The number of special needs students in the United States is growing. Currently, there are over 7 million special needs children with disabilities ranging from Autism to Down Syndrome.
Finding new ways to educate these children is paramount for both parents and teachers. Many parents are now considering homeschool to be the right option for their child with special needs. We are going to break down the pros and cons of this option so that you can make the best decision for your child.
Let's get started!
Pros and Cons of Homeschooling a Child with Special Needs
Taking control of your child's education is challenging, however, it can be rewarding for both you and your child. The pros and cons of choosing homeschool over a traditional classroom setting vary depending on the child.
Homeschooling is the right choice for many families, however, it is sometimes not always the best fit. Let's take a look at some of the things to consider before committing homeschool your special needs child.
Pro: Managing Accommodations
Many children with special needs have special requirements to make them comfortable, help them learn, etc. When teaching from home your child can get the individualized attention they need in the comfort of their home.
When teaching your special needs child at home you will not need to jump through any hoops to ensure your child gets the accommodations they need. Your child might benefit from wearing a weighted blanket or keeping a security toy with them while they learn. These special measures have to be approved by the school in a traditional classroom setting, however, at home, you can let your child do what they need to stay comfortable.
Con: Accessing Tools
Homeschooling your child does give you the benefit of managing their learning space, however, it could also put you at a loss when it comes to special tools. The school will likely have free special services that can be provided to your child. These services and learning tools could be pricey to pay for out of pocket.
Additionally, depending on where you live, you might have to submit an education plan for the year. This means that you will need to keep track of paperwork, files, and records for your student that would normally be done by the school.
Pro: Taking Responsibility
When you decide to homeschool your child you are putting yourself in charge of their education. You will have the freedom and flexibility to try new methods and tools without the red tape of the school district.
As a homeschool parent, you will be able to apply new techniques that benefit the education of your child's individual needs rather than the entire class. You will have the freedom to explore new types of learning with your child without the approval of anyone else.
Being in charge of your student's education can be rewarding, but you need to be prepared to be held accountable. Homeschooling is a full-time commitment that can interfere with other daily routines.
It is important to be prepared for things like evaluations regarding your child's progress. If you find that your child is not making progress or that you are struggling with patience then homeschooling might not be the best option.
One of the major benefits of teaching special needs children at home is the freedom and flexibility of the schedule. Getting any child ready for a day of school is challenging, however, with a special needs student it can be almost impossible some mornings.
Teaching from home can help get your special needs student on a schedule that works for both of you. Your child will not have to be confined to a classroom setting. You can choose to have your lessons at the dinner table, a park, in their bedroom, etc. Teaching at home lets you have the freedom to choose.
Con: Lack of Structure
Some children with special needs greatly benefit from a strict structured daily routine. Your child might have trouble settling down into a new routine if there is too much flexibility. Consider teaching certain subjects at the same time every day to help implement some sort of routine if they are struggling.
Pro: Friends and Social Life
Socializing and making friends can be challenging for children with special needs. In a traditional school setting, your child might fall victim to the cruelty of other children by way of peer pressure or bullying. When you homeschool your child you can manage their social settings to ensure positive friendships are being made.
Additionally, the flexibility of your new schedule could free up time for your child to become involved in extracurricular activities that benefit special needs children. Keeping your child mentally and physically active is important during homeschool.
Con: Managing Socialization
In a school setting your child is constantly around other children. If they are in special needs classes they are around other like-minded children. When you homeschool your special needs child you have to take full responsibility to make sure that they can socialize and make friends outside of the house.
Homeschooling your child means they will have fewer opportunities to practice socializing which is key to their development. You will need to take charge of planning activities with other children so your child gets the social stimulation they need to grow.
Making the Best Choice for Your Family
Knowing how to navigate the education of a special needs child is not easy. Homeschooling is a wonderful opportunity to connect with your child and manage their learning and growth firsthand. With that being said, it is not an option that works for every family.
Take your time and make the decision that best fits your family's needs. These pros and cons will help you in making the right choice.
We would love to help your child succeed. Our site offers resources and tools that can help you when educating your child.