Is Homeschool the Right Choice for Children with Special Needs?
Among trends in the education of the United States, homeschooling stands as one of the more complex and contentious to understand (Reindl, 2005). However, a growing number of American families are choosing to homeschool their children (Lips, & Feinberg, 2008). According to the Department of Education, approximately 1,770,000 students are homeschooled in the United States. Families cited common reasons for choosing to homeschool their children. Historically, people homeschooled because they were geographically isolated, followed strict religious convictions, or because they traveled, lived, or were stationed abroad (Nemer, 2002). Today, people homeschool their children because of concern about the environment at other schools, dissatisfaction with the academic instruction, and preference for providing a specialized, personalized instructional education not provided in traditional schools (Lips, & Feinberg, 2008).
Homeschooling is an alternative form of education in which children are instructed at home or a place of parental choice rather than at a traditional public or private school (Lips, & Feinberg, 2008).
The academic literature on the relationship between homeschooling and academic achievement outcomes suggests that students who are homeschool do well in their learning environment (Lips, & Feinberg, 2008). According to research from the University of Maryland, students who are homeschool scored exceptionally high on achievement tests (Lips, & Feinberg, 2008).
Research published in The Journal of College Admission indicates that homeschoolers performed as well as traditional public-school students on college preparatory exams and in first-year college grade point average, and that homeschool graduates are as ready for college as traditional high school graduates (Lips, & Feinberg, 2008).
Evidence also suggests that homeschoolers experience positive life outcomes compared to the general population (Lips, & Feinberg, 2008). The student conducted by dr. Brian Ray from the National Home Education Research Institute concluded that 74% of students who were homeschool had taken college-level courses compare to the general population (Lips, & Feinberg, 2008). It was also reported that they were more likely to report being “happy” than was the general population (Lips, & Feinberg, 2008).
Homeschool and Children with Special Needs
Because children learn differently than others, children with special needs may have learning delays or behavior challenges, or that they may work on a level that is different from their peers. No public school will ever be able to cater to their needs. Private Schools do exist for many types of special needs, but they can be expensive and often still not fully adapted to your child’s specific situation. Therefore, homeschooling a special needs child is a very advantageous choice for many parents.
A homeschool program will allow the child with special needs to have their specific needs addressed and also avoid many obstacles that they would face in a traditional classroom.
Homeschool in Florida
The Florida Department of Education offers homeschooled students the opportunity to attend part-time and facilitate home instruction by allowing homeschoolers to participate in some public-school activities. Also, the state offers some form of distance and online learning opportunities.
The proliferation of distance learning options could allow more students to participate in some form of learning from home (Lips, & Feinberg, 2008).
Financial Assistance and Scholarships
The Florida Department of Education offers financial assistance for parents who homeschool their children. The Gardiner Scholarship Program provides eligible students a scholarship that can be used to purchase approved services or products to design a customized education program for the student.
The education tax credits and deductions reduce a taxpayer’s tax liability or the amount of income that is subject to tax (Lips, & Feinberg, 2008).
Here, at MGM Academy, because we understand the challenges facing students with special needs, we can address each student’s special academic, physical, social, or emotional challenges and work with you to help your student achieve academic success.
Benefits of Homeschooling a Child with Special Need
- Work at their own pace
- One-to-One individualized instruction
- Fewer distraction
- Takes breaks as needed
- Alternative Instructional Approaches