In 2007 more than 1.5 million students were homeschooled in the US, according to the United States Department of Education. That’s 37% more children than were homeschooled only four years before.
Schooling a child at home certainly isn’t for everyone. It requires commitment, determination, and patience. And, if you are the parent of a child with a birth injury such as cerebral palsy, this can be an even more challenging decision.
Nonetheless, homeschooling a special needs child is guaranteed by the United States Constitution. However, although the First and Fourth Amendments do guarantee these rights the state laws for homeschooling a special needs child may be stricter than it is for families of children who do not have special needs.
Many teachers and school officials try to discourage parents from homeschooling their special needs child. Therefore, it is very important that you educate yourself as fully as possible about your constitutional rights.
You can find the information you need by doing a search on the Internet for “Home School Legal Defense Association”.
There are also a number of things you may want to do to determine if homeschooling is your best option.
– Get familiar with all of the laws in your state and in your school district that pertain to homeschooling.
– Locate home school support groups. You may want to do an Internet search for “umbrella schools” and “consulting services” that are in your area as well.
– Find and talk to other people who have home schooled children that have special needs. Ask them what has and has not worked for them.
– Meet your local school officials and establish a positive, friendly relationship with them. Find out if there are any services that are offered by your local public school.
– Your state may permit your child to be enrolled in a home school as well as a public school. If this type of enrollment is available, consider if “dual enrollment” would be right for your child.
How to Ensure Successful Homeschooling
If you have decided to home school your child there are a number of things that you will have to do in order to ensure your success.
You must keep accurate and complete records about how your child is progressing and what you are doing to meet your child’s special needs. You will need this documentation if any legal challenges arise regarding your home schooling.
You should schedule regular evaluations and keep documented records about these evaluations.
You should get assistance from educational consultants, counselors, therapists, support groups, and whoever else can help you to provide the special needs your child has. If you have any question as to whether or not you need any outside assistance do not even think about it. Get the assistance that you and your child need.