Homeschooling is a good option when considering the educational needs of a disabled child. While homeschooling might not provide certain higher-level therapies that a private or public school can offer, there are many advantages of home educating a child with special needs.
One of the primary reasons for homeschooling a disabled child is safety. The home environment is the most comfortable for children with special needs. No one loves the child more than his or her family. This type of nurturing and caring environment is the perfect place for a special needs child. Learning occurs when the child is relaxed and secure, and home schooling provides for that need.
In addition, a disabled child can be subjected to bullying in a public school setting. Other children can be cruel and mean in many ways. Whispered comments on the playground or in a gym class can be just as devastating to a child as outright laughter or physical bullying. Homeschooling protects the child from this type of negative social interactions.
Teaching to a Child’s Needs
Homeschooling parents are sensitive to a child’s physical and emotional needs. A special needs child may require extra time to learn certain subjects but might excel in others. A homeschooling parent might only spend ten minutes a day teaching science but an hour reviewing math facts or phonics.
A disabled child often is overwhelmed easily and may need rest periods interspersed throughout the school day. A child at home can take frequent play breaks, a nap after lunch or just have mom’s undivided attention while reading. One of the beauties of home schooling is the ability to set aside the curriculum and simply nurture a child.
Special needs children often have doctor or therapy appointments that break up a homeschooling day. Having a flexible schedule makes it easier to work around this type of disruptions. There is no set calendar for homeschooling families, so parents can teach on weekends or during the summer. Parents do not have to worry that their child is missing too much school and has the stress of makeup work.
Parents who teach their children at home quickly realize there is more to learning than filling out workbooks. Homeschooling is the perfect way to involve children in experiential learning. Fractions become meaningful when the family bakes cookies together. Taking nature walks and raising tadpoles and worms become hands-on science. Children struggling with learning language can actually touch a couch or refrigerator instead of just seeing a picture on a workbook page. Special needs children thrive with this type of rich learning experiences.
You Are Not Alone
Home schooling is much more mainstream than it used to be. Parents have a wealth of curricula from which to choose, and most communities have homeschooling support groups. Many local coalitions even offer cooperative learning for math, science, art, music and physical education. Churches and libraries are good sources for homeschooling information and often open their facilities for use by homeschoolers. There is good support for parents who decide to homeschool a disabled child.
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Naomi Esterly balances writing freelance for 1800wheelchair.com, the leading wheelchair site on the net.