Sunday, December 4, 2016

10 Tips to Unschooling Your Special Needs Child

I try to structure unschooling with my son on the autism spectrum. Then he develops this obsession over the neighborhood trucks, centering around his television shows. It does not matter what time we need to go to the store, eat a meal, or even have school. Because he is ASD, his schedule is more important than mine, or anyone else’s. I push frequently against his grain to schedule the house around his obsessions, but it is obvious that his brain does not always go there.

Here are some things that I have learned about unschooling a special needs child.

1) Try to have a back-up plan that fits your child’s interests, and skill abilities. Choose a topical interest such as insects, dolls, cars, trucks or animals. Let them obsess on the skill they have a need to master, such as tracing pages or cutting pages.

2) Buy a workbook that contains curriculum for a grade level. It is worth having on-level worksheets on hand.

3) Set a general schedule that allows you to accomplish your own tasks, but flexes with your child’s inabilities to be flexible at times.

4) Go to the library as much as you can. Even if it means spending a few minutes each trip, getting five books on the same topic every time; it is a worthwhile experience.

5) Use a homeschool toolbar, such as the Homeschool Lounge or the Homeschool Gadget on your Internet browser. This will provide links to quickie ideas and projects you can use in a pinch.

6) Try to find a home school group, or other homeschoolers, to share in extracurricular activities. Some groups have field trips, park days, or other projects that fit your child’s interest, with other local families.

7) Planet CDRom is a great website for inexpensive computer games and programs. You only pay the shipping cost, and can choose from a variety of popular programs.

8) Search through the educational apps on Apple for iPad, iPhone, or iTouch. Your child’s fingers can usually navigate the keys with ease, since their find motor skills are usually behind their peers.

9) Have a decent printer with regular paper and white card stock. This will allow you to print a variety of projects. I found some inexpensive file folders at Goodwill, and I always keep some handy for lapbooks or organizing.

10) Have plenty of art supplies available. When school supplies go on sale, I buy markers, crayons, construction paper and glue in large quantities. The Dollar Tree store has plenty of back-up stickers and other supplies as well.

Unschooling a special needs child need not cost a lot, make everyone frustrated, or end in tantrums and stonewalling. It can be an enjoyable experience if we prepare to be a little flexible with what and how we teach our children. Having the right tools readily available, is the best ingredient to a successful home school experience.






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