Christine A Howard

There Is More To Learning Than ABCs and 1-2-3s

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Yes! You Can Homeschool Your Special Needs Child

For many of us, our children will never be able to complete high school algebra or even middle school math. God simply did not make them this way. This does not mean that our special kiddos cannot learn, nor does it mean they will not be successful. God made each of us differently, and he made us for a purpose. Part of our job as parents and educators is to find God’s purpose for our children, and help them reach that goal. There is more to learning than academics.

Teaching Life Skills

Some of the most important things your child will ever learn are life skills. Interestingly, this is one area of learning that brick-and-mortar schools seem not to teach today. It seems that we have a generation coming into adulthood that don’t know simple things like making easy meals or how to use a laundromat. These skills are very important for self-sufficiency, but they can also translate into a job later on in life.

Learning to make simple meals could translate into a career in the food industry. While learning to run laundry equipment might build the skills necessary to work in a large laundry facility. Just about every life skill can provide the necessary skills required in a career. So if your child just cannot progress in the world of academics, begin focusing on life skills and things that will help him or her attain a job later in life. This can even be done for credit, as high schools have life skills and work skills as classes for special needs students.

Manners Matter

Our little Gracie is congnitively a toddler and probably always will be. This does not mean that she can’t learn though. What this means that she is working on very different concepts from her peers. She works on communication via sign language, as well as fine and gross motor skills. Most importantly she is working on her manners.

We give Gracie lots of opportunities to demonstrate good manners such as waiting patiently, taking turns, keeping hands to self, and many others. These things are actively worked on just as if she was learning her letters. When we play with her, we practice taking turns, even though the last thing we want to do is listen to “The Wheels On The Bus” even one more time.

There Is More To Learning Than ABCs and 1-2-3s

I am happy to report that she is steadily moving forward in her progress. When we document her learning it looks more like minutes of time. We may record 20 minutes of social skills, 30 minutes of occupational therapy practice, or 15 minutes of music therapy. Because these are all things that are offered in a brick-and-mortar setting, they count in a homeschool setting as well.

Talents Come In Different Sizes

For children that aren’t college bound, we need to find the things they are good at, and help them build a career. I remember when I worked in special education at our local school, there was a student who loved music and music equipment. His parents saw this passion and helped him turn this love into a career.

While he was a high school student that could not read, write or do math, he could formulate a playlist and make a dance extra fun. Now in his adult life, he supports himself by being a DJ at weddings and school dances. Instead of paying for college classes, his parents purchased professional DJ equipment and helped their son learn how to use them.

Everyone has a God-given talent or skill. As parents, we are the best resources our children have to finding and developing these skills and talents. If we work to make academics just a part of the learning and not the focus, our kids will feel much more successful. Let’s not forget that there is more to learning than ABCs and 1-2-3s.

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Make sure to check out the posts from these other great blogs too! You won’t’ be disappointed.

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