There are many reasons to home school your disabled child, ranging from scheduling conflicts due to medical procedures, to a child not receiving enough one-on-one attention in a classroom. Home school is an education option available to children in the United States, as well as many other countries around the world. While regulations vary from state to state in the United States, most parents find that home schooling isn’t nearly as difficult as they thought it was, and that their disabled child may do much better in their home environment than they ever did in a typical classroom.
The following are a few of the many reasons for homeschooling that parents may consider when deciding whether to educate their child at home:
- Rest when needed. Often times a disabled child needs more time to rest than their able-bodied counterparts. They can take a short nap, relax on a couch with their legs up, or simply take a day off from regular school work when they're educated in the comfort of their own home.
- Flexible scheduling. A home school schedule can be as flexible as the participants need it to be. Since there are no time constraints, a parent can teach seven days a week, year ‘round. This works well for children that need to have frequent medical procedures, which would cause them to miss too many days of school in a traditional school year.
- Flexible curriculum. Parents who teach at home have the flexibility of creating their own curriculum, though there are many online curricula available as well. A child, depending on how they are feeling on a particular day, may choose to have their parent read to them if they can only lie down and listen, or if they are feeling well, may go on a field trip to a local museum. A child could spend an evening at home star gazing to meet a science requirement, or take a ceramics class at a local art center to meet an arts requirement.
- Cost considerations. Choosing to home school may, in some cases, reduce the cost of care. Special schools, transportation, tutors and aides can cost thousands of dollars per month. While many parents struggle with the thought of quitting a job in order to stay at home and care for their child, they may discover that the cost of the care equals the income from their job. The time spent with a child, and the support they receive from personalized attention, is well worth the sacrifice of a job that only pays for the cost of child care.
- Stress reduction. Stress is a factor for both a disabled child and their parent. A child may be bullied at school or not receive the attention they need in the classroom due to budgetary concerns in the school district. A parent may be stressed because they’re worried about who is taking care of their child at school, or concerned about meeting the costs of the child’s specialized care. When a parent decides to home school their child, they can reduce these stresses or eliminate them altogether. The parent can relax knowing that the best person is in charge of their child’s care at all times, and the child can thrive in a supportive education environment with one-on-one attention.
If you’re considering home schooling a disabled child, the following resources may be of assistance in your area :
- Visit a local home school support group to get advice on how it works in your state and school district. Talk with others who home school and hear their success stories.
- Check with your place of worship to see if there is a support group or classes offered for home schooled children and their parents.
- Many art and fitness centers offer classes during the day exclusively for home schooled children. This is also a good opportunity to network with other home schooling parents.
- Talk with the superintendent or principal at your school to discuss home schooling. While not all administrators are supportive of parents who want to home school, you may be surprised to find that just as many are willing to assist you in the endeavor.