Homeschooling with special needs children presents a lot of situations that are difficult to navigate. We can feel so alone in our homeschooling journey because we don’t know of many who are homeschooling children with special needs. You are not alone. Today I hope to offer some homeschool encouragement for the special needs family!
As a homeschooling family with 7 (living) children, including a few with several medical and/or special needs ranging from mild to severe, I understand.
From food allergies to asthma, to global developmental delays and feeding tubes… we are dealing with a lot every day.
When one or more of your children have a special need, then you become a family with special needs. You all learn to work together to include all of your children and that is just one of the blessings of having a special needs family.
We have homeschooled from the very start and are so thankful for doing so. Our special needs life is often a roller coaster ride.
Creating a stable and secure homeschool has been key in making the most of our life, so I always love encouraging moms who homeschool children with special needs.
I’ve learned that what seems to work for other typical families probably won’t work for us, but that’s okay!
Whenever you need homeschool encouragement in this (long) homeschooling journey, I want you to remember this homeschool encouragement for the special needs family.
HOMESCHOOL ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE SPECIAL NEEDS FAMILY
1. First of all, if I can homeschool, anyone can.
I am not more patient, smart, or organized than you are.
This is true of every homeschool mom. If you want to, and you feel called to, home educate your special needs child(ren), God will equip you!
One reason anyone chooses to homeschool is to customize their child’s education and this is no different when you have children with special needs.
2. Nobody’s life is perfect, even without special needs.
We all go through seasons, don’t compare yours to someone else’s.
For example, we are extremely busy managing the tasks we have here at home with no extra time for outside distractions.
It may not be ideal and others may not understand why we can’t go to all of the events. This is simply the season of life we are in right now.
3. Learning to love the life you’ve been given is possible.
And making the most of it is possible, too. We will have bad and good days, but so does everyone else!
We all must choose to count blessings, seek joy, and find strength in Jesus to get through these temporal hardships, because of the hope we have in eternity!
Look for the hidden beauty in each day… a smile, a laugh, a concept understood, a moment of delight, a connection, relationship growth, a hug, and so much more!
4. You have to do what you have to do for your family to not only thrive but to live meaningfully in any situation.
Strive to be content, stay positive, and do not allow self-pity to live at your house. Your children will not think they are ‘missing out’ unless they are given reason to believe so.
While others may give them the impression that they are missing out because of homeschooling and/or your special needs life, it is YOUR attitude that will set the tone in your home.
Let them see you rolling the negative comments off your back and taking it all in stride and they will learn to do the same.
5. Our ministry as wives, mothers, and Christians starts here at home and should not be underestimated.
The call to mother and homeschool your special needs child(ren) is such a high calling! Your work is important! Your relationship with your child(ren), their heart & soul, are more important than academics.
We know that quality time with our children now is more important than our outside interests or hobbies. They are only young once and we only get one chance to teach them what’s important.
We are our children’s main/first example of Godly and Christ-like love. We are choosing to invest in our children now so that when they grow older they have no doubt that we loved them and sacrificed for them.
If they can’t trust us now & believe that we have their best in mind, they will have a hard time trusting God as adults.
Is it easy? No. Do we fail? Yes! But, God’s grace is sufficient!
6. Don’t let others dictate your emotions, attitude, or decisions.
Trust your gut and do what you know is best for your family!
We are choosing this quiet, simple life because we think it is what is best for our family. It has nothing to do with anyone else.
Extra-curricula activities are not necessary when a child’s health is on the line, no matter how many other families are doing them. Do not be afraid to say ‘no’ (or ‘yes’) based on your child’s special needs!
7. Growing in Christ is what matters most.
Our relationship with each other and Jesus is the foundation of our family.
Immersing ourselves in God’s Word together as much as possible is necessary for our survival and sanity.
Biblical marriage is under attack from every which way. Outside influence that does not encourage and promote godliness and a strong marriage is damaging.
We must put our marriage and spiritual life first. That is the best thing we can do for our children.
8. Remember that when others see your family for a few minutes or a few hours (often at our worse, am I right?), they cannot judge anything based on that time.
They are not living life with you. They are getting a tiny look into your life.
The brief moments they encounter you and your children does not give life to the joys & sorrows you live with each day.
They may form their opinions, but don’t let them discourage you.
9. You are finding your rhythm and it may take a few years!
Just keep living your life the best way you know how, seeking wisdom and guidance from God.
I know that after many years of marriage and homeschooling special needs children, we’ve developed a way of life that works for us.
That is what everyone does. That is what you are free to do, too.
Remember that your family is special and unique, but not just because you have children with special needs. Every family is special and unique and we all must learn from our personal experiences what works best for our family.
Clarissa is a Christian, Wife, Homeschool Mom to 7 Children with Medical & Special Needs, Grieving Mom to 1 Child in Heaven, Homemaker, and Writer. You can find her at www.ClarissaRWest.com sharing practical tips & encouraging others to count blessings, seek joy, and find strength in Jesus. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter!
Reading Let’s Chat About Economics and Let’s Chat About Democracy connects families on distinctly-American subjects. Let’s Chat Books series with Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Dr. Arthur Laffer provides a framework for family discussions on important topics through familiar stories to establish lifelong conversations! Explore Let’s Chat Books today!
Don’t miss the rest of the posts in the series!