Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Beginning to Homeschool Your Special Needs Child

I have heard a few people as the question, "What do I begin to homeschool a special needs child?" Beginning to homeschool can be intimidating enough and adding a child with special needs can just raise the intimidation level. You wonder if you can do it. For whatever reason you decide that it is the best thing for your child but what do you do.

1. Know and understand the laws and requirements for where you live. The laws and requirements vary in some cases it might be a bit different if you are home schooling a special needs child. In PA where we lived for four years I needed to have the objectives reviewed by a special needs evaluator. Know what you need to do to homeschool a special needs child. HSLDA has a chart that shows each state and the requirements.

2. Know what resources are available to your child. You may or may not use them but it is good to know what is available. We did therapy through the school for a year. It meant I had to take her to the school and stay as it was just 45 minutes or an hour. Then I discovered a therapy play centre nearby that insurance covered. In many ways that was a better fit for us. What resources does your child need? What is available? What do you need to supplement?

3. Evaluate your child.  This can be a challenge. Play the role of a special education teacher and observe your child. If you child is kindergarten age compare what your child can do to a kindergarten readiness chart. Is your child verbal? This is going to give you the starting place with where to being. Fill in the things that the child needs to know while at the same time teaching a bit above where the child is.

4. Know your goals for your child. What are your goals for your child? I have both specific goals for a subject and broad goals, goals for this year and goals for life. One of the reasons that I began homeschooling Miss K was I knew that she had potential and felt that the school district was not going to push her or give her the opportunities to learn. Maybe she able to get a job in a Starbucks (I would come visit her regularly) or other fast food place and would love for her to have the ability to take orders and even work a cash register. Maybe she could get a job in a store or a company. For me sometimes having these goals give me ideas on how to teach her and what she needs to know.

There is not necessarily one curriculum that works for all special needs children. I have written at various times about reading and math both some of the things that have worked and some of the challenges we have.

Teaching Reading
Teaching Math

Some of posts about homeschooling special needs:
I am willing to waste my time
Getting Started Homeschooling a Special Needs Child

You can do it. I might take extra time but it is worth it.

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  1. Great advice! I'm a homeschool mom of a senior who has special needs. We are approaching the end of our homeschool journey and starting out on his journey to adulthood and independence. Your daughter will be successful because of everything you are doing for her. It is worth the extra time!

  2. We have to adapt because our child's "special needs" were not considered as such by the school district. So, now I'm happy that I can figure out where she's at and set goals for her that I think are realistic and challenging, without being too overwhelming. I have found that it's good to remind myself constantly to trust my mother's gut, along with God's guidance to lead the way. It sounds like you are doing a great job!

  3. I think it is wonderful that you are so purposeful in teaching your daughter. This is great encouragement and helpful information for anyone with a special needs child. Thanks for sharing!



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