Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking it’s stupid. ~~Albert Einstein
By far, the most frequent questions I receive regard homeschooling a child with special needs or who has a diagnosis of a learning disability. (Note that I am not an expert--only a homeschooling Mama of a child considered "special needs.")
When my second child showed signs of developmental delays and our pediatrician said it looked as though he could be autistic, I felt sick. And I shared the news only with my closest friends, because I was ashamed. I wasn’t ashamed for him, but of myself, as I was convinced that I’d somehow ruined my son.
Then I decided that if he DID have autism or a learning disability, I would make sure he never knew it. I didn’t want him to think he was different from others or that he would have less opportunities compared to those who were “typically developing.”
|Using Queen's Language Lessons|
Somehow I let myself believe that my son would always have learning challenges and might not even excel in school. Yes, letters are sometimes flipped, backwards, scrambled, etc., in his head, but the boy can spit out the answer to a word problem from his big sister’s math book! As in, a math problem advanced enough that, while he’s giving the answer, I’m left saying, “Hmmm, uh, er, um let me check the teacher’s manual.”
|He's a whiz at checkers. I gave it my all, and he still won!|
The most important thing for me to instill in him isn’t that he needs to follow a formula for success by the world’s standards, but to be attentive to God’s voice and the Spirit’s leading. It will do him no good to drill and bang higher math, science facts, and grammar into his head, if he hasn’t learned to listen to the still small voice of his God and Savior.
Out of my five children, four are old enough to do some kind of school work, whether graded or preschool. And out of the four, none learn the same way. In fact, I’m pretty sure if my children were all placed into a typical classroom and all given the same traditional curriculum, only my oldest would succeed, leaving the others feeling inferior.
And thus my love of homeschooling! I appreciate that I can customize a curriculum for each of my children. We use My Father’s World for our Bible, History, Science, and art/music, tweaking it to suit each child’s needs, while using even more customized materials for Language Arts and Math.
The best part of our “school” is that we don’t have labels, because we understand that we’re all different and that God has created each individual with a specific purpose. There is no one-size-fits-all curriculum and we have the freedom to use what works best for each child. Imagine being in a school in which someone who loves and wants only the best for you, hand picks a program specifically tailored to your learning style.
If you have a child who struggles with writing, spelling, letters, etc, we've had great success—a small magnetic board and letter tiles. Whenever he misses words on a test, he spends about 5 minutes spelling out the word on the board and it works wonders. (Best $30 I’ve ever spent).
I will post something in the future regarding specific curriculum choices and services that we've found beneficial for each child's learning style and needs.
We’ve also noticed huge improvements since we cut back on gluten, but that's another blog altogether!
I would love to hear how you work with your own children's specific learning styles. Please leave a comment below or join us on the FB group.