What about homeschooling special needs?

First, special needs can vary. Sometimes it’s physical issues. We have a son with cerebral palsy. Sometimes it’s an intellectual disability, and so that creates its other challenges. Often, it’s a matter of a particular challenge like dyslexia or dysgraphia that hinders learning. By and large homeschool is extremely well suited to working with special-needs kids. However, you need to develop a strategy that’s going to work well for you. So, in thinking that through, understand that if you have a special-needs child you’re trying to get ready to make it through late high school (or perhaps into college or something more advanced academically); you want to work with them in a steady, regular way. Consistent improvement is the standard (not a grade level necessarily). It may take a little longer by subject or challenge, but once they nail down the right habits with the essentials of math, reading, and writing, they’re going to do great. On the other hand, if your special-needs are honestly not going to be academic, maybe on the extreme they can’t be employed, your homeschooling should shift probably shift from academics to the more practical side.

What habits do you want to build into that unique individual to prepare them to be really as effective as they can be in life and enjoy it? These situations are all unique to the individual, so I would recommend getting with someone who knows what they’re doing, a professional of some type, and just work out a game plan with how you’re going to grow your special needs student. You’re going to be able to be involved in a very intimate way in helping that little girl that little boy get ready for life. Find what engages them and makes them feel safe, along with the skills to function OK with others is the basic priority. Homeschool is a great environment for this kind of training. Of course, you really want to avoid making everything in life revolve around a special-needs child, but that’s for another blog!

-Fred Ray Lybrand

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Dr. Lybrand and his wife (Jody) of 40 years homeschooled their 5 children from birth to college, where they all excelled in academics and community (University of Texas & Abilene Christian). Dr. & Mrs. Lybrand have combined degrees of 2 BA's, 2 Masters, and 1 Doctorate), Fred and Jody have stuck with their faith and their obsession with practical learning. As a result, the overall theme of "Teaching Them to Learn How to Learn" invades everything they offer. Dr. Lybrand pastored for 25 years and currently coaches, consults, and trains leaders in businesses, churches, and non-profits. Among his client list are the U.S. Air Force, CRU, Be Broken, Continental Resources, State Farm Insurance, and Pioneer Natural Resources. Of course, one of his favorite interests is helping homeschoolers excel, and he does so with the 10 Courses of The Independent Homeschooer Curriculum & directly mentoring parents who belong to the tribe. Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand Jr. www.fredraylybrand.com

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