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As you know, teachers prepare for their career path through many hours of course work and student teaching before they begin teaching school. So how in the world could a parent without such training and preparations expect to be able to successfully homeschool their children? If you are a parent, you are your child’s first teacher. So, you know what works and what doesn’t, especially if they are a child with special needs.

Homeschooling is quite different than a brick-and-mortar classroom. For instance, a classroom teacher is usually having to deal with other responsibilities besides just those tasks that are required of them. Such as having to teach to large class sizes with different learning abilities and styles, in my experiences as a parent of a child with special needs, these public-school teachers literally have no time to take your child by their sides and teach to them one-on-one. Unless you have a very awesome paraeducator that will be that one-on-one teacher for your child 24/7/365. Yeah, right?! This is one of the main reasons that we decided to take homeschool for a ride and not look back, especially since we saw no progress for several years.

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I can tell you, as a mother/parent/homeschooler, the temperament toward learning in which the child is exposed to at home is a huge influencing factor when it comes to how a child does in a public-school environment. Then there are the discipline issues that inevitably come, sometimes these same teachers may not know how to handle a situation when your special needs child is involved. I cannot count the times in which I was called to a brick-and-mortar school because the teacher was not able to handle my special needs child’s meltdown. They just did not know what to do because they were not taught how to deal with these types of situations. Although there were protocols that should have been implemented, at the time, it was easier for the teacher to leave my child sitting in the front office by himself in the principal’s office, than to take care of the situation professionally.

Disciplinary action is a whole different arena when you are a special needs homeschooling parent. This is a natural duty for you as a parent and as such you can incorporate rules and policies that not only work best for you but for your family as well.

As a homeschooling special needs parent, you are in control of the home environment of your child. You certainly don’t have to teach, motivate, and reach out to an entire room full of children at one time. We only have to motivate and manage one (or several) children, and even then (if you’re creative with your scheduling and planning) it doesn’t have to be all at the same time. As special needs homeschoolers we are driven by the highest of motivators… the love for our children and the desire for them to be successful.

When it comes to the curriculum, schoolteachers are largely bound by a prescribed program and schedule. In the traditional classroom, because of scheduling and time constraints (along with everything else) a teacher must instruct as efficiently as possible. Too much time on one unit will probably mean cuts being made in others. One of the biggest challenges schoolteachers faces with the larger class sizes is finding teaching pace that will not outrun the slower student yet deliver to the higher learners’ subject matter that challenges them as well. Unfortunately, the answer is usually a compromise where most special needs students fall through the cracks.

As a special needs homeschooling parent, you don’t have to work within the time constraints or class sizes. As a whole, a special needs homeschooling parent can work with and help their children fully learn something without having to worry about any myriad of issues that schoolteachers face on a daily basis.

It’s been documented that one-on-one instruction facilitates learning at a much greater pace than can be done in a one-to-many environment. The special needs homeschooling parent has the flexibility to adjust the schedule as learning dictates. You’ll find that because this teaching model is so much more efficient than classroom learning, that you’ll be able to dig deeper and stay longer within subjects and still have plenty of time on your homeschool yearly calendar.

Preparation is always a good thing and with today’s technologies it’s much easier. Get out there and read books, find some good online special needs homeschooling forums that you like and jump in. You’ll soon get a feel for how those ahead of you on the path have approached the very same questions that you have. Be prepared for some sanding and buffing of your schedule and your plans until you find what works best for you, your child(ren) and your family.

Do you have educational training and pedigrees that schoolteachers have? Probably not, but who cares! As you now know, especially in the case that your child has special needs and a learning disability, you don’t need those credentials, you have your knowledge and know how as a parent. Again, in some states this may vary, requiring you to actually have some type of degree just to become a homeschooler. Find out, just to be sure, so that you are not breaking any laws. But in most cases, you shouldn’t need any type of degree whatsoever.

So, homeschooling… can you really do this? I think you’ll find that with the availability of so many resources today, combined with your enthusiasm for your child’s success and the love of being their parent that… yes you can do this.