Saturday, February 8, 2014

24 Reasons to Homeschool Your Special Needs Child

I want to start out by saying that I do not think that everyone should homeschool. I absolutely do not think that and do not think less of people that send their children to school. It is a very personal choice. My hope with this list is to let people know the numerous benefits to homeschooling their child, especially a child with special needs, and that it can be done!

1. Socialization- I know it cannot be helped in "school" but often, at least in my son's case in kindergarten, they lumped kids with certain issues together in one room. How does someone learn appropriate social skills this way? Now, one of us is always nearby to help him learn the skills needed to be as socially appropriate as possible. It is such a huge benefit that he is around such a variety of people of all ages and all kinds of abilities.

2. Scheduling Dr. and therapy appointments- It is much more difficult to have to take your child out of "school" for appointments than to fit it into your homeschool day. Years ago we were even fortunate enough to have A~man's occupational therapist come directly to our home.

3. Who knows better than you what your child is capable of learning? I believe often the parent/parents know best what their child can do and how to go about helping them achieve their own personal potential.

4. Family relationships- I believe my children have a bond with each other and us due to the fact we are their teachers.

5. Interest led learning- You can use your child's interests and obsessions to help them learn. For my son he will get fixated on a subject and I try to find ways to help him learn more about it whether it is videos, books, or through the online science for elementary school classes that he takes.

6. Behaviors- When my son was in public school (preschool and kindergarten) I received absolutely no input about how he was doing until a 9 weeks IEP. At this point they were removing him from that particular school and placed him in a classroom that was not appropriate for his individual needs. Obviously even with us he is not perfectly behaved BUT I feel like we are able to set goals to improve his behavior that couldn't be done in public school. (of course that is my own opinion though)

7. Less distractions- You can create a learning environment that is beneficial to your individual child. This is a BIG one with my son as learning can be a challenge with ADHD. He hears every car that goes by, every lawn mower, dog barking, and he becomes focused on that. Obviously I can't get rid of those sounds BUT I can eliminate a lot of distractions inside our home so he can pay attention.

8. One on one instruction- This just isn't always possible in "school". Either my husband or I are able to give our children one on one instruction when they need it.

9. Your special needs child can learn from their siblings- (and the siblings can learn more than you can imagine from their sibling with special needs!) I think part of the reason my son has done as well as he has over the years is because he has a sister so close in age to him. She has learned a deep sense of compassion, tolerance, and empathy.

10. Bad day? no worries- If a day starts out exceptionally I am able to step back, evaluate, and sometimes we just go a different route for the day. OR, we decide to finish our work later in the day. Who says school has to be from 8-3? My daughter is known to do her math in the evenings and sometimes my son will finish his reading before dinner. Sometimes us moms (or dads) have a bad day too. I have discovered sometimes on days like that it is best to take a teacher work day. (mental health day) Instead we might watch some educational videos on Netflix or even go for a nature hike.

11. What better place to learn life skills than at home? Both of my children have certain things they have to do right now around the house. Currently I am teaching him how to wash and dry his own clothes. Both also have been learning how to cook.

12. If something isn't working it is easier to change it- If a certain curriculum is obviously not working it is simple to stop it...and find something that will work. I know curriculum can be expensive but there are also a lot of free resources out there too for homeschoolers.

13. Go at their own pace- I have learned over the years learning is not a race.

14. Breaks- You can take breaks from "school" based on what works for your family. For us taking 2+ months off in the summer does not work. Instead we spread our breaks out and have them for less time, but more frequently.

15. Safe environment- After hearing horror stories on the news it makes me glad my two are home learning. Bullying is also something they have only experienced a small amount of. But when it did happen it was resolved in an amicable way.

16. You get to know your child's friends and their parents- Many of the people we hang out with regularly we met early on in our homeschool journey.

17. Choose your own books- There is not a set list we go by of what we have to read each year. Yes, sometimes I do like looking at lists for possibilities but it is ultimately up to me what books are read.

18. Independent learning- As both of our children mature it is so rewarding to see them, even A~man, learning to complete their work with a lot less help than when we started homeschooling.

19. They do not have to eat cafeteria food- I'm only half joking about that one. With my son having Prader-Willi Syndrome, being able to control what he eats is a big deal around our home. I enjoy being able to provide a healthy meal and often have both kids join in when we cook.

20. Like my title states "Who's learning? Who's teaching? I can honestly say that I have learned as much as my children have through our years of  homeschooling through trials and through triumphs!

21. The opportunity to teach your child what will truly benefit them in the future.

22. Field trips- Locally the opportunities for hands on learning through field trips is bountiful! I think I learn and enjoy them as much as my children.

23. Real world learning possibilities are endless- I guess this could also be under social skills but learning how to grocery shop, count money, and communicate with others in the community is something we take quite seriously. Every where we go in our little city, everyone knows A & Z.

24. Fewer germs- When my son was very young he became sick very easily which often resulted in him being hospitalized. We are definitely not home bound but I admit, during the flu season we limit how much we get out. Also, fortunately our homeschool friends are kind enough to keep their kids (or themselves) home when they are sick.

Can any of you that homeschool a child with special needs add to my list of reason?

1 comment:

  1. In homeschooling, they can choose to work through their curriculum as quickly or slowly as they feel comfortable doing, establishing their own pace. A child who struggle in one or more areas academically should consider homeschooling as an excellent one-to-one environment to learn the skills necessary to catch up.