Can I Homeschool My Special Needs Child? To Publications / Articles - Can I Homeschool My Special Needs Child?
As a parent, you have been teaching your child since the moment you brought him home (and possibly before) without even meaning to. Your child learned numerous important things about the way of living from you, so it’s natural for you to teach him. But what about academic subjects? Yes, you can teach your special needs child academics too.
Is It Legal?
Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. The fact that your child has special needs and challenges doesn’t make it any less legal.
Is the Home the Right Place for a Special Needs Child?
With the support of a loving, committed parent and tools and resources tailored to the child’s unique challenges, the answer can be a resounding yes. Home education allows special needs children to learn in an environment that is already comfortable, familiar, and equipped for them. With homeschooling, children can focus more on their can-dos and work through challenges rather than feeling the need to perform at the same level as others and possibly suffering damage to their self-esteem if they cannot keep up at times. Such issues may be compounded by real or perceived slights or mistreatment by other students and teachers in traditional school settings.
At home, a parent can choose what is important for their child to learn next as well as which curriculum materials and resources will allow them to learn at their own pace, moving ahead quickly when he’s mastered a topic and spending more time on topics when need be. They can practice skills and study those topics until they truly understand them and feels ready to move on. Parents can employ interactive tools and audiobooks to provide lessons or focus on more active or hands-on methods of learning when that is to their children’s advantage. A major pro of home education is the fact that parents need not plan lessons for an entire classroom of students, hoping that the lessons and educational strategies will fit the bill. Instead, parents can hone in on what would be best for their children and obtain the exact tools, materials, and resources necessary to deliver high-quality education.
Where Do I Begin?
It’s always best to begin serious endeavors, including the education of your child, with some research. You might start with reading a couple of books about special needs homeschooling, such as Home Schooling Children with Special Needs by Sharon Hensley, Learning in Spite of Labels by Joyce Herzo, or Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner by Kathy Kuhl. It’s also a good idea to speak with some other special needs homeschoolers (a local homeschooling group or co-op maybe be of help here) to learn how and why they got started with home education. These parents may not only provide you with tips you can use but also help you avoid common newbie pitfalls and prove a lasting source of support for you and your child. Last, but not least, you’ll want to gain an understanding of the home education law in your state, so you can start your homeschooling on the right foot.
It would be disingenuous to state that homeschooling a special needs child won’t be challenging, but there are a couple of important things to remember. First is that you know your child better than anyone else. Who better to meet his educational needs? And second, anything worth having (a well-educated, happy, fulfilled child) is worth working hard for.