The Pros And Cons Of Homeschooling Your Special Needs Child
The choice as to whether or not to homeschool your child is always going to be a personal one, and it’s a huge decision that takes a lot of thinking about. When your child has special needs such as Down syndrome, that decision has even more factors within it to think about.
There are pros and cons to each side of the argument about homeschooling your special needs child, and this is why you need to start thinking about the idea well before your little one is at the age to begin attending school. Here are some of the pros and cons of the concept so you can start considering your options.
Pro – One-on-One Attention
It doesn’t matter how great the schools in your area are, there is one thing that no school can offer any child, and that’s constant one-on-one attention. The fact is, you can spend much more time helping your child when they are homeschooled than a teacher would be able to do if they went to a regular school.
Since many children who have special needs will learn differently from those without, this one-on-one teaching time might be exactly what they need to make the most of their school days.
Pro – More Flexibility
At school, the routines are strict, and there is little room for any kind of flexibility. This might be exactly what some children need, and certainly some special needs children thrive on flexibility. However, if your child needs to have longer breaks some days, if they need time to digest certain lessons and not so much to learn other things, or if they have appointments with the best speech therapy consultants or physical therapists, this can all be incorporated into the day. You can even change your plans at the last minute if you need to.
With this kind of flexibility, you can even choose where your child learns. If they are happy at a desk inside or prefer learning outside or even like to do their lessons in the car, you can accommodate their wishes.
Pro – More Control Over Social Interactions
Children with special needs may have issues when it comes to social interactions. Depending on their condition, they might find it especially difficult to make friends or, conversely, they might be far too trusting. Either way, this can be problematic and may even lead to bullying. When you are homeschooling your child, you have much more control over their social interactions.
In other words, this means you can be around while your child is playing with others, and you can ensure that the relationships are positive ones.
Con – Some Subjects Are Difficult To Teach At Home
No matter how hard you try as a parent, there will always be classes that are more difficult to teach at home than at school. We don’t mean simply due to the level of knowledge required; we’re talking about those classes that are often state-funded, ensuring the children taking part have access to the best equipment. This might be art, gym, music, theater, and sports.
Without the right equipment or the money to ensure you have it, these subjects might not be easy to deal with when homeschooling. Of course, there are plenty of extra-curricular classes that might make up for this, but again they will cost money.
Con – Less Interaction With Other Kids
Even if you are homeschooling your child’s siblings as well, they still won’t have as much interaction (and maybe none) with kids their own age as they would at school. Although this might not seem like much of a drawback to begin with, children thrive in friendship groups, and they can learn a lot from being around their peers.
This problem can be dealt with by teaming up with other homeschooling families. You may not want to meet every day, but if you do so once or twice a week, you can share your homeschooling responsibilities and your child can make friends.
Con – Homeschooling Can Be Exhausting
When you are homeschooling your child, whether they have special needs or not, you’ll need to fulfill a number of different roles such as teacher, coach, companion, therapist, friend, and of course, parent. This can mean that homeschooling becomes exhausting, not to mention that there is not going to be an easy distinction between ‘school’ and ‘home’. When does the teaching end and the downtime begin for you and your child? You may also find that, since you are so busy with your homeschooling, you stop interacting with friends and family or doing any hobbies just for you, isolating yourself. This can have a negative impact on your mental health.
Make sure you have a true definition between home and school and life will be much easier.