When I began homeschooling Hannah 17 years ago, homeschooling was definitely becoming more popular, but I quickly found out that homeschooling special needs children was not widely done at that point. There are so many wonderful reasons for homeschooling special needs children. Below you’ll read about my family’s choice and our particular situation. I encourage all special needs parents, though, to consider whether homeschooling might be right for your family like it was (and still is!) for mine.
The teacher who had a special needs child
My first child, Hannah, was born in July almost 19 years ago. At about age 2, she developed autism. I found a program at a local school that was just for autistic children. I knew nothing about teaching an autistic child back then, so I thought I was doing what was best for her by sending her to this class specifically created for children like her. After attending the class for a while, I could tell that Hannah was definitely learning a lot–a lot of negative behaviors! The teacher did her best and did teach Hannah some great things, but several of the other students in the class had terrible behavior problems, and it wasn’t long until Hannah began picking up on them.
As her behavior issues became worse and worse, I decided to try homeschooling. Very soon I noticed that the behavior issues were disappearing and that Hannah was learning what I taught her much more quickly without all of the distractions from other students. I saw for myself how well homeschooling worked! It was a frightening decision to make, but looking back I can truly say that it was one of the very best decisions I ever made for my daughter.
Because homeschooling was working so well for Hannah, I decided not to send her two younger siblings to school but to teach them at home as well. Not only do I not have to worry about my children picking up bad behaviors, but I also don’t have to wonder if they are safe. They are able to work and learn at each student’s own pace, and they have plenty of time for social activities, for reading good books, and for developing hobbies and other constructive uses of their free time. In my 17 years of homeschooling, I have never once regretted that decision.
Wendy of Homeschooling Blessings is a former middle school language arts and history teacher. She now homeschools her 3 kids, ages 11-19.