It doesn’t have to match, it just has to fit.”

The sock basket. It’ll cough up two socks at a time. Good luck finding two of the same. It’s just easier to let it ride.

That’s fine if you don’t care, but I was getting frustrated. I couldn’t always find my youngest’s little socks in the bottom, so he’d end up wearing his dad’s or his brother’s. (He wears a 3. They wear a 12 and a 9, respectively. It wasn’t pretty.) I could never find a pair. When I sat down to sort socks, I’d spend almost two hours trying to put things together. The sheer volume of options was so overwhelming, I avoided sorting socks like the plague. Which resulted in the sock basket throwing up at regular intervals all over the stairs.

Enough. Was. Enough.

I stumbled over a fantastic post the other day that I wish I could find again. It was written by a mom of seven talking about how they managed socks. Her advice? To buy unique styles and colors of socks for each kid. All of each kids’ socks should match-that way you don’t have a pink sock, a purple sock, a blue sock, a white sock and a penguin sock, and not a pair to be found. When they outgrow those, gather all of them up, throw them away, and buy another bag.

I was a little skeptical, but I had to do something. So I bought everyone a new bag of socks, 10 pairs for each, and tossed all the old socks away. The first time sorting socks took me five minutes instead of 50, it was SO worth it. If there was a sock missing a pair, I could just grab another and put them together. 

That’s what we did. How do you keep your socks in line?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Homeschooling and the S Word

Today's post is brought to you by Jenny Herman, the social media coordinator for the Home Educating Association and blogger at She's a homeschooling parent, which made her the perfect person to ask when the question of how to socialize your homeschooler popped up!

The question? We learn so much in school. Not only our ABC's, or our 123's, but how to deal with people. How to cope with boredom, and the fact that life isn't always going to go our way. We make friends, test our boundaries, and develop a personality outside of our life at home. How do you help your homeschooler do the same? Jenny talks about her experience homeschooling with autism, and how she's making it work for her.
Homeschooling and the S Word

When I was young, I decided I wanted to be a teacher. I went into elementary education, and taught for six years in a private school. My mom assumed because I was a teacher that I would homeschool my children. That rubbed me the wrong way. I didn’t want to homeschool. Just because I had a degree and experience in education didn’t mean I wanted to teach my own kids all day!

My oldest son decided to change that. He has Asperger’s syndrome, which on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum. Regular preschool did not work for him. It was the worst seven weeks of my life. After much agonizing debate, my husband and I decided to put him into the developmental delay preschool room. This worked great…for a while. After a year, my son was at the top of his class, so to speak, and was starting to bring home regressive behaviors. But the other classes were not an option for him.

What to do now? How can I pull a kid who has social delays out of school? But if I don’t, I’m losing all we worked so hard for over the last year. Not an easy decision. What’s a mom to do?


The more I read, the more I found that often kids who are homeschooled get more socialization than their peers. Of course there’s always extremists in every case, but would those hide-away folks be socialized if they went to public school? Probably not.

I read many stories of children who could communicate with any age, not just those within the same birth year or two. (The one comment that really stuck out to me was, a classroom is the only place where we are with people our exact age. Everywhere else, we’re around mixed ages.) These children participate in things like Boy Scouts and 4-H. Many participate in competitions of all kinds across the country. Others reach out to those in their community—visiting elderly or babysitting youngsters. Parents mentioned how sports and fine arts developed not only talent but also social skills in their children.

But what about my child on the autism spectrum, who already has social challenges? I found a book that specifically discussed homeschool and autistic children. Many of the parents interviewed stated that socialization is actually more successful for autistic children who are homeschooled. Why? They can practice the needed skills at home first, in a safe, encouraging environment free from distraction. They can get the social script down pat and then take it out into the community when they are ready.

These kids get to practice in all different settings—grocery store, post office, playground, karate class, church, bank, shopping mall, library, etc.—at all different times of day. They experience social success and gain confidence.

This was a tough decision for me, but I knew we needed to change something. I am now a homeschool mom. Not at all what I expected, but the more I learn and watch, the more I see that the big S (socialization) isn’t such a big deal.

Come learn more about parenting with autism, homeschooling and how to be AWESOME by visiting Jenny over at!