Do you have a special needs child that you are homeschooling? Kudos to you for being dedicated to your child’s education. Homeschooling a special needs child comes with special considerations, but the end rewards will be worth it. If you plan on homeschooling your special needs child, keep these tips in mind.
Find a curriculum you love
Homeschooling your special needs child is going to require a unique approach to curriculum selection. It might require flexibility and extra attention to learning styles. Don’t be afraid to piece together your own selection of resources that work best for your child. Ask for recommendations from other special needs homeschooling parents to see which curriculum has worked for them. If you don’t have support locally, online groups are a good source. A quick search of Facebook groups will probably yield results. Finding a curriculum may take some trial and error, but remember that the freedom to choose what works best is a huge advantage of homeschooling, special needs or not!
Identify what your child’s needs are
When you identify what your child’s needs truly are, you will be able to homeschool more effectively. This goes beyond a medical diagnosis, though that’s definitely a starting point. Identifying (with the help of your doctor or another specialist) what areas they need help in is a good start. For example, if your child has autism, there are several ways you can focus on developing their skills and helping them learn. Special learning needs might also include dyslexia, dysgraphia, or more subtle learning differences that need some extra support and attention. Knowing your child’s unique needs well is key.
Gather up as much patience as you can
Homeschooling a child with a disability is far from easy. There are challenges that most families just won’t understand unless they have experienced it, too. You will need to gather as much support as you can. Find encouragement where you can — from other special needs parents, family members, or online as I mentioned. The more support you have, the easier this journey is going to be. However, even if you don’t have support readily available, you can still do this. Homeschooling and special needs education are becoming more widely known and accepted. There are many books and articles on the topic. Don’t forget to check your local library (you’ll find books and possibly a support group there). If there isn’t a group, consider starting your own by posting flyers at your doctor’s office or local library. Remember that homeschooling is a marathon, not a sprint, so developing patience and perseverance will serve you well.
Trial and error is your best friend
Everyone knows that sometimes homeschooling goes one way, when you expect it to go another. That’s true of most things when parenting, right? When homeschooling a special needs child, you will go through a lot of trial and error. This is okay! Find what works and what does not work.
Homeschooling a child with special needs is a lot of work, but worth it. Whether your child has behavior problems, sensory issues, or is a high needs child—there are ways to make progress academically. Homeschooling is an excellent choice to give them the opportunity to really shine and thrive in an individualized learning environment.