Things You Should NEVER Say to a New Special Needs Homeschooler
Starting the homeschooling journey is scary. And homeschooling a child with special needs? Super scary. And those just starting out receive all kinds of unsolicited advice. Some of it comes from outside the homeschooling community, and many people in that group don’t really understand what homeschooling is all about or how it works, so you can dismiss their comments. Mostly. But some of it comes from within the homeschooling community, which I find disturbing.
At any rate, there are certain things you should NEVER say to a new special needs homeschooler. In no particular order, they are:
Don’t you need a degree/teaching certificate/special training to do that? The short answer is no. Parents are, in my opinion, the best teachers for their children, especially when they have special needs. They know their children better than anyone else on earth. (Want to read more? Check out “I Can’t Homeschool Because My Child Has Special Needs” and “I Can’t Homeschool Because I’m Not a Certified Teacher.”)
Aren’t you nervous about homeschooling a child with special needs? Of course she’s nervous! There’s no need to make her more anxious by asking the question like it’s some impossibility that you can’t begin to fathom. That’s not helpful.
How will you _________? You can fill in the blank with any number of things. People ask all sorts of questions and, quite frankly, most if it isn’t any of their business. There are ways to deal with extenuating circumstances that occur while homeschooling. Many, many people have done it, and they are willing to share their experiences and suggestions to help new homeschoolers make it. This goes for those homeschooling children with special needs too.
What will you do if ________? See the answer above.
Your child won’t get the same quality education as they would in (public, private, other) school. You’re right. They probably won’t. Many parents have to fight to get their kids with special needs services in the public schools, and in many places, private schools aren’t obligated in the same ways as public ones to accommodate their needs. In many cases, children with special needs will get a better education at home because their parents can use the curriculum that meets their children’s needs best instead of having to use what the state dictates. They can seek assistance for their children from many different sources, and their children’s education will be even more customized than it would in another setting. They will also receive one-on-one assistance – every single day. So no, their education won’t be the same quality. It will likely be better.
If you’re starting this journey of homeschooling a child with special needs, don’t let the naysayers scare you off. Many people don’t understand how homeschooling works anyway, so they certainly don’t understand how it would work in a special needs situation. But it does work—despite therapy sessions, specialist appointments, hospitalizations, traveling for surgeries and procedures, and everything else that life throws at you. With dedication and persistence, you can provide your child with an excellent education – whether he has special needs or not.
To read more, see the iHomeschool Network blog hop Things NOT to say to a Homeschooler.