5 reasons to home educate your special needs child

IMG_77821.Because you know your child best. Simple as this sounds, it is important to give yourself credit for this. If your child’s needs are not being met at school and you, like us, have tried everything you can think of to resolve any issues/difficulties here, you are actually the best person to source or provide the support he/she needs. You will already know how they learn best, what their strengths are and their triggers. You have all their reports and plans and you will have a great deal more time than the average SENCO to implement them.

2. Because you love your child and are going to work 100%, as you always do, to provide for and support them. In school, staff are dedicated, caring all those wonderful things, but they have a whole classroom of very varied needs and abilities to cater for. They may not have the skills set, understanding, empathy, training, need I go on? to meet your child’s needs some of the time, let alone all of the time.

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3. Because with one to one support our children are more likely to thrive. They do not have to struggle in a group dynamic – to express themselves appropriately, deal with sensory issues, or comparative difficulty in processing. Our school day is only 3 -4 hours long, because in that time our son can cover a huge amount more than he would in a school classroom. He can concentrate. Work is set at the right level for him and he enjoys the lessons and works harder because he can immediately see what he is achieving. It is also possible to quickly identify areas of additional need and bring in support for them. For example our son refused to write at home pretty much from Year 4. When we began home schooling in Year 5 we realised that despite the assurances of his school to the contrary he could barely write at all and indeed still couldn’t form several letters. During our year of home schooling we have secured specific OT for him, pushed ahead with touch typing, discovered Dragon (a software programme which types as you speak!), and have specialist English support for an hour a week.

4. Because you can do it! Home schooling may sound scary, but in my experience it is a huge relief, a smile and a hug. Sure many days are frustrating and busy, but you get to share them with your most precious people. There are an increasing number of user friendly resources out there that are easy to follow, many online. You may also be able to secure teaching hours  from your local learning centre, support from social services or your LEA and from schemes such as Equilibrium. You may gain financial support for specified activities. You could also exchange teaching hours from suitably qualified friends and family in return for babysitting for example, or join a home schooling group where resources are often pooled or there is a shared charge for a tutor. It doesn’t need to be all down to you. All of this can take some time to set up though, so I would recommend thoroughly investigating all your options and talking things through carefully with all relevant professionals first.

5. Because as a family it may be the best thing you ever do! Rather than spending hours in  meetings, and trying to deal with your child’s frustrations and anxieties around school, you can be with your child positively, nurturing them and supporting them directly and watching them grow in confidence and ability.

There were very few days in any academic year when I did not feel unhappy about leaving my child at school. My life now feels in proportion again. I have the time and energy to have a life of my own, see friends and execrcise, work part time. I can spend quality time with my partner without talking about my child all the time! We see each other during the day, so weekends are less pressurised, with us all enjoying doing our own thing, as well as together. Instead of educational issues taking central stage constantly, they are a happy part of our every day, as every day there are small achievements and progress to celebrate. Finally,we are no longer all debilitated by stress and worry, which often made my son especially very ill.

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