This school year, many parents found themselves in a position that they had never anticipated- teaching their children at home, whether they chose to or not. Some have kids in schools continuing with distance learning for the foreseeable future, and some decided to do independent study or privately homeschool.
Teaching a child with special needs at home can be challenging, whether it’s assisting them with their virtual classroom, helping them with their independent studies, or maintaining some semblance of the routine they are used to.
The prospect of teaching your child at home can be daunting, but there are ways to make the best out of an unexpected situation.
Let Go of Unrealistic Expectations
The expectation of homeschooling that most people have is far different from reality. It’s a huge adjustment, and it doesn’t mean that you’re doing it wrong. Every family is different and needs time to figure out what works best for them.
The most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to recreate school at home. This is an unrealistic expectation that has many parents stressing out unnecessarily.
Your child doesn’t have to sit at a table or desk doing academic work for hours on end. Most kids who learn at home only do two to three hours per day of school work, depending on their needs and learning style. Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), for example, often do better with shorter lessons and frequent breaks.
Integrate Sensory Objects and Special Education Supplies
As lovely as it would be, most families don’t have space or the money to put together a state of the art sensory room in their home, but having a few favorite sensory objects around while learning can help tremendously.
Items such as exercise balls, fidget spinners, sensory chew toys, and weighted blankets are things that many things parents may already have on hand. If not, they are usually reasonably priced at local department stores or online. You can also make sensory bins to use at home.
Task bins, which are visually structured learning tasks that allow for frequent repetition of skills, are great to have on hand. Kids can practice math skills by counting money or ordering from a menu. They can also work on sentence structure and prepositions with the task cards.
Prioritize Organizing Homeschool Supplies
Let’s be real; having kids at home all day means that cleaning and organizing can fall to the wayside. However, if you choose to keep one area of your home organized, let it be the one with the homeschool supplies. It will save a lot of time and aggravation!
There’s nothing more frustrating than looking for a writing utensil when you need one or digging through a pile of arts and craft supplies to find the crayons required to complete an assignment. You can find inexpensive containers at most dollar stores to keep all your supplies organized.
For kids who aren’t used to learning at home, displaying visual schedules around the learning area is a great way to keep a consistent routine and reduce anxiety.
If you feel overwhelmed, there are many homeschooling groups online, and several are explicitly focused on homeschooling children with special needs. You may even be able to find one local to you. These groups are full of veteran homeschoolers who are happy to provide resources, offer advice, and answer questions.
For information on supplies and products that will enrich your homeschool or distance learning journey, please visit our webpage.