Jun 282014

The NCLB has a post of “questions that parents should address to ensure that their child’s learning and behavioral needs are being met”  when considering homeschoolng, but I think the NCLB presents bias-based questioning against Homeschooling a Child with Learning Disabilities. What do you think?

NCLD Poses Question #1 for parents to ask themselves before homeschooling: “Do I really want to take full responsibility for my child’s academic learning?” 

Do most parents of children with learning disabilities really “want” to take full responsibility for their child’s education?

Probably not before they start homeschooling, but sometimes it is necessary for parents to homeschool for the sake of the child.

Learning Abled Kids’ Proposed BETTER Question: “Is it necessary for me to take full responsibility for my child’s academic learning?”

My Homeschooling a Child with Learning Disabilities Question Analysis:

Whether or not a parent “wants” to take full responsibility for a child’s education is not the right question.  A Parent may not “WANT” to take full responsibility for a child’s academic learning, but when a public school lets a child flounder academically year-after-year, a parent is often forced to take educational matters into her own hands. That’s why many parents, including myself, ultimately take control of academic learning through homeschooling.

The better question is whether it is “necessary” for a parent to take control is based upon the needs of the child.  When a person becomes a parent, she becomes responsible for the child in every way.  A parent only has one opportunity to raise a child, and it is a parents job to be sure the child receives an adequate education one way or another.  If the school isn’t teaching the child and the child is not making adequate educational progress, then the parent must take full responsibility, and often that means homeschooling.

My Master’s Degree research shows about 1/3rd of homeschooled children have learning difficulties and the vast majority of those children began their schooling in public school, but the public schools failed to meet the academic learning needs of the child, so the parents began homeschooling.  Did those parents plan on homeschooling? No.  They sent their children to school because they didn’t want to be fully responsible for the child’s academic learning, but the failure of the school to provide an adequate education made it necessary for the parents to homeschool.

If a child does not receive an adequate education, the parent will be the one who has to deal with the ramifications during the child’s life–not the public school teacher, not an administrator, no one else in the public school is going to have ongoing issues if your child is inadequately educated.  If the school is not meeting the needs of a child, the parent either has to force the school to change provisioning through due process avenues, must provide private services or private schools, or the parent must homeschool to meet the child’s needs directly.  It’s a parent’s decision as to how to insure a child gets an adequate education, but the parent is fully responsible already.

Making a decision to homeschool may require a substantial change in financial priorities by requiring a downsizing a family’s lifestyle to have a parent available to homeschool.  Meeting a child’s needs through private, paid services may require a parent taking a second job to pay for private services, or it may take a highly creative solution for a parent to insure a child’s educational needs are met.  Taking full charge of a child’s academics isn’t easy, but parents sometimes find it necessary to take charge of a child’s education–one way or another–whether it is through homeschooling or private provisioning.

So, the better question for you is whether it is necessary for you to take full responsibility for a child’s academic learning at this time?  When the answer is YES, it IS necessary for the sake of the child, then homeschooling becomes a prime option.  So the real question for you isn’t whether you “want” to be responsible for your child’s education–You already are.  The real question is whether your child’s educational needs are being met and whether it is necessary for you to take charge of your child’s education.

~ Takeaway:

IF your child is not making adequate academic progress and you don’t take responsibility, nobody else will.  Sometimes a parent has to do what he or she does not WANT to do because it is necessary for the sake of the child!!  That may sound like a heavy statement, but the stakes in life are high for a child who fails to get an adequate education.

Homeschooling a Child with Learning DisabilitiesHomeschooling a Child with Learning DisabilitiesOn a much more pleasant side of this note, I didn’t WANT to have to homeschool, but it was necessary and ultimately homeschooling became a much bigger blessing in our lives than we imagined before we started.  There are so many hidden benefits in homeschooling a child with learning disabilities, and our homeschooling has enabled our boys to go to college with scholarships due to their academic achievement.  While we didn’t want to homeschool before we started, it has been a blessing beyond imagining.  If you want to know more about how homeschooling a child with learning disabilities works, and the hidden blessings in homeschooling your child, please check out the book I wrote:  Overcome Your Fear HomeschoolingHomeschooling Learning Disabilities. The book shares information about unexpected benefits of homeschooling, why homeschooled children usually learn at a better pace with better educational outcomes, the dynamics that change with homeschooling which actually made your life easier than dealing with all of the public school issues (teachers who won’t follow the IEP, bullying, no educational progress, IEP meetings, stress, stress, and more stress) ~all of that that vanished when we began homechooling, thankfully. There’s much more than I can share in a page, so I wrote the book! 😉

I had a lot of misconceptions before we began homeschooling, and it is evident the writer of the NCLB questions has misconceptions too.  Perhaps you have misconceptions about how difficult homeschooling might be, issues with patience, or doubts about special education teaching, that hold you back from homeschooling.  If so, you can eliminate your misconceptions by reading Overcome Your Fear HomeschoolingHomeschooling a Child with Learning Disabilities and learning how homeschooling is quite different from what you may imagine it to be when homeschooling a child with learning disabilities.  It’s is often a lot easier to homeschool than you might imagine!

The NCLD also asks the Biased Question:  “Will home schooling deny my child the full range of social interactions and experiences with peers and adults that is so important to the development of a well-balanced personality?”  “Deny?” ~ Um.. No.  Kids who are homeschooled have more NATURAL social interactions because they interact with children of all ages at social activities. There are plenty of social opportunities, which are well supervised and not prone to bullying, when you get involved in the homeschooling community.

More on social skills here: Check out, Socially Inept: How to Improve Your Child’s Social Skills, which is more easily done if your child is homeschooled and you are present to witness social interactions.

Why am I posting this series of questions?

I was reading an article on NCLD.org’s website about homeschooling a child with learning disabilities, but unfortunately,  their “sampling of some questions that parents should address to ensure that their child’s learning and behavioral needs are being met” while homeschooling show a bias against homeschooling.  Sadly, their questions do not show a good understanding of the benefits of homeschooling a child with a learning disability and may scare a lot of parents away from consideration of homeschooling as a viable means of meeting a child’s academic needs.

The NCLD’s questions seem based upon the perception that parents are not going to want the responsibility of homeschooling a child with learning disabilities, and the NCLB displays a bias for ongoing monitoring, testing, and progress reporting by a public school system.  The NCLD’s overall connotation in the wording of their questions shows the typical public education system mindset that parents won’t be able to fully meet a child’s needs through homeschooling.

I think the NCLB is OFF BASE with their article, and they don’t provide parents with meaningful questions for determining whether homeschooling will be of benefit to them in meeting the needs of their learning abled child.  The NCLB doesn’t provide any solutions or answers either, so their questions come across as being designed to instill doubt or fear in the minds of parents who may be considering homeschooling a child with learning disabilities.

I’ve decided to respond to the NCLB questions with my own questions, which are more “on target” for analysis of homeschooling from INSIDE of the homeschooling lifestyle.  My questions are based upon personal experience, knowledge of homeschooling children with learning disabilities from the inside of consulting with other parents, and the reality of how homeschooling a child with learning disabilities actually works!!

I think I’ll tackle one NCLB question at a time, and link the articles with each other from week to week.  I’ll share a link to the NCLB article at the end of the series, and only once because I don’t want to “plug” their article and risk having parents run across that article as their first advice about homeschooling a child with learning disabilities.  I think that would be a disservice to both the parents and the children!

Aug 282013

WHO needs to meet your child’s special needs when it comes to education?

Help Child failing to make educational progress

“My child is failing because the school isn’t doing their job,” parents often say.

Do you think teachers consider it YOUR fault when your child fails to make academic progress?

Guess WHAT? School administrators and teachers blame parents when a child doesn’t learn (seriously, they do)!

Many schools fail to meet the special needs of learning abled kids, then they blame the parents for poor educational outcomes.

Ultimately, I think parents have to take responsibility for their child’s learning because the schools won’t. I don’t think it is your “fault” when your child isn’t making progress, but it is your obligation to advocate for your child. Your child can’t advocate for his own special needs. Therefore, you have to insure your child obtains an adequate education.

Is There Evidence Your School Isn’t Meeting the Special Needs of Your Child?

Any school worth attending knows that early intervention equals better educational outcomes. However, schools OFTEN delay testing a child for learning disabilities (repeatedly).  Schools also delay early intervention by retaining a child, which is proven by research to be an ineffective strategy.

If your school is giving you the run around about testing, suggested retention as a strategy, or put off early intervention by waiting for your child to get “far enough” behind, or worse yet–to fail, then your school isn’t meeting the needs of your child. Period. Sadly, it is an antiquated form of educational neglect practiced by schools across America!

Many schools do not act in the best interest of children with special needs or learning disabilities. They THINK they are, but they fail to implement research-based practices. They FIGHT against parents in IEP meetings. They’re really good at making the parents think they know best.. seeing as how they’re “trained.” They will delay helping a child until he is well behind his peers, suffering from low self-esteem, or until the child’s parents demand a change or hire an advocate/attorney. Again, it is an antiquated form of educational neglect practiced by schools.

If your school is playing games with you, your otherwise intelligent child may be more than two years behind before you figure out your child isn’t making adequate educational progress.  It may take a couple more years before you figure out the school isn’t ever going to step up to the plate. They may never provide an appropriate education for your child.

As soon as you realize your child’s special needs are not being met, you need to step in to save your child from the school’s apathy.

Ultimately, the lives of the teachers are not affected if your child fails to make adequate educational progress.  Next year, the teacher has a new set of kids. Your child is no longer her concern.

You will be affected for a lifetime by poor outcomes for your child.   Sadly, it will be your child who ultimately suffers the most if you do not take action.

Your child is counting on you to be an action-taking parent.

What actions should a parent take?

If you’ve been to your child’s conferences, been to IEP meetings, and/or communicated concerns to your child’s teacher repeatedly, but you’re seeing little or no meaningful action by the school, then you need to begin researching other options.

If your child’s school isn’t meeting his special needs, do one of the following:

  1. Get Legal Help from a lawyer or special education advocate to force the school to educate your child properly;
  2. Find a better school, whether private or online; or
  3. Take complete control of your child’s education by homeschooling your child and outsourcing to private providers wherever neededspecial needs.

If you do nothing, one thing is certain: your child will not achieve at his level of academic and/or creative potential.  Your child will flounder for years. Who knows what will become of his life?  Your child needs YOU to advocate or educate him… NOW.

With heartfelt sincerity, I implore you: Whatever you do, if your child’s education is not adequate, please DO SOMETHING to change your child’s education for the better. Visit the Special Education Guidebook (free online) to determine where you are along the path of meeting your child’s educational special needs.

Still don’t know what to do? Have Questions? Come and ask them on Learning Abled Kids’ Facebook Page.  Either myself or another member of our community will help answer your questions. Together, we can help you find direction and help you help your child.

Those of us who’ve chosen homeschooling as our learning solution find support and answers to our questions in the Learning Abled Kids’ Support Group as well as on the Facebook page.

We’re ordinary moms helping our kids. Many of our kids are making unexpected educational gains. Check out our Inspirational Stories for encouragement. Please join us one place or another. Learn more about how to help your child learn by meeting his special needs head-on!

Feb 032013

Interested in Homeschooling a Child with Learning Difficulties?

I was interviewed about homeschooling a child with learning difficulties for a small business contest offered by Client Creatives. I thought YOU might enjoy reading this interview to learn why we homeschooled. You’ll also learn some about how we overcame learning difficulties through homeschooling, and why you might benefit by homeschool a child with learning difficulties.

Homeschooling a child with learning difficulties can truly be a blessing in so many unexpected ways. So many that the interview below really only touches on the surface of why homeschooling a child with learning difficulties is beneficial. Sometimes you might think you ought to homeschool your child, but you’re afraid you wont do an adequate job. Or you may want to homeschool, but think you’ll fight with your child all the time. Please DO consider homeschooling! It’s a LOT different than you may think. 😉

Check out my book Overcome Your Fear of Homeschooling with Insider Information (Learning Abled Kids’ How-To Books for Enhanced Educational Outcomes Book 1) to learn about all of the benefits we experienced when we pulled our guys out of public school. We had never planned on homeschooling. However, it was the BEST educational decision we could have made–in many unexpected ways. I reveal the unexpected benefits in my book, so go snag a copy. It’s a highly-regarded, easy-to-read book that will tell you like it is. 😉

I hope you found the interview inspiring. I also hope you can find answers to all of your questions through one of my books or on this Learning Abled Kids’ website. 😉

Homeschooling a Child with Learning Difficulties