I’m meeting more and more parents of kids with special needs who are considering the idea of homeschooling. But that’s as far as they get. When push comes to shove they each end up feeling that there is no way you can homeschool your child with special needs.
I’m here to tell you that isn’t true! Yes, you can homeschool your child with special needs and I’d love to share some ideas with you on how to do exactly that!
First, a disclaimer: It’s easy to romanticise homeschooling. It’s even easier to become discouraged and then quit. This teaching kids at home thing takes a lot of work and time. But it’s worth it. Absolutely totally worth it. So, let’s get started, shall we?
Where to start? Because Parker is technically a Home and Hospital student, he has an IEP. I use this IEP to create my lesson plans from his IEP.
What if you don’t have an IEP?
If you are pulling your child out of the public school system, you can request a copy of what I call your child’s ‘scope and sequence.’ This is basically a written list of what the teacher would be teaching your child if they had remained in the classroom. You can take that and go from there.
There is a series of Core Knowledge Books each with the title of ‘What Your Child Should Know…..in preschool, in 1st grade, etc. You can pick the book that best works for where your child currently is academically.
The Utah Office of Education’s website offers Utah’s Core Standards. Your state office of education will offer up your state’s version of these too. Use these standards as a guide to creating your child’s curriculum. (Please note: These standards are NOT curriculum. They are just that, STANDARDS to which you will need to provide the ‘how to’ or curriculum. It’s the actual curriculum wherein the sky is the limit, allowing you to employ all sorts of learning strategies geared to your specific student.
There are many support groups for parents of kids with special needs wanting to homeschool their children. Homeschooling and Down Syndrome II is one.
By joining the HSDLA, you’ll have access to special needs consultants that can offer ideas and direction.
Address your child’s individual learning style! Parker is a sensory seeker! I begin each lesson with some sort of sensory activity, from bouncing on a ball, simple massage, a pressure vest, etc. Also remember that the more senses you employ during a lesson they better those learning connections will be made! Don’t be afraid of getting dirty with fun sensory materials! Add in music, technology, manipulatives! Keep learning directed, but exciting!
Remember, that for homeschooling families, Google is your friend! There are so many blogs and sites full of information and ideas on how to homeschool a child with special needs.
Finally. Resist the temptation to compare your child with others. It’s important that your student progresses, don’t get me wrong. It’s also important that you not get caught up in what material other homeschoolers have seemingly blown thrown and start to push your student in ways that only result in frustration and moving backwards instead of forward. Not that I have any experience with this. sigh.
Want more ideas? Check out this post on multisensory homeschooling for kids with special needs.
More excellent resources:
What are some of your favorite homeschool resources? Share the wealth with us in the comments section below!