Can I Homeschool My Child With Special Needs?
Many parents choose to homeschool their child with special needs. For many of these students, their needs are not being met in the school system. ASD, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Slow Processing Speed, ADD and ADH are some of the more common challenges. These children often require one on one teaching, tailored lessons and an adjusted environment for them to reach their full potential. Many of these children are also dealing with bullying and mental health issues, creating complex challenges. It is legal to homeschool children with special needs in all states of Australia.
- You know your child
- You love your child
- You are highly motivated because you want the best for your child
What Do I Need To Succeed?
Parents withdraw their children from the school system and then homeschool successfully, often seeing a dramatic improvement in their child’s confidence, attitude to life, and engagement with learning.
Special considerations for homeschooling your child with special needs include:
1. Time, Energy and Patience
As you already know, parenting your child can be extremely demanding. Home Education takes time and effort - your child needs YOU. Whatever the other factors are in your life, this one matters most. Do you have the time your child needs? For some special needs children, this might mean you need to be fully available for most of every waking hour. For others, you may need at least 2-3 hours of focussed time each day and intermittent availability for the rest of the day. Homeschool has the benefit of slowing down your daily life. You will no longer need to race through the morning routine to get them out the door, but they will need a LOT of you. Consider your own physical and emotional availability. This doesn’t mean you need to be a super-parent but you do need support to be the best parent you can be. Consider how you can access the support you need to provide the level of care your child needs. Join online and local groups, apply for NDIS (if available for your child), visit your GP or another supportive professional to access professional help for your child and yourself. If you are using Simply Homeschool, our Community Group is an excellent support group where many parents are homeschooling children with special needs.
2. Emotional Environment
Special needs kids are often doubly challenged with high emotional and mental health needs. For many families, these needs are compounded with family conflict or breakdown, other children with special needs, and past or recent trauma such as bullying and abuse. Take comfort, you don’t have to have it all together, but you do need to be intentional in making progress towards building a positive emotional environment in your home. Actively seek the help and support you need. Wherever you are now is ok, but every step you take towards functionality and health matters. Plan to keep moving forward. If necessary, access counselling for yourself and your children, take time to heal your own emotional and mental health. Work towards peace.
3. Physical Environment
Optimise your child’s behaviour and learning by adjusting your physical environment. For example, an old lounge on the verandah can help to improve mental health. A trampoline can help a child to wear off excess energy. A single point swing can assist with regulation. One decluttered room can provide a quite and calm space with no distractions. Work out what best helps your child.
4. An Individual Learning Plan
Children with special needs benefit greatly from an individually tailored learning plan. When you homeschool, you can:
- Provide step by step instructions in a way they understand
- Teach skills at their level
- Focus on their interests
- Teach at their pace
- Structure their timetable to suit their needs
- Include other activities such as exercise, rest, downtime and appointments
- Make their learning goals achievable so that they experience success.
Homeschool Your Child with Special Needs Through Simply Homeschool
We support parents to homeschool kids with a wide variety of special needs. We provide:
- Free Parent Consultations to create a tailored Learning Plan for your child
- Flexible Learning Plans to suit your child’s needs, learning styles and interests
- Integrated Learning where subjects are taught in a holistic way so that you don’t need to change from one lesson to the next
- Real-Life Activities to engage reluctant and resistant learners
- Step By Step Instructions with small, achievable tasks
- Specialised Programs for particular needs
- Life Skills Programs for high school students working at a lower level
- Learning Activities based on engaging books you and your children will love to read
- Inbuilt Record-Keeping to track your child’s progress
- Documentation for Registration is available for purchase for your State/Territory
- A Community Group for support, friendship and encouragement
Over half the families registered with Simply Homeschool have indicated that they are homeschooling a child with special needs. Check out this video from one of our parents: