Homeschooling A Child With Autism
We have been homeschooling my fourteen-year-old son since he was eight years old.
Last week he went back to school.
He is enrolled in a Medieval History class at a private school, as part of a homeschool hybrid program.
He wants to go. He wants to get away from his little brother. He wants to learn from someone other than me. He wants to hang out with other teenagers.
He is growing up.
So with some anxiety and lots of prayer, I toured the school, filled out the paperwork, wrote the check and sent my son back into the classroom.
I received an email from the teacher after his first class.
I held my breath when I opened it. (Part of our decision to homeschool was based on how difficult the school environment was for my child. Most emails back in our school days brought bad news.)
“I am really looking forward to working with your son. He is quite a remarkable student. His knowledge of history is already quite impressive – not just for his age, but for anyone!“
That was it.
No concerns over his social ability or attention.
No comments about his interactions with other children.
No wringing of the hands because he wears crocs instead of “appropriate footwear.”
Late last week, my son asked if he could go to the school’s movie night.
“I met two boys that are really into computers and they are going to be there. They asked if I could come too.“
My son made friends, immediately. He engaged in an extra-curricular activity, immediately.
He is having fun and socializing at school.
Why am I so surprised?
The Truth About Homeschooling A Child With Autism
One of the fears we have, and the myths we believe, is that if a child is homeschooled (especially a child with autism), there is no way they will be able to “hack it in the real world,” including environments with other children that are not homeschooled.
My experience has consistently been exactly the opposite.
Here’s how we have approached homeschooling my child on the autism spectrum.
Looking for more encouragement and support?
This post was originally published on Not The Former Things in 2017.
Shawna Wingert is a special education teacher turned educational consultant, and mom of two brilliant boys who have learning differences and special needs.
Shawna has also written four books: Everyday Autism, Special Education at Home, Parenting Chaos, and Homeschooling Your Child With Special Needs. A passionate advocate for individualized education, Shawna is frequently featured on Today.com, Simple Homeschool, Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and The Mighty. She can also be found supporting parents online at her own site, DifferentByDesignLearning.com.