It is difficult to homeschool your child so that he will learn especially if he has a disability. As parents we need to be more diligent in creating programs that work.
One way to homeschool your child with special needs is to modify the curriculum. Most curriculum is written for the average student. Even curriculum that is made for children with learning disabilities cannot guarantee success with your child. It will take time and hard work on your part.
First we need to buy curriculum that is at our child's functional age not his physical age.
Then we need to modify the text. For a child that has trouble reading you can make audio recordings. You can also obtain audio recordings from Learning Ally. Learning Ally was previously called Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.
If your child has difficulty finding key information you can highlight important words and concepts.
Some children have trouble focusing on problems if there is too many on a page. You can copy the problems. Then cut the paper into strips so that there are fewer problems to do at one time.
Some children have difficulty answering questions. You can allow the child to answer orally or make a test on the computer.
For most children with learning disabilities modifying the curriculum is not enough. You will need to do some remedial work. Remedial work helps to fill learning gaps. Plan to spend some extra time teaching math facts and or language skills.
You can also teach your child to compensate for their difficulties. You can show them how to use a calculator for math. Using a spell checker or computer can help with writing.
Modifying your teaching can also help homeschool your child with special needs. When our children have learning disabilities we need to provide more monitoring, praise, feedback and examples. Sometimes our lessons also need to be shorter.
A teaching approach that is effective with children who have learning disabilities is called direct instruction. I have used this approach with children who had special needs when I worked in the public school system. It worked most of the time.
The approach consists of nine steps;
When you homeschool your child it is also important to give them some self monitoring checklists. The checklists could include steps for;
When you homeschool your child you will need to teach him some study skills.
Some children can learn facts by using acronyms and mnemonics. The best acronyms and mnemonics are ones that the child thinks up himself.
An acronym is a word or phase where the letters stand for keywords. A well known acronym is NEWS which stands for North, East, West, and South.
To make a mnemonic think of words that use the same first letter for concept you are learning. Then link the words into a sentence. A mnemonic for learning the planets in order from the sun is Mary's Very Energetic Music teacher Joyfully Sold Us New Pianos. The capitalized letters stand for Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Juniper, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
Music can also help children learn facts. Parents can make music tapes themselves or buy a commercial product from Audio Memory or Sing 'n Learn.
Here are seven steps for making your own music tapes.
When your child reads textbooks he will need to learn how to organize the information so that can be learned.
Some children like to use visuals such as graphic organizers. The child can place the main fact in a circle or square. Then draw lines to supporting information.
Index cards are also helpful when you homeschool your child. Your child can use index cards to
We may also need to help our children find the information that they need to study. We can teach them to skim the text for information. They need to look at bold words, graphs, and pictures.
Our children can also look at the study questions before reading the text. Then when they read the text they can answer the questions.
When you homeschool your child you will want to control behavior. When there is a behavior problem there is not much learning going on.
There are two steps to controlling behavior. The first step is preventative. Know your child's triggers and modify the environment to accommodate him as much as possible.
One way to help with distractions is to have a school room if at all possible. Having your child work on schoolwork in the family room or his bedroom is not a good idea. There are just too many distractions.
Another preventive measure is to have a schedule. Most children who have disabilities do not like change. When we had a change in the schedule at school we told the students at least a day in advance.
Have simple concise rules. If at all possible place the rules where the child will notice them.
When your child is having a behavior problem you will need to determine if it is part of his disability or your child misbehaving. Then you will need to determine what you will do to change the behavior. You will also need to be consistent in your discipline.
Some of the ideas for how to homeschool your child came from Strategies for Struggling Learners a Guide for the Teaching Parent by Joe P. Sutton, PhD and Connie J. Sutton, M.A.Ed.
You can homeschool your child.