There are so many different education options available, which is a good thing since each family and child has different needs. One box can’t fit everyone. But, it can be difficult and stressful trying to determine the right fit for your family, or a particular child. Although we are still new to homeschooling here are ten ways we have discovered that homeschooling works really well for our needs.
1) My children are no longer being compared to their non-special needs peers. This seems like common sense, but the reality is that the classroom environment becomes a place of comparison and rankings. We had one teacher post up pictures drawn by the children, but as my youngest is severely delayed in his fine motor skills his dinosaur was essentially scribbles. By hanging up his picture along side his peers pictures it made him the target of intense mocking and bullying.
2) We can learn at my children’s pace. If they need more time to practice a skill, we do that. If they nail something immediately, instead of repeating it until their brains go numb, we move on to more challenging and interesting exercises.
3) We can take breaks on bad days. My kids struggle with various forms of anxiety and trauma disorders. There are going to be bad days and forcing them to work when their brains are flooded with cortisol, battling negative thoughts, or stuck in a flight/fight state is simply not going to work.
4) When they need help they can get it. Questions are answered when they have them, and that curiosity and passion to gain knowledge is constantly encouraged and supported.
5) Playing to their passions. I love that we can now teach concepts framed in a way that excites my kids and makes them enjoy learning again.
6) Our learning starts from a place of compassion, love and understanding. I understand my children’s needs. I’ve come to recognize the symptoms of when they are struggling. For example, my youngest struggles with fine motor skills, but he still wants to learn and do experiments. I know how to work around those struggles so he doesn’t become frustrated or lose self-confidence.
7) Online learning is an amazing tool. There is so much access to learning through the internet. Our biggest struggle is finding the time to take advantage of all the opportunities.
8) Diversity. I realize this is something that may not be true in all areas, but where we live our homeschooling community is extremely diverse, much more so than our schools. My children spend time with people of all ages, religions, ethnic backgrounds, family dynamics and abilities. Being unique and different has become their norm.
9) We are no longer locked into a schedule and plan that doesn’t work for us. If my boys need to attend an appointment we can just book it without fear of missing school. My husband works in a job that does not allow him time off during the main school holidays. This means that the only time we can have a family vacation is when school is in session. Now our travels are part of our homeschool!
10) We can learn anywhere, anytime. We are learning Spanish right now and planning a trip to a Spanish speaking country so we can practice our new skills. I love this approach to learning in real world kind of way. I think it will really help my boys retain the knowledge for the long term and is a much more natural way of learning.
Soon I will post about how homeschooling is hard and not perfect. Follow me on Pinterest or Facebook so you don’t miss that post! Or join my newsletter for a monthly round up of my most popular posts of the month.
Homeschooling isn’t for everyone, but for some families it is a wonderful opportunity for individualized learning in an environment that promotes passions, individuality and curiosity. And the best part is that nothing is ever set in stone. Right now homeschooling works for us, but if it doesn’t work in a year, we can go back into the school system. It’s all about what is best for my children at any given time.