Home Education: How it CAN be the answer to your prayers!
You CAN Homeschool Your Child, EVEN if he or she has learning disabilities, is twice exceptional or is a gifted learner.
Here’s one of the questions I’m most frequently asked: “Can I homeschool my child? He (she) has learning disabilities.”
My answer is an emphatic, “YES! You CAN homeschool your child. Plus, he or she will probably learn better than he could in a traditional school setting.”
By the simple fact that you will be providing your child with one-on-one, direct instruction, your child will progress faster than he could in a traditional classroom.
Heebie Jeebies about Home Education
Parents are often terrified at the thought of having to meet the special learning needs of a child with learning disabilities. They THINK home education is hard to do or they need an education degree. They may think their child will be unteachable.
Truthfully, if you can work basic math problems, read, and write, you CAN teach your child. It is NOT rocket science. A lot of school administrators want you to THINK it is. However, if you can say, “The letter A represents the sound /a/,” (sound of ‘a’), then you CAN teach your child to read. You just have to systematically teach every letter and letter combinations, and the sounds they represent. Using a GREAT Reading Program designed for overcoming reading disabilities is not that hard.. It just takes time and consistent effort (daily) on your part.
You may also be concerned about whether you are ‘qualified’ to provide a home education to your child.
Again, I say, “YES!” Did you know that very few classroom teachers have any specialized training in teaching children with learning disabilities? In college, students studying to become teachers are generally required to take one special education class. The topic of that class is “How to recognize special need or learning disabilities”. The class only teaches recognition, not remediation. This is why so many children ‘fall through the cracks’ in traditional classrooms — the teachers are just not qualified to meet the child’s specific learning needs.
Generally speaking, you are as capable of teaching your child as any general education classroom teacher. Specialists in Special Education Resource classes may, or may not, have special education backgrounds. They may not be qualified to teach your child. MANY school districts place general education teachers into Resource Room settings simply because they need a teacher for that room. Some teachers are specially trained and qualified to be Resource Room teachers. However, whether or your child’s teacher has training specific to your child’s needs is yet another issue.
Basically, chances of getting a highly qualified teacher able to meet your child’s specific needs in a typical school setting are not that great. No Child Left Behind does seek to increase that possibility. It’s not a cure-all for the woes of schools though. 😉
SPECIFICALLY speaking, there was a study of homeschooled kids with ADHD that showed kids taught at home by moms with high school diplomas learned MORE than kids taught in special education classes by teacher’s with master’s degrees! WOW! TRULY, this study showed the kids engaged in home education learned more in all areas because they were more academically engaged, taught one-on-one by responsive moms. Also, the moms have a “CAN DO” attitude in their teaching. The school personnel often focus on what a child CAN’T do (another study by Jacque Ensign).
So, if you decide Home Education is for YOUR child, where do you begin?
Three Home Education resources that will help you extensively:
1) The Internet – There are any number of home education resources for helping parents get acquainted with the idea of homeschooling a child with special learning challenges. There are special resource sites for just about any learning difficulty.
This site provides links, curriculum resources, a support group, and other information that can help you get started teaching a child. If your child has a Specific Learning Disability such as ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, mild Asperger’s, mild Autism, check out our resources.
If your child has a physical impairment, such as blindness, deafness, Cerebral Palsy, etc., you can find home education resources specific to your child by searching for “<your child’s disability> and Homeschool”
2) Your Local Library – Libraries are great places to find books about homeschooling in general. You can find books about your child’s specific learning challenge, teaching methods, and even books about homeschooling a special needs child. If you learn about a book that you think would be helpful, but your local library doesn’t have the book, ask your librarian about “Inter-Library Loans.” Most libraries offer this inter-library loan services. They will borrow the book from a library that has the book. Then you can check it out from your library. It can take longer to get the book, but I have found I can get just about ANY book I want to read this way. You can also search for the book on Amazon to find what you need. They have a wider selection than any single library.
3) Local Support Groups – If you live in a large metropolitan area, there are likely to be all kinds of home education support groups around town. You may even be able to find one specific to homeschooling children with learning difficulties. If you live in a smaller community without many resources, your likelihood of finding a special needs group are slimmer. However, you can probably still find a home education support group nearby. Just search for “homeschool” along with your community’s, city’s, county’s, or general region’s name.
Unfortunately, if you live in a truly remote location, you probably won’t find people to meet with regularly, but you can get lots of help from home education groups on the Internet. A good place to start is the Learning Abled Kids Yahoo group at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LearningAbledKids/ . As with item #1 above, the group is specific to homeschooling children with Specific Learning Disabilities. You can find other Yahoo Support Groups by searching Yahoo Groups for “<your child’s disability> and Homeschool”.
Most parents who begin homeschooling a child with Learning Challenges are concerned about being able to meet their child’s specific education needs at home. You know your child better than anyone on this great planet. Therefore, no one is more qualified than YOU to meet your child’s needs.
Home education isn’t for the faint-hearted though, as it is considerable work, but the rewards are hefty when you see your child leap forward. You will see many, many leaps forward through consistent homeschooling practices.. Many more than you would see in a traditional classroom setting. 😉
I hope I’ve answered some of your basic questions about getting started with home education. If you find you need additional help, Check the menu options on Learning Abled Kids, check out the resources and join our group. Everyone will chime in help you as best we can!
Best Wishes in getting started with your child’s home education,