Homeschooling For Special Needs Children

It is true that no two children are alike and one size does not fit all and this is particularly true when homeschooling for special needs reasons.

Homeschool registration also allows for this flexibility so you need not worry that you will be denied registration simply because your child isn’t operating at grade level.

Many families choose to homeschool with special needs and do it very successfully. Here are some successful stories from parents who use the Charlotte Mason approach with special needs children.

“Gifted and special needs are terms that have traditionally been used to describe students who don’t fit into the ‘ordinary’ box. Some teachers, administrators and parents are determined to drag these children into conformity and hold on tight to the ones who try to break from the ordinary. There are personalities that can somehow survive in the box, but surviving is not living an abundant life. A Charlotte Mason education takes away the box. There is no box. A child is a person that has a mind with an amazing capacity for love and joy and ideas and growth.” Jennifer L. Gagnon

Charlotte Mason also believed that education should suit a child’s ability. She says,

“A great deal has been said lately about the danger of overpressure, of requiring too much mental work from a child of tender years. The danger exists; but lies, not in giving the child too much, but in giving him the wrong thing to do, the sort of work for which the present state of his mental development does not fit him.”

Homeschooling Reading Problems – Dyslexia

When you are a homeschooling parent it is sometimes difficult to work out if your child has a learning difficulty or if they just need a little more time.
Here is a story from Jennifer Janes who shares about special needs homeschooling and her daughter’s homeschooling reading problems.

By Thanksgiving, I was on reading curriculum number four, and it wasn’t working either. I admitted defeat, began seeking answers, and found a whole new way to homeschool. I learned very quickly that my younger daughter’s learning glitches meant that she needed hands-on activities involving as many senses as possible (multisensory activities) to process, learn, and understand concepts. That’s when my thinking about learning—and the way I homeschool—changed. Read More

This Google hangout video I did with speech pathologist and former homeschooling mum, Alison McDonald, also discusses and explains what to look for if you suspect homeschooling reading problems or dyslexia.
See her website Newcastle Speech Pathology.

How Others Do Homeschooling For Special Needs

Sheila Carrol encourages parents with special needs kids that Charlotte Mason’s ideas can be used successfully when you homeschool. She gives many examples from different families.

Charlotte Mason and Dyslexia

Marion said, “Once I stepped away from the textbook, workbook, test mentality, our family began to live and learn like never before.”

Sensory Processing Disorder (Formally called Sensory Integration Dysfunction)

Jennifer James shares how she homeschools her daughter and what other skills she has learnt along the way. She doesn’t claim to be CM but it’s still worth a read.

Mrs Darling who used Ambleside Online for her daughter from age 9 -13 shares how she made this Charlotte Mason curriculum work for her daughter with sensory integration disorder

Autism and PDD-NOS

Sonia Shaffer shares stories from homeschooling her daughter with autism and PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder).

Bipolar Disorder

Michelle from a Passion-led life shares how she uses a Charlotte Mason Method with dyslexia and bipolar disorder.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and ADHD

Some women share their experience with ADD

Stephanie shares her experience of homeschooling her son with ADHD.

Working Out A Curriculum For Special Needs

The term special need is such a broad term and planning a homeschool curriculum for a child with special needs really depends on what particular issue you are trying to address.

I get many emails from enquiring home educating parents asking about where they should place their child in the My Homeschool curriculum.  And this is very difficult for us to assess. However we have a braod answer that may help you along the decision making tree.

If your child suffers from anxiety issues or other non-academic issues  the grade that they would be at school is usually the best answer.

But some children have special learning needs that require a more individualised approach. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can make this choice and you don’t have to follow the rigid grade system in school.

A Few Charlotte Mason Special Needs Homeschooling Tips

Copywork – Although many children with dyslexia and dysgraphia are encouraged to learn typing, it is also important to learn handwriting. Copywork can often take the stress out of handwriting because they only need to concentrate on forming letters and not thinking about what to write. Printing copywork on cream, or soft pastel paper, is also helpful for children with dyslexia.

“We also utilize a large amount of copy-work. Copy-work is part of the review and over-learning of language that is so necessary for dyslexic learners. Seeing the word and writing the word correctly over and over again until the passage can be copied from dictation.” Homeschooling With Dyslexia

According the British dyslexia association it is best to teach cursive first to children with dyslexia.

Reading Aloud Living Books – Living books help children get the big picture. A child who may not be able to read at grade level can still experience a rich education through living books.

Oral Narrations – are a helpful way to test comprehension and aid memorization without being hampered with the writing exercise.

Workboxes – These work especially well with children who need routine.

Nature Study – depending on your child’s fine motor skills keeping a nature journal may be hard. However a photographic nature journal may be just the thing.

Short lessons – help children with short attention spans.

Using My Homeschool For Special Needs Children

My Homeschool was written with the Australian Curriculum general grade recommendations and core competencies. It is a living books program using Charlotte Mason ideas and we have used the general literacy skills that are usually required for teaching at each grade. However, we do know that variations in literacy level is quite normal. Therefore, we think .

Now – where to put your children…Hmmm! This is a question I am asked often. Well that is really only a decision that you can make. However I would suggest you consider your child’s literacy and language skills as a good indicator of where they will fit in and look at our free trial to help you decide. We don’t provide a math curriculum from Year 3 so you can adjust the math curriculum to their math ability.

Academically Gifted Kids

Parents of gifted children can use My Homeschool as a base and then add in a myriad of resources and activities to inspire and extend their child.  This could include additional novels to read and then providing book reviews or character studies, adding experiments into the science components or documentaries and written work into history.  When supporting your gifted and talented child, try to broaden their content as much as you can, not push them forward a grade. There is a lot of research on the complexities of the gifted and talented child and, as with all children with special needs, the key is to support them as best you can.

Use My Homeschool as a tool to help you understand the traits and characteristics of your child rather than just trying to recognise their intelligence.

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