For many special needs homeschool families, some degree of isolation is needed to protect their children from a world that does not understand them.
Many special needs students experience issues that make the world around them difficult to navigate. So, home becomes a safe haven. Oftentimes, parents forsake their own need for community in order to create and maintain a safe place for their child. I understand how much this isolation is out of real necessity.
People were not made to live in isolation, though. I remember when my children were young, I tried many ways to get out of our isolation rut. So, I tried joining a home school co-op.
Participating in a group helped me in some sense feel like a “normal” home schooling mom. But, when my children’s peculiar issues started to surface, I saw the writing on the wall—we needed to close that door and find a different way to get connected.
Ultimately, neither the co-op nor I were blameworthy for our short-lived home school group experience. As a young parent, I did not understand all the elements I needed to consider for my children. Also, I did not take into account the ways I could have come alongside the co-op leadership and teachers to facilitate better understanding.
On the flip side, the co-op did not have policies in place to handle specific issues that often arise when including special needs students in the classroom and group programming. We were both just unprepared.
A Successful Strategy for Special Needs Homeschool Families
Unfortunately, things have not changed much in the last 13 years since our family’s home school group experience. So, THSC is doing something about this.
One of the main inquiries THSC receives from special needs parents is how to find a special needs home schooling group in their area. Unfortunately, there are not many options.
Instead, we tell parents they can call the groups in their area to see if they are special needs-friendly. Again, unfortunately there are few options. And, many special needs families discover that it does not work long-term.
For these reasons, the THSC Leadership Support Manager and the THSC Special Needs department are developing the Special Needs Group Training Program.
This program helps special needs parents and home school groups come together and bridge the gaps that are most common in a group setting. This way, special needs families and groups feel more prepared to create a successful home school group experience for everyone.
The first phase—the Special Needs Group Training Family Module—launched on May 1 and is free for you to use and share with special needs homeschool families that you know. This module features insightful videos from the THSC Special Needs Team to help special needs families address challenges they face in group participation.
Coming Soon: Second Phase of Training Program
The Leadership Module of the Special Needs Group Training Program is coming soon! This will include support for teachers and leaders in group management.
This unique training program will assist the teachers and leaders in groups to better accommodate special needs students.
Be sure to share the information in this article with friends and other home school families. Plus, sign up for email notifications for the latest updates on our training program tailored to meet your needs.