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10 Things You Should Know about Homeschooling a Child with Special Needs
- You can do it. You are qualified to teach your special needs child, and you will find a way to teach your child so he or she can learn.
- Planning is essential. It’s much more difficult for me to keep track of what my younger daughter needs to learn and work on all of it with her than it is for my older daughter, who can use a mostly-boxed curriculum and work independently. Need some help getting started? Here’s how I plan for my struggling learner.
- Your homeschool won’t look like everyone else’s. While all homeschools are different from one another as the parents work to customize learning for each of their children, homeschooling a child with special needs is vastly different from anything I ever did growing up. I have to stay flexible for illnesses, doctor and specialist appointments, therapy sessions, and learning difficulties. We do a lot of multisensory activities too, which are great for all children but are critical for children with special needs.
- You need serious time management skills. I’ll be talking about time management at iHomeschool Studio (an inexpensive online homeschool conference by iHomeschool Network) on February 13. Please join me! (See below for a ticket giveaway!)
- You’re going to mess up. Be ready to forgive yourself, give yourself grace, and move forward. If you keep reliving your mistakes, you will keep yourself from growing and your child from moving forward academically.
- You’ll find out there’s a lot you didn’t know about homeschooling—like its many unexpected benefits.
- Some days are hard. Really, really hard. They’re the days that you spend time frantically searching for the last piece of dark chocolate in the house and consume way too much caffeine. You spend too much time on Facebook, trying to ignore the drama going on in your own home by immersing yourself in someone else’s. You will swear that you’re going to put all of your children on the school bus the next morning. You’ll vent to a friend, or five, and then you’ll finally do what you should have done to begin with. You will close yourself in the bathroom for ten minutes, get on your knees, and beg God to help you get through the day. You’ll open your Bible to read some verses that soothe your heart. And then you’ll make it to bedtime, and the next day will be better. Usually.
- Your child is going to learn. You can’t measure progress with a special needs child by the day. But when you look back over a week, a month, a semester, you will be amazed by how much your child has learned—and you’ve been there to see it all.
- You’ll need a break. Yes, homeschooling your children is wonderful, but parenting and homeschooling a child with special needs is hard work, and it’s exhausting. It’s okay to want some time away. Others can help.
- Your child will need a break. Children with special needs get tired and frustrated easily. Some days it’s best to set your plans aside to take a nature walk, read aloud, watch a documentary about a subject of interest on Netflix, do art projects, etc.
Bonus: It’s amazing. When your child reads his first word after all the struggle, you’ll be the one to hear it. When her face lights up when she finally understands that math concept, you’ll be there to see it. When your child’s personal hygiene improves because you’ve been working diligently on life skills every day, you’ll be the one to praise him and rejoice. When your child exercises self-control instead of flying into a rage or meltdown, you’ll be the one to recognize the improvement and celebrate with her.
Want to attend iHomeschool Studio?
I’ll be speaking about time management for special needs moms (and every other mom!) at iHomeschool Studio, the online homeschool conference created and hosted by iHomeschool Network, on Thursday, February 13, 2014. There are going to be other amazing sessions, and a ticket for the entire week is just $25.00! Tickets go on sale on January 28, but you can enter for a chance to win one now, courtesy of iHomeschool Network!
To enter, leave a comment below telling me which item I listed resonated with you the most—and why.
This giveaway is open to U.S. residents ages 18 and older. It ends on Wednesday, January 22, 2014, at 9:00 pm CST. Only one comment per person. Duplicate comments and comments left after 9:00 pm CST on January 22 will be deleted. The winner will be chosen at random using the plug-in “And the Winner is….” The winner will be contacted by email and will have 24 hours to respond with the requested information. If I don’t hear a response within 24 hours, I will choose another winner.