As you begin the process of identifying your child’s special needs, you may question whether or not home is the best place for your child to learn. In fact, many well-meaning family and friends will suggest that a public or private school would be able to best meet your child’s special educational needs. While there are many great classes in the schools and many governmental services proposed, the reality is that funding and availability are limited. People often speak of needing to ‘push’ and ‘advocate’ for their children in the school system so that they get what they need to function at school. Happily, you do not need to ‘push’ or ‘advocate’ hoping that your child will merely ‘function’ at school. You can choose to homeschool and thereby ensure that your child gets exactly the individualized educational program they need to develop their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. Your child can thrive at home!
There are so many benefits to homeschooling a child with special needs. For example:
By choosing to homeschool your special needs child, you are giving him the benefit of an individualized program and needs-specific training. You can teach him at the pace, level, and style that he needs without being singled-out in a classroom setting. You are giving him the benefit of one-on-one teaching time, and repetition. Learning well so often requires face-to-face coaching, a slower pace, and a chance to cover the same material several times: this is something a classroom teacher with 20 kids simply cannot give your child. Even if you have other children at home who also need your attention, you will have much more time for your child than a classroom could afford.
By choosing to homeschool, you are also giving your child a controllable environment and consistency and structure. Being at home in a familiar environment gives your child the freedom to concentrate on his studies instead of on the many distractions and variables a classroom would hold. Having routine and predictability of location and teacher frees your child to devote his energy to learning instead of to shutting out distractions. At home, you can also provide your child with the emotional stability they need. If your child is having a harder day getting over some of the blocks to learning, wouldn’t you rather that they could share their emotions and frustrations with you in the privacy of your home instead of a classroom setting? You can ensure that your child develops the right kind of socialization. The socialization that a classroom provides is that of kids of the same age who many feed into your child’s weakness instead of helping them to overcome it. Additional distractions from kids in the classroom will not help your child. Also those kids, as nice as they may be, might not always be very sympathetic to a child who they don’t know how to understand. Far better to increase your child’s social skills with a more controlled and wide-ranged demographic of adults, siblings, co-op teachers, and other specialists who will come alongside him (and you!) with the help and support you need.
Finally, by homeschooling your special needs child you give him the opportunity for very broad possibilities. A label does not define your child, and you know that. Too often in a busy classroom setting a label directs a child down one particular path of learning without the ability to tailor his education to his uniqueness. In order to access the special programs in a public school, you would need to highlight your child’s special needs and have that be his defining feature as you advocate for him. This does not encourage him to believe that there is more to him than his difficulties. You see in him the potential for great things in special areas. There is no better place than at home for your child to discover his strengths, to develop them fully, and to walk into a successful future!