The answer to this question is a resounding yes! Not only can you homeschool a teen with special needs, but it’s also likely the best thing you can do for your student. Teachers in an institutionalized setting, loving though they may be, simply cannot give your teen the close attention you can give at home.
If that’s not enough to convince you, perhaps a concrete study will! Dr. Steven Duvall did a well-known study involving 10 students (8 who were elementary-aged and 2 who were junior high school-aged) who had learning disabilities. Careful to match grade level, gender, and IQ, Dr. Duvall chose to pair the 10 students. Of those 10 students, 5 were homeschooled and 5 were public schooled. With a laptop computer, Dr. Duvall made observations and recorded them every 20 seconds (often using a second person to re-read his results) and he input those pieces of information into a statistical analysis database to compute the results.
And just what were those results? Turns out, the homeschooled special needs students were calculated as being engaged with their academics 2-½ times as often as their public school counterparts. He also found that the public schooled students with special needs spent nearly 75% of their time disengaged with their teachers while the homeschooled special needs students only spent about 40% of their time disengaged. Also, he found that homeschools have children and teachers face-to-face or side-by-side 43% of the time but public schools only made those accommodations for their special needs students about 6% of the time! These results speak volumes as to whether or not children with special needs do better at home with parents or away with teachers.
As the results show, homeschooling a special needs teen provides a much better atmosphere than an institutionalized setting. We understand it takes much more patience, understanding, and encouragement than homeschooling typical teens. However, with the right tools to homeschool your special needs student, you can certainly feel confident in yourself!