Extra Special Homeschooling
January 2018, Issue 18


“Special Considerations for Your New Year”
by Homeschool.com’s Rebecca Kochenderfer

Planning a new semester for a special needs child comes with unique challenges along with so many opportunities for deep joy and learning. Much of the planning you do for your special needs child may resemble what you provide for your other children, but there will also be distinct differences and modifications along the way.
 
If your child has special needs, you may often find yourself focusing on the challenges. This semester, focus on your child’s strengths. Consider everything he has accomplished during the school year up to this point. A new year/semester provides the opportunity to create extension activities that reinforce concepts he spent previous years mastering.
 
Set Your Family Up for Success
You may find that your child’s special needs have proven to be both a gift and a challenge for your entire family. In many instances, it makes family members kinder, more patient, and more creative. With that in mind, here is a list of things to help you think creatively this new year:

    • While your child may enjoy time with family and engaging in different activities, schedule changes can also be very challenging, depending on your child’s circumstances. A few days before returning to homeschooling after winter break, help prepare your child for this return by referencing it often in casual conversation.
    • Ask your child to list the things he wants to see, do and learn. If these ideas are hard for your child to articulate, ask him to point to pictures in books and magazines. Cut out these images to make a collage and then hang your child’s wish list where he can see it daily. Reference this list often and attempt to do as much as you can this semester.
    • Establish and maintain a routine. Your child is likely to respond better if he knows what to anticipate each day.
    • Seek out local families with special needs children. What sort of programs are they tapping into this year? Some of these might be a fit for your child. You may want to ask these parents if they are interested in weekly play dates as well.
    • Connect with other parents of special needs children. Raising a special needs child can be a lonely job. Connecting with others who understand your situation is especially important when homeschooling.

Many homeschooled special needs students receive fewer therapeutic hours than their public school counterparts. Developing a creative learning plan for your special needs child helps fill these gaps with meaningful learning opportunities and loads of fun! What other ideas do you have for creating a new year full of enriching activities for your special needs homeschooler?

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