Welcome to Day 12 of the 31 Days of Random Reflections on Raising and Homeschooling a Child with Special Needs. You can find the main page for this series here.
Parents of children with special needs choose to homeschool for many reasons. Some of the reasons are medical, some are purely educational, some are socially-related, and most are a combination of these and other reasons.
We primarily chose to homeschool because our son wasn’t ready for an institution. We also felt the institution wasn’t ready for him.
Instead, we chose to work on the foundations that most children build in their first 5 years of life, and that our child had not yet achieved.
While most children learn to walk and talk and eat on their own by the age of 5, our son was learning to balance in sitting.
While most children run around in their backyard and climb play structures by 5, our son was just beginning to pull himself up in his crib.
While many children play imaginative games by age 5, our son was chewing on them instead.
The gap was huge. It still is.
But, each day we work on building the foundations we know he’ll need in order to become as independent as possible.
What do we work on?
We provide many things through home education.
- a healthy, unhurried, non-pressured approach to learning
- a safe environment for exploring daily, meaningful activities
- a loving, nurturing understanding for our child’s developmental needs
We also build on many skills and values that schools no longer focus on by the time a child is school-aged:
- strong family and interpersonal connections based on love, respect, and trust for one another
- spiritual relationships with others and with self
- time to delve into life and learning at his own pace
- life skills explored in the place they will be used (and make most sense)
- learning through light-hearted, meaningful, and engaging play-based activities
Each of these foundations helps our son develop a sense of self and his place in the world.
Through homeschooling, I’m doing as much as I can in these critical stages — while I can. I don’t know that we’ll do this forever. But, I do know that I won’t be young and strong and capable forever. I will one day leave this life knowing I did everything I possibly could for the child we were given to guide.
The foundations will have been laid down.
And, I will be satisfied.
What are you building in your homeschool?
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