Plain and simple, you have the same legal right to homeschool your learning-challenged child as you do any other child. Some states may require more accountability from you, or their regulations may be more stringent.
It is a good idea to research your state law thoroughly before you begin homeschooling any child. You can check your state’s requirements by contacting your state board of education, a homeschool support group, or the Homeschool Center at the National Center for Life and Liberty.
In homeschooling circles, you may hear the admonition to steer clear of accepting evaluations or services through the public school district. If you choose to avail yourself of special service through the school district, you may be subject to subtle or overt pressure to enroll your child full-time. Rest assured, you are completely within your rights to homeschool him and say a polite “no thank you” to their suggestions.
In my own case, we were able to work out an extremely flexible and productive arrangement with the public school. The special education teacher tutored the children and essentially taught me about how to teach a child with learning challenges. If not for her, I would never have learned about Touch Math © or The Wilson Reading Method ©. (And she was a believer!) I realize that every family is not so fortunate.
If you decide to approach the public school for assistance, be advised that your own attitude and approach will help determine the level of satisfaction you feel at their response. Some parents storm into the principal’s office and demand that they receive special services because, after all, they are taxpayers and their homeschooled children don’t receive any benefit from their heavy tax burden. Such an attitude will only alienate the school staff and may put you further away from your goal – that of finding an appropriate diagnosis and approach for your child. It is better to use a calm and gentle approach and express appreciation for their assistance and cooperation. The old adage that you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar applies here. The homeschooler who wishes to be treated with respect by school authorities must be the first to extend that respect.
Of course, you can develop your own program, but you need to know how your child learns and learn how to teach them. We will explore many of these issues in future posts.
Homeschooling the Challenging Child by Christine Field is my own book on the subject.
You can learn some new ways to teach your different learner with my ebook, Teaching Kids Who Learn Differently.