Over the last six months I have had the wonderful opportunity to get to know several moms who homeschool and also have children with special needs. The thing that I found interesting is that they do not necessarily identify themselves in this manner. Loving and teaching their children is a just a normal part of their life. They realize that their days may be ordered differently and that even more research may go into curriculum choices and other school considerations, but they still see themselves as moms that love their children and desire the very best for them.
When Emilee of Peas Of Sweetness asked for contributors to this Blog Hop, I was almost reluctant to participate. You see I feel like we are beginning to see the other side of many of our challenges. I no longer see our son as having special learning needs, but that has not always been the case.
Our son began his education in a public school kindergarten class. Many days he would come home literally in tears. He had realized that no matter how hard he worked, it seemed that the class was always moving on to the next thing before he really got the previous topic. He saw friends learning to read while he still struggled with identifying letters by name and writing his numbers so they would appear correctly. His kindergarten teacher actually came to me half way through the year and admitted that even though she had been a special education teacher and been in the classroom for 30 years, she did not have a firm grasp on what our son knew and didn’t know. He exhibited an extreme splintering of skills that did not match normal learning patterns.
The following year, we decided to bring our son and his two older sisters home and begin homeschooling them. Through much research and countless hours of tears, I came to realize that our son had auditory processing issues, dyslexia, visual tracking problems, and mixed dominance processing issues. Part of me wanted to run back to the school district and enroll him. After all, doesn’t our culture do a great job of convincing us that unless you have expert credentials and licenses, you certainly aren’t qualified!
Through our many struggles, and there were many, we began learning what worked and didn’t work in helping our son to learn. We came to realize that gross motor exercises of a specific type did more for helping to resolve his reading and dyslexia issues than hours and hours of practice ever could. We began learning how he learned and he began to take off. My husband and I were learning and being molded in the process. I learned one of the greatest truths that still brings me to tears.
There is not a teacher in this world that will ever love my son the way that I do or be as devoted as I am in finding a way for him to overcome his challenges. I may not be the best teacher in the world, but I am his biggest cheerleader. No one else would ever spend the time and energy helping my son to believe that he has worth, talent, gifts, and a purpose in this world with more devotion than I could and would. The bare fact is that I could not accomplish these things in his life if I couldn’t love him, encourage him, build him up, and push him to be exactly who God created him to be if I only was with him for a couple of his waking hours each day. He needed me present in his life more than anything else.
I am thrilled to share that he is no longer making his letters backwards, is able to follow multi-step directions, show leadership to his younger brother, and read above his grade level. Our journey was just as much for us in fully accepting him as it was in him developing his skills and talents in a less than traditional journey and a uphill climb. Our journey has convinced me more than ever that God has a special plan for our son’s life and he will be capable of exactly what God knows he will need to be able to do. Our greatest challenge is in helping him to believe in himself and learn to love himself as Christ does. Most kids with special needs have huge and sensitive hearts toward the needs of others. This also makes them incredibly vulnerable to hurt and pain.
If you are questioning whether you are capable of homeschooling your child with special needs, may I ask if you can really afford not to?