By: Courtney Newman
Every family has their own reasons for homeschooling. Some families have religious preferences, others enjoy the flexibility for health issues, and many desire a higher quality, one-on-one education for their children. Finally, several homeschooling families choose this path because of learning differences. Homeschooling is a unique journey for each family, and it can seem intimidating for anyone, especially parents of children with special needs.
Homeschooling a special needs child requires a lot of patience, motivation, and determination to keep the end goal in mind. Most of all, however, homeschooling a special needs learner requires love. You are going on this crazy adventure, this exhausting and amazing journey, because of your love for your child. You want the best for them, and you love them more than anyone else. You want to give them opportunities for pursuing their hobbies and strengths, and you want to help work through their challenges. Homeschooling offers you the best hours of each day with your child, as well as a safe and caring environment for wonderful learning moments.
10 Reasons Homeschooling May Be the Right Choice for Special Needs Learners
When families begin to research homeschooling for their special needs child, the process is often inundated with anxiety and doubt. After all, you may be wondering whether you should simply leave their education to the professionals at school. I have to say, these professionals can be very helpful. However, don’t dismiss your own abilities and amazing opportunity as the parent. You know your child better than anyone — and they trust you more than anyone else.
Let’s consider a few reasons why homeschooling may be a good choice for your family.
- Stimuli-Controlled Environment. At home, you can help create a safe and comforting learning environment for your child. You can avoid bright lights, loud bells, and unexpected behaviors from other children. When you know your child’s sensitivities, you can help provide the best experience for learning within your home.
- Fewer Medication Concerns. Homeschooling alleviates the worries that come along with discussing medication with the school nurse and concerns over the administration of medication when your child needs it.
- Bully-Free Zones. Children can be cruel to their peers, especially to those who are different. With homeschooling, there won’t be any laughter over mistakes or teasing when a child doesn’t understand.
- Target Their Strengths. One of our favorite aspects of homeschooling — for any child — is the ability to explore strengths. When you discover your child’s skills or enjoyment in certain subjects or topics, you can let them run with it, and they will be learning every moment of the way.
- Student-Paced Challenges. Homeschooling allows for working at your child’s pace, which can be such a relief when faced with a struggling learner. All of us have weak areas, and it’s hard to work through those when you’re pushed to learn at the same speed as everyone else in school.
- Increased Flexibility. Flexibility is a term often thrown around in homeschooling circles, and that’s because it’s such an important aspect of the homeschool lifestyle. With homeschooling, you have the flexibility to toss a curriculum that isn’t working and try something different. You also have the flexibility to learn around frequent doctors appointments, or skip school entirely if it’s been a rough day.
- Lower Anxiety Levels. For everyone! When you homeschool, as the parent, you won’t feel as stressed ensuring everything is good-to-go with the school or helping your child make attendance as needed. For your student, they will feel far less stressed when school takes place at the safest and most loving place they know: home.
- Take it Slow. Sudden changes are stressful for most of us. Homeschooling offers the chance to ease into new schedules, routines, programs, lessons, and so on. If it seems too stressful at first, you can always go slower with your child.
- Encourage Positive Social Experiences. If your child has social anxiety due to bullies or anything else, homeschooling can give them a chance to experience positive social opportunities. You can meet with a homeschooling support group or other special needs homeschoolers and help your child feel more comfortable when meeting new people.
- Zero Restrictions. If your child needs to move around to learn best, they can! If they need to jump on the trampoline to release excess energy midway through a lesson, go for it. With homeschooling, there aren’t any restrictions like sitting still, no talking, or asking to go to the bathroom.
Thoughtful Articles for Homeschooling Special Needs
The homeschool lifestyle offers an incredible number of benefits for special needs families. From truly individualized education, a bully-free environment, the elimination of toxic competition, and much more, many parents of gifted learners agree that homeschooling is a helpful decision. There will still be struggles, and homeschooling can be challenging for anyone. In the end, though, it can offer a great experience for special needs children. Here are some of our favorite special needs homeschooling articles for more information and resources.
In the end, homeschooling is all about individual progress. It’s about personal accomplishments, regardless of how big or small those accomplishments may seem to anyone else. Homeschooling, at its core, is about recognizing each child is unique and that they can flourish without fitting them in a box. That concept is exactly why many families consider homeschooling a great fit for their learners — it encourages their strengths and works with them through their struggles. No pressure. No standards. Just unlimited learning!