When you get your homeschool curriculum it can be really tempting to follow it word for word, especially if this is your first year homeschooling. Doing that can be a really bad idea, though, especially if you have a special needs child.
Children with special needs learn in really unique ways, and very few homeschool curriculums will fit them exactly as they're already written. Thankfully with these tips on tweaking homeschool curriculum to fit your special needs child you'll be ready for a successful homeschool year!
Tweaking Homeschool Curriculum to Fit Special Needs
Use Homeschool Curriculum as a Guide
Moms often get their homeschool curriculum and feel like they have to follow it exactly. That couldn't be farther from the truth! Once you have a curriculum, feel free to use it as a guide to start with.
Maybe instead of one lesson a day you do one lesson a week. Maybe instead of writing answers to review questions they narrate answers to you. Maybe you listen to audio books instead of read.
You don't need to use your curriculum's teacher book exactly as it's written, I promise. Your homeschool will run much smoother if you use it as a general guide.
Asking Questions in a Different Way
My son A-Man really struggles with answering questions, even when he knows the answers. It can easily frustrate him when he just can't access the part of his brain storing the knowledge he's looking for.
He tends to struggle most with open ended questions. We can't ask him “what letter is that?” or “who ate the apple?” He does much better with multiple choice questions like, “is that an S or a T?” or “did Sally or Micheal eat the apple?”
When your child is struggling with a certain subject, try to reframe your questions to match their processing style. Maybe that means asking them to “retell the story” instead of “summarizing”.
Changing your phrasing could be the difference that eliminates tears in your homeschool!
Using Modifications and Accommodations
If your child with special needs was in public school, they would get an IEP that outlined the modifications and accommodations that they qualify for in the classroom. There is no reason that they shouldn't get some of those same modifications and accommodations, and even more, at home!
Some common modifications and accommodations include:
- Hear instructions orally
- Dictate answers instead of writing
- Use a calculator or math facts table
- Use a spelling checker or dictionary
- Extra time for assignments
- Answering fewer questions
- Use fidgets and other sensory tools during instruction time
Of course, you can use these as a bouncing point and decide on whatever modifications and accommodations are a good fit for your child and their individual special needs.
Adding in Brain Breaks
I personally believe that this is really important with all kids, but it takes on a new level when our kids have special needs.
Many kids with special needs struggle to sit still and stay focused for long periods of time. It's important to give them plenty of opportunities throughout your homeschool day to get the wiggles out and move!
With my son A-Man we're planning a brain break activity in between each academic subject. Whether it's pounding with his pound kit or jumping on the trampoline.
After a bit of activity, it's much easier for kids to get back into school mode and focus. Adding brain breaks to your homeschool for your special needs kids is sure to make your homeschool runs smoother for you and your kids. Plus, they're fun!
Homeschooling your child with special needs won't always be easy, but with these tips for tweaking your homeschool curriculum to fit their individual needs, the process becomes much easier!