“Can I homeschool my child?” This question seems to go through every parent’s mind when they begin to think about homeschooling. Some parents worry that they won’t be able to handle the responsibility of their child’s education all by themselves. Others worry that it may be too complex or difficult to do. Some may even be meeting some resistance from family members.
I know what you are going through. I’ve been in that spot before. You are worried to take that big jump into homeschooling. That question becomes a bit more complex when you are talking about homeschooling your child with special needs. Whether your child has physical, mental, or developmental needs, you are taking on those needs as well as the education.
It’s the hardest jump to make, but it’s a much easier jump if you’ve done some research and found some others who are already doing it.
The first thing that you should do is talk to your spouse/significant other about homeschooling. Just a casual conversation to see what they think about homeschooling will give you a great idea into what their opinions are and if they are resistant or willing to take that jump with you. Some may be hesitant for the same reasons you are. Talking through it and doing a bit of research together will help you both come to a mutual decision.
If one or both of you are hesitant, one of the best things you can do is take a “trial run.” Check out some homeschooling websites on the Internet and find some free curriculum and worksheets. Yes, free, there are literally tons of educational resources out there at no cost to you.
Check to see what your child is currently working on in class (if you plan on doing this during the school year) and see what things you can find to work with them on. If you can, keep your child home for a day or two to see what they can handle while they are at home. If you prefer, you can even try it during summer vacation for a week or longer to see what the results are. The longer the trial run, the better of an idea you will have.
Some children thrive with the one-on-one attention in the homeschool situation. Others don’t do as well or don’t like the change. This is where the “trial run” comes in handy. By being able to work with your child, you are able to see where difficulties could “pop up” and where things will go well and easy.
It’s also nice to give your child the ability to try it and see if they like it as well. Some children like to be in the school environment with other children and some children prefer to work at their own pace and learn what they like most. It’s also nice to see if you are ready to work with them and if you can handle it.
Once you make the decision to homeschool, the next step would be to decide if you are going to make your own curriculum or purchase into a program that is already assembled. I’ll discuss curriculum in another article. It’s definitely not something that is set in stone and you can change things to accommodate your child’s strengths and weaknesses. The best part is that you can work on specific subjects where your child needs help and take your time.
The other thing that that’s extremely important as the parent/educator is to find a local homeschool support/community group. It’s nice to be able to bounce things off of others that are homeschooling and get help and ideas from them. I absolutely adore my homeschool support/community group and know that they are all there for me, whether it is a good day or a bad day.
It’s nice to know that you have the support of other homeschooling parents. I have made so many new friends and their children have also become great friends to my own children. It’s an outlet for both the homeschooling parent and the child. We have park days every month and multiple events during the month. If we joined in with every event that was offered with our group, I would be running to an event every day.
So, if you are thinking about homeschooling your special needs child, these are some ideas that you can try before making the decision. Always remember that nothing is ever final and you can always change things.
The most important part is that you and your child are comfortable and happy.