I always get a surprised look when I tell people I homeschool my two children who have special needs. Then come the comments like, “Don’t you think actual teachers are better qualified to help them?” “Where do you get the patience?” “That must be so hard.” And the list goes on. Some comments are said in a way that the person means well but it comes across almost as an insult. Yes, I homeschool two special needs children. They each have their own set of issues and needs.
The days can be trying. When it comes to curriculum, a lot of trial and error has occurred and will continue to do so. I find myself constantly having to change my approach to teaching concepts. I sometimes forget that what comes naturally to most of us through observation of the environment and people around us, I have to teach step by step to my children. And usually more than once.
I’ve also discovered that a big portion of their education is focused on life skills. Sure, academics are important. But my kids are developmentally behind. In fact, as is the case with quite a few kids on the autism spectrum, my oldest is not fully potty trained. This skill is more valuable to teach him than diagramming sentences. Some days it is a challenge to pull him out of his own world, much less make sure he knows the difference between historical fiction and non-fiction.
What it comes down to is that God called me to this. He chose me as their mother and then He put homeschooling on my heart after trying a different way. He reminds me of my purpose every minute of the day. I can’t imagine not teaching my kids, not just how to read, write, and do math, but also how to become independent, productive members of society.
Oh, and patience? I have none. I never have. I have to ask God for that every hour of the day. Sometimes, more often!