Taking On This Challenge Will Reap Huge Rewards For Your Child

Homeschooling has become increasingly popular for parents looking to avoid the progressive agenda being taught in our public schools, or for parents who cannot afford private education.

It has become widely accepted for the benefits it provides our children and is, in fact, proven to be one of the best forms of education.

Each family who chooses to homeschool has their own set of unique needs and challenges, and for one group, in particular, there are a few things to know before you start the journey with your child.

Do you have a child with special needs who has not been given appropriate attention in school or struggles to adapt to that environment?

Whether it’s a physical disability, serious illness, or mental health issue that creates challenges for your child in a traditional school environment, homeschooling may be a perfect option for your family.

It is not without its challenges, especially when teaching a child with special needs, but with a few tips, you can do it!

First and foremost, you know your child better than anyone – their personality, learning style, and preferred routine.

If your child has been assessed and identified as having any type of special educational need – from sensory processing issues to long-term illnesses or disabilities that require individualized care, to attention-deficit disorder or autism – you already know the ins-and-outs of how these needs affect your child.

If your child is having difficulty in a traditional school environment and has not yet received an assessment, it is important to have one.

This can be done by education professionals in your child’s current school, and although their goal is to set up an educational plan at that school, they also must review all options available to you.

This includes providing direction and resources to assist your family should you decide that homeschooling is a better option for your child.

Assessments can, of course, be done by healthcare professionals recommended by your pediatrician, and they too can help you get started on a plan of action for your child.

Laws regarding special education vary from state to state and teaching a special needs child at home may require jumping through a few extra hoops in order to be “approved” to homeschool your child.

Often you will be required to provide an Individualized Education Plan in your school district that can be completed by your child’s physical or occupational therapist or with the help of your pediatrician.

Some districts offer resources through the public schools to homeschooling parents.  For example, if your child requires speech therapy, you may be entitled to receive that at your local public school while you teach the rest of their curriculum at home.

There are obviously many styles of homeschooling.  After all, the beauty of this form of education is being able to tailor your curriculum to the needs and interests of your child.

But homeschooling a child with special needs will likely be more challenging for the parent at home.

To help make things go more smoothly, make sure you create an education plan for your home, whether or not it is required by your school district.

This can be as simple as lesson plans that identify goals for your child, or it can be an “official” Student Education Plan that you compile with the help of your child’s medical professionals.

Because it can be hard on parents to handle all the demands of not only caring for but homeschooling a child with special needs, there are other important things to remember.

First – you must remember to ask for help and take care of yourself!  This is true for all parents, and all homeschooling moms and dads, but especially when there is the added challenge of a medical or behavioral issue.

Enlist family and friends to give you emotional support or to help teach a lesson or two while you rest or just have a cup of tea by yourself for a few moments.

It is also important to get out of the house once in a while.  It is vital to your emotional well-being to have a break from all the responsibilities that homeschooling a child with special needs comes with.

The old parenting adage is true – you can’t take care of the kids if you don’t take care of yourself!

It is also extremely helpful to have a designated space for your homeschool.  It doesn’t have to be fancy or set up like a traditional classroom.  In fact, many homeschoolers simply put a bookcase in their dining room and have their school day at the dinner table.

But when homeschooling a child with special needs, you will likely have more “stuff” that you may need to have close by during the day.

Particularly for children with attention or behavioral issues, it may be easier if you have a separate, quiet area set up away from the common areas of the house.

Here you can set up “centers” to help them navigate their day – from sensory items that help your child focus, to a quiet spot where your overstimulated child can decompress (a small play tent with a blanket or beanbag chair is great for this), your school day will go more smoothly if everything is contained within one area.

This is also true for any medical supplies you may need access to throughout the day, or for any specialized equipment your child may need.

For example, if your child is confined to a wheelchair, you will want to have a comfortable workspace for them and make sure that all supplies and materials are easily accessible.

Homeschooling is a wonderful, rewarding experience – but it is not without its challenges.  Just remember, you are not alone!

Make sure you have plenty of support at home, consult with your child’s healthcare providers if you hit a roadblock, and take advantage of any resources your school district can provide.

Join support groups online or in person, create a plan and stick to a routine, and enjoy every moment with your child at home!

Do you homeschool a child with special needs?  Leave us your advice in the comments section.



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