Homeschooling is recognized for providing mainstream, high performance, personalized education to students of all ages and learning styles. Homeschooled children frequently outperform their public and private school peers due to individualized instruction, a more nurturing family environment and the heightened involvement of parents. This is especially true for disabled children.
The Power Of Parental Involvement
The research is unequivocal. When parents are involved in their child’s education, the child performs better and is far more likely to succeed in every area of life. The same is true of families in which parents regularly read aloud to their young children. By being actively involved, parents are demonstrating the value they place on both the child and the act of learning. Children develop personal pride in their accomplishments, as well as academic and social skills. By homeschooling a disabled child, those effects are compounded for even more positive effects. At the same time the disabled child is learning facts and figures, they are able to grow and demonstrate their new abilities in the home environment.
The same individualized instruction that allows other homeschooled students to move forward faster than their public school peers also allows disabled students to take the time they need to develop a more solid foundation in a subject or skill set. While there are specific requirements associated with accredited homeschooling programs, the method of instruction can be far more personalized in a homeschool setting than in a public classroom. This is especially helpful for a disabled child who may need visual or auditory support, the ADD/ADHD child who works better in an environment with fewer distractions, or the emotionally disabled child who may become easily frustrated.
A More Personalized Pace
Everyone learns at their own pace. In public or private school, students are expected and required to perform at the same pace as their peers, based solely upon birth dates. Students who cannot do so are labeled failures, which has both academic and personal ramifications that can lead to lifelong hardships. Homeschooling disabled children eliminates this issue altogether. Accomplishments and achievements can be focused on in ways that encourage the disabled child to strive for more, rather than repeatedly experiencing the failures that would come in a public school setting.
Parents Know Their Children
Unlike overcrowded classrooms, homeschooling parents can prevent their disabled child from being lost in the proverbial shuffle. By homeschooling their disabled child, parents can use what they already know about their child’s interests, likes, and dislikes to craft a curriculum that will retain their child’s interest while still going through the required curriculum at a pace suitable to each child. Very often, a tricky topic can be made far easier simply by putting it into terms the child will find interesting. For example, a child who loves baseball will find statistics far easier to learn by using baseball cards than from a book. Most public and private schools do not have that luxury. Teachers are generally required to use books, materials and curriculum pacing set out and bought by the school district or school administrator. Parents of disabled children can use what they know about their child to create a more positive and productive educational experience.
Strong Outside Support
The world of homeschooling has developed several credible support organizations that create curriculum and study materials, assessment tools and community educational and social activities. Gone are the homeschooling days of isolation. There are homeschooling clubs, traveling teachers and special offerings from museums, ice skating rinks, zoos and countless other educational facilities, all of which provide exceptional outside support for the parent who is homeschooling. These activities also allow the disabled child to move out into the world while still feeling safe in the company of a parent. Groups tend to be small. This benefits everyone: as the adults can exchange experiences and enjoy each others’ company, so, too, can the children develop their social skills at a pace and in environments that they can handle. They also get an opportunity seldom granted to public school students, and that is seeing several adults working together on their educational behalf. The social interactions of the adults also provide examples for the disabled children to learn from.
Disabilities do not stop children from learning. Rigid school routines and an archaic curriculum can and does, disabled or not. Homeschooling a disabled child is an excellent way to provide not only the academic skills, but to also impart a greater sense of independence and self-confidence that will serve the child far longer and better than any recitation of historical names and dates.