Homeschool my special needs kid? Me?
A little bit of background
I was a public-school student and had never thought about homeschooling; after having my two boys, I started to meet homeschool moms. The idea was becoming more familiar but still I was not sold into it. Not because of the benefits or reasons to engage in this journey, but mostly because of my capacity.
I’m a librarian and loved the opportunities I had to do workshops. I’m a children’s leader and teacher at our church plant. When I’m teaching at the Women Ministry, I feel so great. But for some reason the idea of teaching my own kids didn’t came natural to me.
So, what change?
This past year our middle son, Jonatán who is 7 years-old, non-verbal with an Autism Diagnosis went to school for the first time. It was terrifying not knowing what happened in detail. He was so happy when it was time to go to school; but when the first semester ended, I knew something had to change. For us as parents it was hard to see him struggling with tasks that a preschooler can master and that mix of emotions brought the question again: Should we start homeschooling?
After months of prayer, consulting other homeschool moms, his therapist and everyone that I could thought about; we made the decision, we will homeschool. My excitement turned again into worry. So as the bookworm I am; I started reading, blogs, forums, books, a bunch of information that I tried to transmit to my husband like a firefighter’s hose; trying to convince myself that we will be fine and that this was the best option for our son.
Where we are at now?
Currently, we are doing a test run in the month of July so that both of us get used to “work” together; since Jonatán is not used to do “work” with me at home. We have been practicing over and over pen control and tracing and it has been so great to see him reacting to his own progress and accomplishments.
Somedays I still battle with the whole idea, but here’s what I keep reminding myself about homeschooling my kid with special needs:
We will take it one year at a time, and even one month at a time.
We will work to achieve specific practical goals based on his needs and not on what other kids his ages or even his brother and sister can do.
We will take our time with each skill and concept, until he masters it.
We will teach using food, which is his main reinforcer and motivation. (Use whatever motivates your own child.)
We will take some days off and also small break throughout the year.
We will have fun!!!
We will rest on the LORD during this journey.
I’ll be sharing in other posts how we chose the skills and concepts that we will work on and the books and activities we will be using in our first year of homeschool. Now I want to share some of the books that I read or listen to that help me build up more confidence to hold my son’s hand and start this new adventure. I’ve read a few more and many blog posts but these were very beneficial for me; some are about homeschooling other are about managing the household, which is one my worries.
Rethinking School: how to take charge of your child’s education by Susan Wise Bauer
The Brave Learner: finding everyday magic in homeschool, learning, and life by Julie Bogart
The Read-Aloud Family: making meaningful and lasting connections with your kids by Sarah Mackenzie
Homeschooling the child with Autism: answers to the top questions parents and professionals ask by Patricia Schetter
Autism Recovery Manual of Skills and Drills: a preschool and kindergarten education guide for parents, teachers and therapists by Elizabeth Scott
Teaching young children with autism SpectrumDisorder by Clarissa Willis
A Simplified Life: tactical tools for intentional living by Emily Ley
Cleaning House: A mom’s twelve-month experiment to rid her home of youth entitlement by Kay Wills Wyma
Say Goodbye to Survival Modeby Crystal Paine
I still have some on me to-be-read list and will update this list when I finish a few more. Let me know which book has help you in your own homeschool journey.