Thursday, March 31, 2016

Homeschooling in the Waiting Room: Be Prepared

With two Boy Scouts and three avid hikers in our family, the phrase "Be Prepared" is often spoken. It's perhaps just as important when I'm heading out for a day of doctors' appointments as it is when they're heading out for a week of hiking.

I will readily admit that a day in a hospital waiting room isn't as far away from civilization as a week in the Grand Canyon. When stuck in the waiting room (or worse an exam room) for hours and hours, however, I am at the mercy of whatever supplies I brought along in my purse or tote bag. In those cases, it pays to be prepared.

For me, the first step in being prepared is having a well-stocked purse. My purse always has two sets of epi-pens (junior sized for Lauren and a spare set of regular sized for Brennan), my glucagon emergency kit for diabetic emergencies, my glucose meter and insulin pen, a few latex free band-aids, and some snacks. I typically have a squeeze packet of applesauce in case my blood sugar drops too low and some allergy-friendly snack bars that any of us could have. If we're going somewhere out of the local area, I also carry along supplies in case Lauren's feeding tube has problems. Since my purse has already reached ginormous proportions in order to hold all of those necessities, I can often throw in my Kindle or a small knitting project, too. I love having a large selection of books suitable for all ages on the Kindle.

For a doctor's appointment, especially if it has the potential to be a lengthy appointment, I pack a larger tote bag or backpack. Lately, I've filled the backpack with electronics and charging cords because it helps Lauren to pass the hours while the photopheresis machine is running. For regular appointments, I don't bring nearly as much electronics options. Sometimes I throw in a bit of schoolwork, and I always bring our current read-aloud.

Over the years I've collected quite a few games that are easy to carry along. Games are a good way to pass the time because Lauren tends to wait more patiently when I'm actively paying attention to her. Card games are among our favorites, and I remember many days that we were all spread out in a waiting room playing Uno or Blink. (Hint: a deck of cards fits nicely into a travel bar soap container if the cardboard box gets too destroyed from carrying them too many places.) A little while ago, I put a set of dice and a cheat-sheet of Farkle rules into my bag for a change of pace.

If we grow really bored of the physical games I have with me, I then resort to playing interactive games on the iPad or my iPhone. Our absolute favorite game for those devices is Ticket to Ride. We can either play by taking turns on one device or by connecting multiple devices over a wifi network. Lauren also enjoys the iPad version of Battleship.

In addition to my stash of emergency entertainment options, I encourage Lauren to pack her own backpack full of things to entertain herself -- a book, knitting project, friendship bracelet to work on, etc. Her selections don't always last a long time, but it keeps me from reaching into my bag of tricks as soon as we walk through the entrance to the doctor's office.

In all the years of time spent in waiting rooms (and hospital rooms), I found that there was always something else that I wished I had brought along. Thankfully, I also found that whatever I did happen to have in my bag could be creatively stretched to fill all the time we needed to fill. The secret was in being prepared.

Today's waiting room preparedness tips are part of this week's Homeschooling in the Waiting Room series.

The bloggers listed below are also sharing homeschooling tips and tricks this week. I'm sure it would be worth your while to hop around and visit a few of them.
5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Latonya @ Joy in the Ordinary
Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road
Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Lori @ At Home: where life happens
Meg @ Adventures with Jude
Megan @ My Full Heart
Melanie (Wren) @ finchnwren
Melissa @ Mom's Plans

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  1. We often look like we are moving in when we have a day at the hospital planned!

    I now keep a box of crayons in my purse. The table paper works for doodling or even games of hangman and tic-tac-toe.

    1. When the cardboard box tears up, they'll fit in a travel soap dish too.

  2. Such great ideas. Can't imagine what planning that takes! You and Lauren are my heroes!

  3. I have a Boy Scout, too! He's in Civil Air Patrol, too. I've been through years of home-school-on-the-go, doctors, hospitals, hospice (my step-dad). It was a time where workbooks were a better choice than on-line options, for sure. My current student doesn't school well on the road. I'm glad my life is currently in a more doctor-free period.

  4. We've done a ton of "waiting room" schooling too. My boys have learned to keep a "to-go" stack of books they like to read and some other stuff they like to keep them busy nearby so they can throw it in a backpack at a moment's notice!



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