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Today is a special guest post from Lara at Everyday Graces Homeschool. This is part of my homeschool methods summer guest post series. I am having homeschool mom experts share their experiences with different methods and styles of homeschooling. Homeschooling with learning exceptionalities may not be a specific method, but it indefinitely something many parents deal with in homeschooling. Lara has lots of great experience and tips to share with us!
Homeschooling with Learning Exceptionalities
One of the primary reasons families give for pulling their children out of the public school system is that the system was failing their children with special needs. Those needs can range from behavioral, to academic, to social.
They always ask “but can I homeschool my child with _______ (fill-in the blank) need?” because they’ve been belittled by “professionals” into thinking they can’t do any better than the system they want to remove their child from. The system that is failing their child.
The truth is this.
YES! A resounding yes, you can homeschool your child with learning exceptionalities!
There is no one who knows your child better than you. No one else will notice the idiosyncrasies that clue into a possible diagnosis or challenge the way you will. No one else cares about your child’s success the way you do. No one.
From our own experience dealing with Apraxia, SPD, ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and giftedness we have learned that the accommodations you can make in the home environment are far superior to those that can be had in a classroom.
Your child can’t sit for more than 10 minutes? Great! Do ten minute lessons.
Your child is working on 7th grade history but reads at a 1st grade level? Choose a history curriculum with audio.
Your child needs sensory breaks and special fidgets? No need to worry about classmates complaining over the distraction, just let your child fidget as they need to!
Your child functions better at 11 am? Then start school at 11 or after lunch. There’s no need to do school at home when you are utilizing the fantastic world of home education.
Your child needs a minimalist environment in order to focus? Create a distraction free room in your home!
Your 5 year old wants to learn about elements and the periodic table? Why not?!
There is no end to the options available when you decide to teach your child with learning exceptionalities at home.
How We Address Learning Challenges in Our Homeschool
We chose homeschooling because we felt led in that direction from the very start. It was also evident pretty early on that our child with apraxia of speech also had several very common dyslexia traits. It didn’t take long to also realize that his comprehension and conceptualization abilities were far beyond his age.
We were dealing with what the academic community refers to as 2E, or twice exceptional. That’s a fancy way of saying gifted with learning difficulties. It’s a mixed bag of all kinds of challenges and adventures. This is how we tackled homeschooling.
When you’re homeschooling any child, the first step is to figure out how they learn best. The trick to teaching children with learning differences is that they may learn best differently for different subjects.
Step 1 – Identify how they learn each subject best.
The next step is to look for a way to teach each subject in the manner they learn best. Identify the areas that may need extra support. For example, my son needs a lot of hands on activities and visual input, but he also needs auditory input, usually repeated at least once. We utilize activities, documentaries, and audio books that he can listen to as we read and again later as he does other activities.
This is more than just choosing a curriculum, this is also planning ahead for reinforcement and exploration.
Step 2 – Map out how to teach each subject.
At this point, you are running trial and error and tweaking the things that need to be fixed. Depending on how quickly your child moves through each subject, your monitoring and reevaluating could be monthly, quarterly, or even yearly.
Step 3 – Monitor progress and adjust as needed.
We have been thrilled with the progress we’ve been able to help our children make. We are able to allow them to pursue their strengths and passions and are able to support their challenge areas in ways that keep their self confidence intact and allow them to progress at a pace that is right for them.
Our son with dyslexia is now reading almost at his “grade” level. Were he in the public system where we are, they would not even have him tested for a reading disorder until the coming school year. They certainly wouldn’t allow him to play chess or read a chapter book as a brain break between lessons. We know, without a doubt, that he is exactly where he needs to be.
Homeschooling a child with learning exceptionalities is a beautiful thing. And one you’re completely capable of doing!
Lara Molettiere is a homeschool mentor, speaker, and curriculum creator at Everyday Graces Homeschool.
My heart is to help you weed out the overwhelm homeschooling can bring. I am here to help you learn how to plant good seeds, cultivate lovely relationships with your children, and grow good things in your home and homeschool.
See more from the Homeschool Methods Guest Post Series: