This homeschooling blog was originally published in The Canadian Homeschool Minute – a division of The Old School House Magazine. July 25, 2018.
The decision to homeschool isn’t an easy decision. The decision to homeschool your unique learner is even more difficult. The doubts, fears, uncertainties and especially your abilities (or lack thereof) are ever before you. Can I really homeschool this child?
As a homeschool mom, I certainly had thoughts that my child would be better off in school. At least there the teacher would have more patience. At least there he would have access to assessment and experts…or not?
I presented, Homeschooling Your Unique Learner, at homeschool conferences across the country this spring. I created a chart – homeschool vs traditional school, weighing out the pros and cons. What saddened me most was the response from frustrated parents in these workshops – parents whose unique children had been in school. I heard their desperate cry and their desire to rescue their child by choosing the homeschool road. Is the grass greener on the other side?
Choosing to Homeschool
The choice to homeschool this unique learner comes with struggles and concerns, but sprinkled with the extreme love that a parent provides. Of course, sometimes this ‘rescue’ seems too daunting. Let me share some tips:
- Identification & Acceptance – Coming to grips with the fact that your child is unique and learns differently is a very important step. No parent wants things to be challenging for their child. Remember, there is HOPE!
- Assessment – Identifying your child’s strengths and weaknesses Is essential for a successful homeschool experience. Seek out informal and/or formal assessment.
- Teaching Strategies – Explore a variety of teaching strategies to discover how your child learns best.
- Choosing Curriculum – Stop comparing grade levels and teach at your child’s level. Period. Find their passions and inspire a love of learning!
- Interventions – With your child’s assessment in hand, find professionals that can help direct their learning. This child can succeed!
There certainly were days (or weeks) that I desperately wanted to send my child off to school; to the ‘experts’. However, we plodded along on the journey. Some years later, he told me this:
“Homeschooling was hard, and every year I wondered if I should go to school. BUT now that I’m college I realize how homeschooling has shaped who I am. It has given me the skills I needed to succeed and accomplish my career goals.”
I’m thankful that we persevered in homeschooling this child!
Please join us in our discussion in this Facebook group: Homeschooling Your Unique Learner in Canada.
Identification and Acceptance can be extremely complex. As homeschoolers, we invest so much in our children’s lives and education and seeing problems can feel like a double failure: something they fail in as well as something we have failed them in. But it’s not either of those things. It just is what it is. There is really no place for blame, and certainly no need for shame, just as we wouldn’t blame or shame a child for needing eyeglasses!
There are, however, a lot of people who say things like: wait and see; they’ll grow out of it; it’s like that with boys… We have to trust our intuition as parents and educators. When we sense that there is a problem, it’s really better to get it checked out rather than persisting with what hasn’t been working! On the other hand, we also have to be careful not to take something personally if someone else points out something they are concerned about in our child. It goes both ways.