Can We Really Do This? Thoughts on Home Educating a Disabled Child

by | Reflect & Connect

In the parenting community, home educators are a breed of their own.

Even within the homeschool community, we parents of neurodivergent/disabled children are in a seperate category.

We get the looks. The questions. The comment: “I don’t know how you do it.”

We often have to explain our choices–sometimes even defend them.

However, we may find ourselves stifling our complaints, our exhaustion, and the feeling of overwhelm because we’re also given a look, “Well, this was your choice.”

We’re made to feel as though, since we’ve chosen to homeschool, we don’t have a right to complain like other parents. Besides, we have all the time in the world, now. We have no right to grumble about the housework being impossible to get to. No right to fuss over dinner never being ready on time. No right to complain about being tired–because we made the choice to educate at home.

We may absorb all of the reactions, add them to our child’s meltdowns, and find ourselves asking the question, “Can we do this?”

I’m here to tell you that you can.

While this was our choice, it doesn’t mean that we aren’t human.  It doesn’t mean that we don’t have a right to complain. It doesn’t mean that our homes need to be perfect. It doesn’t mean that we can’t collapse at the end of the day.

However, it also doesn’t mean that the alternative would have been easier. It doesn’t mean that conventional schooling would have been the right choice for our child. It doesn’t mean that we didn’t weigh our pros and cons. It only means we chose the less difficult path.

And, no one needs to know our reasoning.

The truth is some things about parenting don’t need an explanation at all.

 

Some things are not meant to be understood.

Some things are simply meant to be.

Some of the things we do are so deeply ingrained in our gut that we don’t have words and reason for it. We just have the feeling that this is what we’re meant to do right this minute. This week. This month. This year. This time in our lives. This time in our child’s life.

You have permission to do this.

If you have chosen this route for your family, you have more than just permission. You have the know-how and the how-to.

 

You can do it.

No one is more qualified to teach your child than you because no one knows your child the way you do. Yes. You read that correctly.

And, no. You’re not strange. We’re not oddballs. We are determined. And, self-assured. And, even a little bit headstrong.

 

We might be oddballs if…

We would be considered unual, however, if we thought we could do this alone.

Remember that families who send their children to school and who work full-time may get some kind of help along the way. Some hire cleaning help; others have grandparents picking up children at the bus-stop. Others, still, have tutors and babysitters who give a few hours of their time to homework–allowing parents a well-deserved break.

We are no different. Don’t undervalue the work you do at home just because you do it in yoga pants. You need a break, too. You need help, too. You deserve it just as much as parents who work outside of the home do. And, it’s perfectly ok to reach out to others.

Be smart about who you hire, and for what reason, so that you remain within budget:

  • Do you crave more time alone? Then, a babysitter a couple of times a week is probably ideal for you at this moment.
  • Do you need help rearranging your living space because you can’t function as a family? Then, hiring a cleaning team is probably a good start.
  • Do you need guidance with planning the next school season because your brain is just about fried? Then, hiring an educational consultant is probably a beneficial choice right now. (I had to slip that in because I can help you regain valuable time as well as a refreshed outlook).

 

Surround yourself

The best thing you can do for yourself is to inundate yourself with those who understand and support you. You may never convince your aunt about your home educating choices, but you will be embraced by those who have been there and experience the same issues you do.

Contrary to what others might say, as homeschoolers, we aren’t superheroes. While the job is not an easy one, we have chosen a different educational route–and we’ve embraced it.

Be sure to surround yourself with those who embrace you as well.

 

Ask yourself:

  • Where can I get some breaks to maintain my sanity?
  • What does our family budget afford regarding outside help? Cleaning crew? Tutor? Fitness Trainer? Babysitter? Educational Consultant? Other?

 

2 Comments

  1. Chantal Halle

    Thank you for putting things in perspective for all those parents out there who choose the hard task of homeschooling.

    • Gabriella Volpe

      Thanks, Chantal. I feel it’s a message that needed to get out there.

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