Often, parents hesitate to homeschool their children with special needs because they do not believe they are equipped and prepared to homeschool. Let’s go ahead and prove that idea is untrue. The great inventor Thomas Edison was homeschooled after his public school teacher claimed he was “addled.” Edison credits his mother with educating him and instilling a love of knowledge.
Additionally, Dr. Duvall, the director of the School Psychology Training Program at Fort Hays State University, conducted a study comparing students with special needs in a traditional public school environment and students with special needs in a homeschool environment. His results (as quoted by HSLDA) led him to state, “These results clearly indicate that parents, even though they are not certified teachers, can create instructional environments at home that assist students with learning disabilities to improve their academic skills. This study clearly shows that homeschooling is beneficial for special needs students.”
So, if your main consideration has been your qualifications, it is time to move on to discuss more fitting considerations.
1. Why do you want to homeschool your child?
First, why do you want to homeschool your child? Many parents of children with special needs believe their children are not receiving the best education possible, and they believe their children would receive a better education at home. Some parents feel that the traditional classroom does not fit their child with special needs’ unique learning style. Other parents of kids with special needs worry about their physical safety and emotional well-being.
2. What are your child’s needs?
Now that you know why you want to homeschool your child, it is time to consider your child’s needs and whether you will be able to meet those needs in your home. For instance, children with particular challenges such as autism, ADHD, or deafness have unique learning needs, and many of these require additional services and accommodations that you may not have free access to as a homeschooler. If your child is medically fragile, it might be good to take an online CPR certification course to be prepared in case of an emergency.
3. Do you have the time?
Homeschooling is a major time commitment. In addition to being your child’s caregiver, you are now responsible for your child’s education. This requires lesson planning, teaching, and grading in addition to your regular responsibilities.
Watch: Vanessa Cranfield on parenting a child with a disability.
4. Are you financially prepared?
Typically, when a child is homeschooled, one of the parents stays home to do the schooling. This means your household will need to survive on one salary. However, homeschooling, itself, tends to be relatively inexpensive. If you can get by on one primary source of income, then it will not be a financial burden.
5. Do you have space?
Many successfully homeschooling families have converted part of their homes to be their learning space. This helps the child transition between school and non-school activities with ease, and it provides a clear structure to the homeschool routine. Additionally, with homeschooling, it is easy to amass a collection of school supplies, and you will need space for them.