Homeschool a child with special needs? Not as crazy as it sounds

by Kathy Kuhl

Know someone who is thinking of homeschooling a child with special needs? Know someone telling you you can’t homeschool a child who learns differently? Join me for a free webinar on homeschooling children with special needs. It’s on Tuesday, May 2, 11 AM EDT. I’ll post the talk on the “past talks” page.

PEATC, the Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center, is hosting this webinar. Preregister today to get your unique log-in link. Is there an education or medical professional you’d like to watch this webinar? Send this along to them, please.

People imagine homeschoolers stay home

Cartoon by Jason Holm, 2007,
Cartoon by Jason Holm, 2007,

I guess the name “homeschool” confuses people. I often find medical professionals and other therapists simply don’t know homeschoolers can get outside and into the community more than those in traditional schools.

Perhaps they imagine “anti-social weirdos who stay home all day.” Those were the words of a mom who simply didn’t consider homeschooling. Then she discovered neither public nor private schools in her area were a good fix for her bright, creative son with learning disabilities. She started homeschooling and loved it. (She was one of the 65 families I interviewed for my book, Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner.)

Stifling Structure? Boring lessons?

Professionals also may imagine homebound families, at the kitchen table all day, filling out worksheets. Certainly some people homeschool that way, but if the school of sitting at a table day didn’t work at school, why would we replicate it at home?

I read several education newsletters. Periodically I’ll read about trends in customizing instruction to the individual or adapting curriculum or schedule–things homeschoolers do with ease.

Other Misconceptions

Once at a workshop, I heard professionals announce that homeschooling doesn’t work. Soon after he had to retract their words in the face of evidence. He even admitted he didn’t know much about homeschooling. (I loved the gracious, yet firm way one homeschooling parent demolished his arguments.)

This is why I’ve spoken at national conferences of the Autism Society, the Learning Disabilities Association, and CHADD, Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder. I want professionals to know homeschooling is not as crazy as it may sound to them.

Homeschooling a child with special needs–visible or invisible– is not for everyone. But many families tell me it’s the best fit for them. In the comments below, please post how it’s worked for you. Thank you.

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