SPECIAL NEEDS ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOLERS
Being a gifted and recovering dyslexic as well as a mom of a special needs student (delayed development & Autism), my own dyslexic son, and one with a processing disorder, I have always counted it blessing to serve families with special needs students from a unique point of view and basis of experience. It was at the age of 8 that I realized my spiritual gift of relating to children, elderly, and especially special needs. It was at the age of 16 that I deeply knew that I would be gifted with a special needs child. It was at the age of 31 that this gift was realized in Maggie-My-Girl. God is amazing!
At present, the homeschool sector that is growing the fastest is special needs….because it works. To expand upon those while growing those areas that you know they will need and can attain. No wasted time practicing things that your child has already mastered or never will.
Rather than your child being in a class with 6 to 30 other students aiming toward the same general goals, you are able to custom build a curriculum based upon the strengths and weaknesses of your sweet gift. Gone are the moments of practicing things that your child has already mastered or never will. Gone are the short sessions that end all to soon in order to leave ample paperwork time. With homeschool you have the time to weave lessons and reminders throughout your day, all day, every day. It may take some self educating with private therapists, but the payoff with your special needs child will amaze you.
Susan Blackwell of Blackwell HomeSchool Testing (803) 429-3899, offers professional guidance to parents who home school special needs students in order that they make progress each school year. She will certainly make you breathe easier with her warmth, experience, and professional approach.
- curricula choices
- diagnostic testing
Two businesses in the Charlotte area that offer classes for parenting and special needs are Rankin Institute http://www.thefletcherschool.org/m/rankin-institute/ and South East Psych http://www.southeastpsych.com/
We graduated our special needs daughter in 2016 and counted each day with her a gift. Now I am able to watch her take out books on things that catch her attention (solar eclipse, travel, gardening) or have always had her attention (health, nutrition, cooking). I imagine had we sent her to school she would have arrived home exhausted at the end of each day just looking for an escape. I imagine we might have given in to that need for a quiet, steady place for her and allowed a home culture grow that was other than what we currently have. We would have traded our culture of education for one that did not reflect nor remind of school….and our daughter would have graduated, shut her last book, and come home to live with us in a culture that did not motivate toward continuing to reach for more. That is just what I would imagine given OUR daughter’s parameters. Each situation is different, and yours may be that school is much needed. Please do not read judgement that homeschool is the only way. It is not.
SPECIAL NEEDS HIGH SCHOOLERS
Special needs students require the same credits as above but have until age 21 to complete the coursework with a lower level-of-achievement expectation.
- Set goals for your child based upon the areas they will need to succeed in life,
- Focus on self organizing, self starting, and self pacing
- Electives should focus on future life skills needs, character development, and mastery
- Math will seldom be a high school math, but it is math
- Other books may or may not be high school level
- Special needs students often work 365 days and become life learners
- Transcript options of
- grading based upon Passing rather than numerical Sample
- vocational/occupational Sample coming
- applied studies Sample coming
- 4 or 5 years of high school to graduate with a High School Diploma with Exceptions
We just finished this journey with our daughter and while she will most likely never attend traditional college nor did she take a formal SAT/ACT tests, she is a proud graduate knowing that her hard achieved this incredible goal. The beauty is that she can still be found with her nose in a book because she knows that there is more to learn. Our God is far larger than our greatest visions/plans. Never put a cap on what our child can do. On this day your child will move forward in all areas of growth, and on this day we will walk with her in thankfulness for her being.
Special Needs is one of fastest growing homeschool populations at this time. What we are seeing, and what we have experienced, is that parents know their child’s areas of strengths and weaknesses, and that, if given the time to expand upon that knowledge, are better able to prepare and equip their child for the child’s most successful future. We are able to tailor make an educational journey that is focused toward strengthening needed areas for their greatest success while skimming over areas that they either have in hand or will most likely never utilize. Bringing our special needs students home is showing greater success than the traditional (special needs) education which focuses on many students of various needs/levels/abilities.
Special services are still available through the public school system to those needing Speech, OT, PT, etc., and often these are of higher importance, so there is a limit to the above statement. Again, parents are fully aware of these parameters.