Homeschool Stories From Real Moms Episode 9: Adapting Homeschooling For Special Needs

Homeschool Stories From Real Moms Episode 9: Adapting Homeschooling For Special Needs

We love this new theme on our blog - stories about homeschooling told from real moms. These posts are to encourage you along your homeschooling journey, share experiences and connect with other homeschooling moms all over the world. 

This week's homeschooling story is from Michelle. Read below to hear her story about how homeschooling became the best fit for her and her family.

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I’ll be honest: homeschooling wasn’t even on my radar when I had my firstborn. I assumed that we would send our children to public school, and that is what we did. But after a series of difficulties, homeschooling suddenly became a very real option for our family. With our fifth baby on the way and two young children at home, we pulled our two oldest out of public school and began the rewarding, exhausting, beautiful journey of homeschooling.

For the past six years, our homeschool has shaped our days, but the look and feel of it has dramatically changed from year to year. We have attended everything from Classical Conversations to a once per month co-op to a two-day Cottage School. Each year, we have re-evaluated, researched, and tried to determine what is best for our family at that time. As our family has grown and some of our children have been diagnosed with special needs, we have adapted and tweaked how we approach homeschooling.

We run our homeschool on a routine, not a schedule. It took me years, but, eventually, I learned that homeschooling doesn’t just fit into certain hours of the day; it is a process toward creating lifelong learners. If we can provide opportunities for our children to learn and create a deep sense of curiosity within each of them, then we have prepared them for life.

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Our kids are early risers! In order to keep them busy and productive before I’m ready to begin our homeschool day, I created a chart of responsibilities, or “check-offs”, that they must complete before we sit down at our homeschool table. Our oldest two attend a Classical and Charlotte Mason Cottage School on Monday and Wednesday, so they are only home with us three days a week. I dedicate Mondays to working on my YouTube channel (A Common Life), playing catch-up in our home, and running errands. We homeschool year-round; so, my youngest three boys have a four-day homeschool week.

We begin each school day with Morning Time: Prayer, Catechism, Read Alouds, History, Science, Art, and Music. Usually, we work together at our homeschool table, but, if the weather is nice, we gather our books and sit outside. Living in the woods provides endless exploration and learning opportunities for our children, and being out in nature is a huge part of our homeschool. Another favorite part of our homeschool day is Poetry Tea Time, which we try to do at least once per month. Then, we finish our school day with Reading, Writing, and Math. All of our children participate in sports, choirs, and clubs. Even though our days are very busy, we always make time for family game or movie nights and special one-on-one dates with all of our children.

I fully believe that children need to play outside every day. When we break for lunch, the children have a full hour to eat, play, and be creative. Boys, especially, need to get their wiggles out, and I have four wild and crazy boys in my home. On rainy days, the kids will run laps inside or create obstacle courses with pillows and furniture. There is never a dull moment in our home. Our children are loud, sometimes a little bit too loud for me, rambunctious, endlessly curious, and incredibly loving toward one another.

When people ask me why we homeschool, I always say that we homeschool because it is the best fit for our family. But it is more than that. Homeschooling has afforded us the opportunity to grow closer as a family than I ever thought possible. Our children will talk with us about anything and everything and they aren’t forced to fit a mold to be like everyone else; they can just be. For our special needs children, life can be very difficult, and homeschooling has created a safe place where they can have bad days without judgement and where the good days are celebrated.

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I don’t think that there is a correct way to homeschool; I believe that we are all seeking to do our very best with the resources and children that we have been given. No two people are the same, just as no two homeschools are the same. Above all, we desire that our children embrace the words of St Bede, the patron of our homeschool, “And I pray thee, loving Jesus, that as Thou hast graciously given me to drink in with delight the words of Thy knowledge, so Thou wouldst mercifully grant me to attain one day to Thee, the fountain of all wisdom and to appear forever before Thy face.”

 

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Last month we introduced a new theme on our blog - stories about homeschooling told from real moms. These posts are to encourage you along your homeschooling journey, share experiences and connect with other homeschooling moms all over the world.   This week's homeschooling story is from Breanne. Read below to hear her story about her first year homeschooling her daughter and how she is adapting homeschooling for her special needs children.