April is Autism Awareness month. My sweet friend Penny Rogers from Our Crazy Adventures in Autismland is visiting today. She is a wonderful and insightful home schooling mom that I am honored to know.
We didn't always homeschool our child with autism. Logan attended public school all the way until the end of his second grade year. It was at that point that my husband pointed out to me that I was spending so much time at school demanding that his IEP be adhered to that I might as well teach him at home. What did I have to lose at this point? I couldn't do any worse than the school system . In hindsight, we should have done it sooner. Try not to linger on that fact for very long. Move forward not backward.
5 Reasons You Should Consider Homeschooling Your Child With Autism
- You can work at their developmental level as opposed to their grade level. Lots of children with autism are developmentally behind their same age peers. Working at their actual developmental level as opposed to their grade level or chronological age gives them the opportunity to learn at a pace that works best for them . In addition, it helps to fill in the gaps they may have in their education. Which brings us to #2.
- You are able to fill in the gaps left by the public school moving at a pace that they couldn't keep up. When you have a class of children to teach, you move on to the next concept when the majority of the class has mastered it. This fact usually leaves our children with autism who process things differently that most children in the dust.
- You can work at individual levels according to their strengths and weaknesses. Logan excels in math so he will always be working above grade level in it. He loathes writing as his sensory issues make putting pencil to paper. physically painful. He is behind in that area so we work at below grade level. His entire education is individualized in that respect. He has flourished in this environment.
- You can customize their education to their interests. We all know that children with autism can hyper focus on items. We went through the dinosaur phase, the train phase and are now entrenched in the reptile phase. I was able to use his love of these items to help him to learn. We used train cars to learn skip counting. We learned about botany by learning what plants dinosaurs eat. We have used his love of reptiles to tailor his high school education in an effort to turn it into a career .
- Your relationship with your child will flourish. With less outside demands, you will get to know your child again. You will see their quirks and will learn to appreciate how hard they work to do everyday tasks. You will become a team in which you can conquer anything. You will make memories that will last a lifetime.
Homeschooling your child with autism will not be all rainbows and unicorns. There will be hard days in addition to long ones. Some days, you will throw in the towel minutes after getting started. I don't want to deceive you into thinking it will be easy. It may indeed be one of the hardest things you will ever do in your lifetime. It may not be easy but I guarantee you it will be worth it. Your child will grow and flourish right before your eyes. You get the satisfaction of knowing you had a hand in that.
Call me Penny, wife to Michael as well as mom to Logan who has autism and Madison who is pursuing a dance career. Based on my own personal and often difficult experiences with autism, I hope to educate families of children with autism on how to navigate their world from pre diagnosis to adulthood.You can find me at ourcrazyadventuresinautismland