homeschooling curriculum options for children with special needs

homeschooling special needs: Curriculum options You should look at

Dear parent of a special needs child (or children), I respect you deeply. You are some of the toughest parents I know. 

The battles you face, the exhaustion and soul-wearying fatigue, the constant repetition and the superhuman amount of patience you exert are hard. Some days, you see some progress in your child and celebrate it, but maybe next month, you may have to repeat what the child has just mastered.

Being a parent is already a life-changing responsibility that brings its own worries and cares for the little people we raise, but all of that reaches another level when your child has additional needs and vulnerabilities. 

Used with permission: LifewithJoanne

Showcasing other families who are doing it!

This post contains some images from other homeschooling moms who have children with special needs. Those images are linked to their blogs and have captions to identify them. They graciously agreed to share a glimpse of their lives, I hope you enjoy it and feel less alone!

I don’t have personal experience of homeschooling a child with special needs but I have friends who do. Since this website is all about helping to take the overwhelm out of homeschooling decisions for you, this post may be a helpful resource for many parents who are making curriculum choices for children who have special needs, autism, learning disabilities and/or other challenges.

How do I homeschool my special needs child?

It’s not easy, but you’re the parent who has fought battles for your child from the beginning, so you CAN do this.

You probably already know all there is to know about your child’s struggles, but now it’s time to add some more considerations:

  1. Stay informed on your province, state and/or country’s requirements on homeschooling your child. This may play a role in your choice of curriculum, along with other helpful material.
  1. Research all the resources available to you – use the internet and talk to families who have faced similar (or even more complex) challenges to your family and ask what resources they have used. Depending on where you live, you could access special grants or other types of funding to help cover the costs of home educating your child.
  1. You’ve probably already done this, but join support groups for parents in similar situations. Look for groups that are positive and encouraging. If you can join a local group, that would be even better (yay playdates with families who get it!). 
  1. Take care of yourself. Get resources that also help support you as the parent, and as an individual with your own mental, emotional and physical needs. Take breaks whenever you can. Ask for help and accept offers whenever you can. Do whatever it takes to automate healthy meals (meal planning). Exercise. All the good stuff. PLAN to take care of yourself, otherwise you’ll forget and burn out!
  1. As with any child, approach the journey with love and many prayers for patience. Give yourself and your child grace. Accept the things you can’t understand, and work on enjoying whatever you can in the moment.
Choosing curriculum for special needs students

Can an autistic child be homeschooled?

YES, many parents do, precisely because public schooling lacks the resources and staff to adequately help and support autistic children. 

You may probably use different (and more) resources than other families would, especially if your child also gets therapy, but that’s okay. Do whatever will make this work for your family.

Your methods may also be different, and you may not get as much done in a day as other homeschooling families, but that said, EVERY child is different. Even neurotypical children can take a long time to consolidate certain skills and concepts.

Can you homeschool a child with a learning disability?

Yes, again, this is something many parents do because the one-on-one attention for such a child makes a huge difference. Children with learning disabilities are more subject to bullying and completely shut down under pressure (or act out), so these would be good reasons to homeschool.

In a school system, there isn’t the room or access to sufficient resources to teach the child using different methods based on their needs, interests and learning style. Homeschool lets you teach anywhere, in any way, that helps keep your child interested, motivated and better ABLE to learn and master new information.

homeschool special needs child

Benefits of homeschooling a child with special needs

As for most other families, the following benefits are extremely appealing when it comes to considering homeschooling:

  1. Flexibility – do it at a time that fits you and your child best. Change things up or take a break when your child is having a rough day. Go on outings during off-peak hours to avoid crowds. Try different methods.
  1. Slower pace – your child can work through material at a pace that works for him/her, rather than feeling pressured to keep up with a whole class and an overloaded, stressed teacher. More time and fewer deadlines give a child the freedom to learn without having to “measure up” all the time.
  1. More support – there is more scope for repetition and practicing of math and language skills, for instance. The child feels that someone is alongside them, fighting with and for them to help them learn and grow.
  1. More attention – children who feel safe, loved, heard and understood are better able to learn. Schools don’t have the capacity for so much one-on-one attention and the relationship bonding that comes with it to make it effective.
  1. Scope to do things differently – you can try different methods, resources, and settings. You’re not stuck in a classroom!
  1. Less exposure to infectious diseases – this is often a crucial benefit for children who are immuno-compromised or struggling with severe chronic illness.
  1. You as a parent know your child is under care that is often better than he/she would receive otherwise.
homeschool curriculum for learning disability

Best homeschooling Special Needs curriculum

The best curriculum is the one that matches your child’s needs and situation. What’s best for you will not necessarily be the best for someone else, and that’s okay.

When choosing curriculum and other resources, you are the one spending your hard-earned money, so let’s help you spend it RIGHT. Consider and make your own list of the following:

  1. What are the legal requirements to homeschool your child where you live? What options do you have under those requirements?
  1. How much time do you have to dedicate to homeschooling? How much can your child do on their own?
  1. What support do you have available? Do you have any friends or family who would be willing to help with homeschooling activities? If so, what can you outsource in this way and what do you need to make that work?
  2. What is your budget?
  1. What are your child’s needs? What is your child’s physical and mental capacity like? How much educational activity do you think he/she can manage per day?
  1. What is your child’s learning style – is he/she an auditory, visual, hands-on or kinaesthetic learner?
  1. What is your child interested in? Any thoughts on their career dreams?
  1. What additional helpful resources does your child need? Tools like a tablet, text-to-speech/speech-to-text, audiobooks, a tutor?

All of these considerations will help you choose something suitable.

Homeschooling special needs curriculum (for learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, and ADHD)

homeschooling a child with autism
Used with permission: Kimberly McGee’s son, blog at www.vegaskidszone.com

Keep in mind that no matter what your child’s challenges are and how severe they are, EACH child is different and will respond differently to curriculums. Parents with children who have learning disabilities most often also find themselves taking an eclectic approach to homeschooling, using one type of curriculum for language, another for math, and yet another for other subjects.

There is no single, one-size-fits-all, homeschooling special needs curriculum. Some children work far better with screen-based learning than books or hands-on, while other children struggle to retain screen-based learning and need a more practical, project-based approach.

You’ll also find an overlap in resources that work for many common learning disabilities since many children also have more than one, so they are not specifically grouped.

Tip: Take your time in exploring and figuring out what works best for learning language and math first, then look at other options for science, history, and geography, etc.

Homeschool curriculum for children with autism

homeschooling special needs curriculum
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General

Reading and language

Math

Free online homeschooling special needs curriculums

Unfortunately, there aren’t many free online homeschooling special needs curriculum options for students, BUT you can use whatever IS available and simply use it in a way that suits you. You don’t have to tick every box and follow every outline.

Homeschooling special needs – high school

homeschooling learning disability

As with primary school level content, you’ll see that what works for you in one season, may not work in the next. These resources may help – use them at whatever level your child is comfortable with and go from there.

Encouragement for the weary parent

Sometimes, more than information, you just want to hear from another parent who has walked a mile in your shoes (or more) and survived. On the tough days where it seems like nothing is working, you just want some hope from someone who understands. This list of coping tips and the blogs listed below may help:

homeschooling special needs curriculum = mostly patience

One of the essentials you won’t find on any of these lists is patience. I want to encourage you to have patience with yourself and with your child. Don’t compare your journey with others.

Focus on what works for your child, celebrate every tiny step of progress, every tough day that you get through. All of it counts. 

Every mistake and every single thing/resource/method that has NOT worked, brings you another step closer to figuring out what WILL work. Don’t give up.

This blog is here to support you and to tell you that you can do this. You’re already doing it.

2 thoughts on “homeschooling special needs: Curriculum options You should look at”

  1. Hi There I need help please I want to home school my kids but I don’t have alot of money and my kids are doing much better in home education

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